Q and A with Steven Lightfoot: Men's Curls

Have you ever noticed that men with curly hair tend to cut their hair really short? Steven Lightfoot, artistic director and vice president of product development at Peter Coppola, noticed this recurrence long before he became a hairstylist. “I had a friend in junior high school named Jesse. He was Italian and his hair was intensely curly and coarse. His solution was either frequent trips to the corner salon for a very tight crop, or huge amounts of flakey white gel to keep it down,” says Lightfoot. By high school, Jesse found a stylist that cut his curls in a flattering, yet manly way. “Jesse was the only kid I knew going to an ‘experienced stylist.’ It was more expensive, but it made a huge difference in his life. That gave me insight into the curly-haired male clientele.” Here, Lightfoot shares his “curly man” expertise, highlighting ways to embrace a curly texture, with ultra masculine results.

Q: If a man has wavy curls, what cut and styling products do you recommend for super sexy waves?
A: T
hese loose waves are sometimes the most perfect, yet sometimes the most frustrating—even slightest amount of humidity can make or break the look. The client needs to be aware that the style will never be exactly the same, and learn to love the variation. For the cut, I try to keep the shape universal in length, and the ends of the hair light with a more solid base. By slightly “thinning” the ends of these curls it helps give a consistent and clean curl pattern, whether the look is long or short in length. For styling, use a little Full Volume Styling Cream cocktailed with Infusion Anti Frizz Cream. It’ll add weight and moisture to the curl, while providing a slight amount of hold. 

Q: If a man has coiled curls, what cut and styling products do you recommend for controlled, masculine curls?
A: I
f you’re not careful, these tighter curls can turn into more feminine ringlets. That’s why the right cut is crucial. For the cut, the key is to create more angular lines in the perimeter area. Having it slightly tighter and cleaner around the hairline and over the ears gives it sharpness—keeping it masculine. For styling, apply Full Volume Styling Cream on damp hair for definition and hold. As it begins to dry, tousle a few pumps of Color Command High Definition Gloss with Azulene into the curls—adding shine and reducing frizz. After the curl pattern is set, mist Steel Medium Hold Hair Spray to keep the curls in place.  


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Q: If a man has kinky curls, what cut and styling products do you recommend for soft, defined, manly curls? 
A: With kinkier curls, I really appreciate the use of natural texture on the top of the head. For the cut, you want the hair faded or tapered short enough to see skin—immediately giving the hair a masculine appeal. I especially like Terrence Howard with a tight fade. His face shape is more round and soft, so the tight cut gives him a manly feel. Stylists should pay extra attention to the edges in looks like these—taking the time and care to create etched lines that fit the shape of the face and neck. For styling, I like to use our Total Repair Smoothing Hair Mask to add high amounts of moisture for this naturally dryer curl type. You can use it on dry hair to pick out the afro, or tell the client to use it as a weekly treatment when they wash. 

Q: Is there ever a time when you’d want to change a man’s natural curl pattern?  
A: We as stylists forget that our male clients, just as much as female clients, may not have the skills that we possess as professionals, and we need to provide looks and services to help the client achieve their goals. Semi-permanently changing a man’s texture could give them better chance at great hair. Right now “traditional” barber cuts is a trend is in full swing—cropped, faded, tapered sides with length on the top. If you have a strong curl, some of these looks are very close to impossible. Applying a semi-permanent, smoothing refinishing treatment, like our Keratin Smoothing Treatment, on the top section of hair gives the client control. Every man that I’ve used our refinishing system on has had a transformative experience. Suddenly, he realizes his look is cleaner and easier to accomplish. It’s an instant confidence boost.