Every couple of years I get THE question, right out of the blue….”Why do you cut curly hair wet?” Or “What’s the difference between cutting curly hair wet or dry?” Are they asking because they’re interested in what makes curly hair look good or are they questioning our expertise? As the clients have entered into the inner sanctum of beautiful hair at Ouidad….I assume that they really want to know why is it so hard to figure out curly hair?
I explain that hair stylists are not trained for curls because hair fashion has little to do with natural hair texture unless it’s used as a passing look. And curly hair has to be handled on its own terms including the cut that works for curls.
When you really look at a curl, it’s a miracle of individual hairs gathering together in a pattern forming the Curl. Disrupting the pattern, breaking up the curl shape is what a “bad cut” gives you. The successful curl-cut follows the form and shape of the curl, recognizing its character by sight and feel.
Years ago eager to establish a successful reputation as a master cutter, I finally had to face the feared head of curly hair. With no guide, I experimented and practiced, choosing dry hair as my medium. I discovered the best I could do was clipping off the problems and avoiding what I couldn’t control. I was trimming hedges. Ha! Cutting dry left the curls incomplete. I could manage some of the problems but the look and style was non-existent. Dead end [appropriate pun.]
I knew the solution was within the curl…following its design and understanding its character. I watched Ouidad demonstrate her “carving and slicing,” I watched the curls flow and spring together, and for the first time I realized the inner workings and harmony of curls….years ago and on my own, I just couldn’t get it.
When properly conditioned wet hair can be analyzed by sight and touch, it’s amazing to see scissors carve into the curl, slice out the weight, giving it body and style. This is a skill brought by education and experience….wet hair reveals the curls and glides the shears within and through curls completing its own beautiful structure. It takes patience and love. Sounds nice right? Well it works like a dream!
Vincent, Stylist, 57th Street Salon, NYC