By Elizabeth, Curly Girl
I fought my curls for 40 years before I saw my first Curly Hair Artist (CHA). It took hundreds of blown-straight-first hair cuts, botched bang jobs, slither scissor catastrophes and thinning shear atrocities before Bevely Turner of Hello Curls in Sacramento set me “straight.” If you’ve been putting off a visit to a Curly Hair Artist, quit it; she (or he!) is worth every dime to make your curls rejoice. Here’s 10 things to expect from your first time with a CHA.
There Will Be A Quiz: Prior to your appointment, you’ll be sent an e-questionnaire, a mini quiz about your hair, your current wash and style process and your expectations. It’s kind of like an FBI background check, just on your curls. Be honest.
Don’t Cancel Unless It’s Food Poisoning or the Plague: Curly Hair Artists are highly-sought after and their books fill fast. If your nerves get the best of you and you ditch your appointment, you’re leaving a hole in her day. That costs the stylist income, and it costs the other curly girl who wanted your slot her own salvation. It’s the worst kind of hair juju you could ever ask for.
It’s Free Therapy: Your Curly Hair Artist session is akin to walking into a confessional. Or lying down on a psychoanalyst’s couch. She’ll know your hair better than you do before you even sit down. She’ll see the fragments of the straightening treatments, the sizzled ends, the residue of conventional products. But she forgives. Usually because she was there, too. She was that seventh grader, like you, up at 5am, trying to straighten the heck out of those curls before first period.
All Curls Are Not the Same: Even on your head. Some are A-type and overachievers. Some are carefree and lazy. Some have the same identity crisis as you do. Others are even passive aggressive. Your Curly Hair Artist will teach you to love them all.
Don’t Watch Edward Scissorhands Beforehand: Curly Hair Artists are a wild, charismatic bunch, uniquely characterized by a free spirit, a generous will and larger than life personality. Your curls are their canvas, and while it seems she’s going all Johnny Depp on you, ignore those wisps of dry hair falling to the salon floor. She’s running on intuition and speaking an internal dialogue with your curls. And they are only wisps. Unless you agreed previously on the “Big Chop.”
Use Your Words: “Squish to condish.” “Filler.” “Plop.” “Swavy.” “Functional frizz.” “Clipping.” “Curl by Curl, “Foundation” and “Yoga Cuts.” The curly contingent has its very own vocabulary. It’s like being in a secret club the popular straight-haired girls from high school can never, ever, get in. I took notes but the learning curve is swift. You’ll be plopping it like it’s hot in no time.
Expect Homework: Most Curly Hair Artists provide take-home printouts of your individual process. So when you’re faced with that first post-appointment wash and style, you’ll have have her process in written form and you’re less likely to go off the deep end. Laminating those printouts and hanging them in the shower is not a bad idea. Just saying.
You’ll Never Shower Alone Again. You’ll shower with your filler, your curl cream and often your gels. Choose your theme song accordingly.
You’ll Leave with Your Heart,
and Hands, Full: Beverly sent me home with a silver chopstick, a gold bag full of hair clips, a bright orange tea towel she allowed ME to pick out, a pair of animal print pony tail holders and a pair of affirmation cards I chose from her deck. All us curly-haired chicks need to style our hair are sticks, clips and a little affirmation now and then!
Prepare to meet your Hair Spirit Animal: Your soul mate. Your follicular bestie. Your best-ever curl friend… whatever you want to call the relationship you’ll forge in your one and a half to three hour visit with your Curly Hair Artist, you will leave changed, recharged and equipped with the knowledge to love yourself, and your curls again. I promise.