Curly Hair Pop Quiz

(Curly Hair)

Written by Aleisbel Vazquez (@curlpop)

Gone are the days of having to control curls. As a matter of fact, people can’t get enough of them, so much so that in many countries outside the US, stylists are bringing back the perm. While this may not add tons of texture, it does add curls and volume. You can just imagine the frustration a naturally curly person goes through when they have the curls and no volume to go along with it. I know what you’re thinking right about now: Why not perm the straighter hair at the root of a curly haired person? Here’s why: Us curly people take pride in the fact that our curls are 100 percent unadulterated and 100 percent our crown, naturally given to us at birth! Yes, this epic wave on the Internet, in our neighborhoods, in marketing, in magazines, in movies, in products, in education, in videos and among influencers is our birthright. With curls, bigger is better! Now that I have your attention, let’s get into it.



Enjoying this story? Subscribe to the American Salon Newsletter

Get inspirational trends, techniques, tips, education and the latest beauty news delivered right to your inbox! To read on the go, sign up today to get weekly beauty news and updates.

The scenario: Isabella walks into the salon and shows you a picture of Nathalie Barros (@nathaliebarros, only the most iconic voluminous, curly short bob on Instagram). While Isabella’s hair is flat at the root area, her midlengths and ends are naturally curly. Do you:

A. Tell her that her hair goals are beyond realistic B. Convince her that she shouldn’t get a haircut and that she looks better with it flat-ironed  C. Try to get as close to what she wants, but only delivering what her curls will promise

If you chose: 

A. Whenever someone brings in a picture or a screenshot, this is the moment to stop and intently listen. Shut your hairdresser voice off. A curly person will tell you everything you need to know, especially if you ask the right questions after they have shown their hair goal. Ask them if they can see themselves in their inspiration. Ask why they feel a connection to that picture instead of shutting it down. Her goals might not be the actual hair, but an inspiration that she sees in the picture. If you can identify that, then you can help her understand how to be her own hair goals.

B. Just stop it! For so long, we have been living under the captivity of having to straighten our hair just because of phrases such as: “You look better with it straight,“ “Have you ever thought about straightening it?“ or not getting a job because we have curly hair. I mean, we have seen news anchors fired because they tried to wear their natural curls and texture. So no, we don’t need more people. especially us stylists, telling someone with curls that they are flawed. We are our clients’ safe place. It is our duty to make that client feel like they are the most beautiful person we have ever worked on.

C. NOW WE’RE TALKING! You most definitely can achieve volume at the root area when the curly hair grows in straight at the root. Key things that will help you achieve this look:

Clarify the scalp. Make sure that you free the hair from product or natural buildup. If the root area has a lot of buildup, the hair will not allow for volume. When applying conditioner, stay away from the root area. Remember, conditioner is used to soften the hair. That area is already naturally soft and that part of the hair gets its own conditioner with natural oils from the scalp. If you add unnecessary conditioner and products to that area, the hair will flop instead of Pop (definitely lol’d at how cheesy that sounds, but it’s true).


The way it’s cut at the top will determine if the curls will expand and give volume or if they’ll just sit and do absolutely nothing. This is the area that will need to lose weight. Part the hair at the top of the head using a horseshoe shape. Extend the section to the back of the head  Take your shears and using one blade, act as if you are foiling the hair. Once you isolated the stitch, cut about 1 to 1/2 inch in from the ends of the hair. If you are anything like me, your blades are super sharp (thanks to the best shear sharpener, Mr. ShearCorrections @shearcorrections), so that when you cut it’s straight and in one closing of the shear. This will help the hair lose weight and gain the volume. Apply products, diffuse and watch the magic.