Does Your Hair Need a Curl Doctor? | Curly Hair Solutions
Hey kinky, curly, coily mamas
So what is your answer to the question posed above? Is your hair in need of a curl healer? Let’s take a quiz to find out shall we!
- Have you got straight hair?
- Can you say that the products you use are fully natural/clean and are they specially designed for your hair type?
- Is your shape and styling already perfect?
- Have you been to a curly haired specialist before?
If you answered no to those questions, then my dear, its time for a check up!
What is a Curl Doctor?
A curl doctor is the term I use to describe a curly hair specialist, which is a stylist practiced in the arts of swirls. They are experts, curl-whisperers if you will.
Why You Need a Curl Doctor
Now, you know me… I’m all about self-sufficiency and handling bidness on our own. But when it comes to these unique spirals that sprout from our noggin, a curly haired specialist is fundamental. Why? Because they help our curls to be the best they can possibly be.
In May 2016 I decided that enough was enough. No more manipulating my hair to be any different than what it naturally was. No more heat. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Growing up I felt like my natural hair was problematic to say the least. I only ever felt beautiful when it was heat-treated or when at least the roots were straightened and tame.
Of course I was influenced by society and my environment. Friends and family were straight-haired by choice. In fact, of all the women in my family I can only recall two who wore their natural hair (locks and twist-outs). For the rest of us it was heat all the way. Needless to say, stepping outside of that box didn’t come with a manual.
How it ALL Started
I was on Instagram so much during the spring and summer of 2016 and one particular page stirred up my life. It was called Curly Beauties and I was mesmerized by the women in the photos.
Their hair was curly and I had never seen anything quite like it. Magazines, TV, film and the majority of other forms of visual media heralded (and still do) straight-haired beauties, so these curly creatures were like foreign entities.
While I marvelled at how fab they looked, I told myself that they were just born that way. No way could my hair get like that, no ma’am. But these beauties kept cropping up in my feed, and the more I saw them, the more the curl in me wanted to pop out.
I began to watch youtube videos and found that so many of my insta goddesses had started off in a similar position to myself. They went from straightening their hair regularly or even it being relaxed to being the bombtastic entity on my screen.
Wow. If they can do it, I can too. So in May 2016 I decided. Its time to let me be me and let my curls be free.
It wasn’t great to start with. I had ‘hair a mess’ days constantly. Like anything, I had to train my hair.
It was so conditioned to being straight that my curls were weird looking at first, wavy next, and even when my natural curl pattern began to form, I didn’t find that they were as pretty as the insta beauties.
I tried so many different products and techniques in the hopes of finding something workable.
In between May 2016 and October 2016, I was having bad hair days on top of bad hair days. I just couldn’t figure it out! I was devouring curly hair tutorials (this was during the Big Chop phase).
So many vloggers told of curly cuts and how through getting one did they find their curl identity. A few curly hair stylists said that when a Curl doesn’t like her hair, its almost always due to the shape. Aka the cut! Aha, thought I, that must be the key.
The Big Chop
When I wore my hair straightened and even when I would just straighten the roots and braid the ends for waviness, I always cut my own hair. I thought I could do the same with my curly hair and in December 2016 decided to shape my hair myself.
Don’t need no stylist! Don’t need to spend money!, I told myself. I got this.
I cut in the same way as I had always done. But the more I cut, the worse it looked. I got myself into a triangle bob (a curl’s worse enemy) and all the problems I had before I cut were still there.
My hair was flat at the roots (1). After putting products in and when my hair dried it looked ratty and felt ratty (2). I went in cutting bits and bits of my hair over the week and slowly but surely it got worse for wear.
The First Professional Cut from a Non-Curly Hair Stylist
Finally I decided that I needed professional help. By this time I was learning from Lorraine Massey about caring for curls and specifically dry cutting curly hair.
I searched desperately for a curly hair specialist, but I was in Liverpool, UK and even to this day (as far as I’m aware) no such thing exists there.
I called salon after salon hoping to find someone with curly hair who could help. They all laughed at me when I asked them to dry cut my hair.
I finally found a stylist who, according to one review, had curly hair. Surely she’d understand and be able to help. I booked in to see her at her next available appointment which was a month later in January 2017.
When I walked into the salon she came over to me with straightened hair. Not a good sign. We talked for a couple minutes and I showed her the pictures of styles that I wanted to emulate. I asked her if she would dry cut my hair and she looked at me like I was scum.
She gave me the whole “I need to cut your hair when its wet because blah blah blah” speech and I knew there was no point in arguing further. My DIY cut was so bad that I let her do my hair.
She cut my hair when it was wet, pulling it down to its max and cutting as if it were straight. After the cut she twirled my wet hair around her fingers making Shirley temple curls. Oh dear.
BUT overall it was a good job. Just not what I was after. In reality it was like going to a foot doctor when what you needed was a gynaecologist.
The Second DIY Cut
The months that followed were ok. Without ever being told otherwise I was still using naughty hair products that I purchased previously. In March 2017 Micky and I went travelling in south east asia. Six months of being in a hot humid climate meant my hair was going through it.
By the time we hit August 2017 I found myself staring at insta photos again and over-watching videos trying to figure out the curly secret. It was the shape that I wanted.
But if I knew one thing it was that I would not find a curly haired-specialist in Thailand. So I looked up ‘DIY cuts curly hair’ on youtube.
The beautiful Youtuber, Nathi, did such a great job with her DIY cut that I went in and tried it myself.
With her hair and another’s as inspiration I tried cutting my curly hair for the second time. Fail. My mom happened to facetime me that day and thought I was wearing a wig. Fail.
It did look like my hair was wearing me and I was super upset. Yep. I’m one of those. If my hair isn’t right, the world is over!
The Second Professional Cut from a Non-Curly Hair Stylist
Mick and I were planning to come back to the west with Dublin being our next home choice. First thing on the agenda was hair hair hair.
In September 2017, I found a curly haired specialist and immediately went to book in. But he wouldn’t be able to see me for 3 months! I did everything in my power not to beg for him to see me when I asked if I could come any sooner. He let me know that if there were any cancellations he would reach out. And that was that.
My first days in Dublin felt miserable and yes all because my hair. Micky, tired of the devastated look on my face, said we could find someone to fix me up.
I found a different salon, rang up and asked if they would dry cut. And they said yes! Brilliant, thought I, my hair will finally get the treatment it needs.
When I arrived, the stylist was really sweet. I told her that someone cut my hair just last month and didn’t do a great job (even though that person was totally me). She said she didn’t see anything particularly wrong with the cut which made me raise my eyebrows a bit.
After showing her a couple photos for inspiration, she went straight in. She was spraying my hair down with water as she cut. My entire body was involuntarily shaking. Every time I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror, my stomach lurched.
When she finished I looked at the blob in front of me. I wanted to cry. She asked if I wanted her to wet it and put some deva curl gel in it. I consented.
When she finished she looked at her work. She probably could feel my energy. She told me to come back if I didn’t like it after it settles and stay in contact with her to fix anything.
I pretended like everything was ok and quickly left the salon feeling like Pinky from Next Friday.
From the moment that I left her salon up until the day the bad cut grew out, I was unhappy (see video for hair in action!). She did the best she could and was just trying to follow the picture as a guide, but it wasn’t what I was after. When July 2018 came around I had had enough of my hair.
I needed a hair breakthrough and just didn’t understand where it was going to come from. I missed my original hair appointment with the curly hair specialist of Dublin and was afraid to book again because I forgot to cancel and didn’t pay the cancellation fee :/.
But, in August 2018 I sucked it up and booked, not caring about how long I would have to wait for the appointment and hoping he didn’t turn me away for forgetting to cancel. The next available appointment was December 2018 and I prayed that it would be a hair-changing day.
Meeting the Curl Doctor
Before arriving as a first time customer, all Curly Look clients must follow instructions. Mainly, to come with hair clean, dry and with nothing in it except for conditioner.
When I arrived the first thing I noticed was that Saulo had curly hair. Amazing curly hair. This made me feel safe. He began to talk to me, all the while sifting through my hair. This made me feel like I was in good hands.
I could see the expertise in his eyes as he communicated with my hair. He let me know that he could tell I was using a wide tooth comb and from the way my hair was constricted and weighed down could also tell some of the products I was using regularly.
He discovered that I was already versed in the CG Method and that I read Curly Girl The Handbook, but there was still so much for me learn. He talked to me about bad products disguising themselves as a curl’s best friend. Yep, even my conditioner was making my hair react in the same way as products that had silicones in them.
After the consultation—and after Saulo letting me know that I missed an appointment last year and would have to settle up—he told me he was going to take some time on my hair. And sister did he mean it. I was in that salon for over 4 hours. He gave my hair x2 detoxes and by the time he was finished, my curls looked unrecognizable. THIS is what I was after!
What I Appreciated
- That consultation in the beginning was everything! I appreciate that he took the time to talk to me, get to know me as much as he could, and factor in what I was looking for in terms of cut, shape and style
- The Knowledge. I appreciated him sharing his knowledge and explaining to me why my hair was reacting the way it was and teaching me how I could keep it fresh and beautiful with simplicity and clean products
- The Notes. He gave me paper and a pen and asked me to write down what he taught me. When I read it back to him he reminded me what I left off so that care at home could be salon perfect
- He didn’t just do my hair, he wanted me to grasp what he was doing visually so I could do it myself
What I Learned
- I learned about products masquerading as curl-friends just to jump on the natural hair movement and the key ones to stay away from
- I learned that one of the most natural/clean and one of the best lines for my hair is Boucleme—the one the first stylist actually used
- I learned how much of the product to apply to my hair when cleansing, conditioning, and when applying the custard
- I learned the best technique to apply product to my hair… Yes praying hands!
Why You Need a Curl Doctor Video
What I Loved
I was brave. My appointment was on December 18, 2018 and if you didn’t know, ya girl’s birthday is December 19th. If the appointment was a disaster Mick was surely going to have unpleasant company. Me on my birthday with bad hair… oooh forget about it!
But, I was hoping that this treatment would usher in a rebirth for me. Give me a hair breakthrough. One that would help me to feel fully and truly like myself. And it did. For the first time since going curly, I get my curls!
I am the happiest I’ve ever been with my curls and as of the date of this post (4 months after the appointment) I feel that my curls have never looked better. Can you say the same about your curls? Make that appointment!
- What do you think about this post? Let us know by commenting below!
- Don’t forget to find you a specialist who will awaken your curls and then go forth and look after your mane!
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- Always strive to look after your hair, we get better with age!