Rebecca, 35 from London, talks to GLAMOUR’s Elle Turner about the transition from straight to curly hair and the cut that made her convert.
Undeniably, curly hair is in. Of course, women have been embracing their coils and kinks for years, but the last six months has seen an acceleration in the number of people returning to their roots. High profile celebrities like Kerry Washington, Jourdan Dunn, Adele and Ariana Grande have all shared snaps of their natural curly texture over the course of the past year and, at the start of September alone, searches for “how to make your hair curly,” soared by 50% on Google, while “shoulder length curly hair” saw a whopper 350% increase.
In fact, curls have been identified by top hair stylists as the biggest hair movement to watch out for, going forward. “Curls, curls curls!” That’s what everyone is asking for now, reveals Ava Holland, Artistic Director at Marylebone-based salon, Gielly Green. The question is, how do you break up with your straighteners, especially if you’ve flattened out your curly strands for years?
It’s a question 35-year old pilates instructor, Rebecca can answer, having made the switch herself over the summer. But, it’s been a journey. “I never really knew how to manage my curly hair growing up,” she says. “Even though I bought frizz taming products, my curls didn’t last, so I always ended up going back to straight hair as I found it more manageable.” For years, Rebecca’s swore by keratin hair treatments to keep her curls in check. “It would mean I could wash and go, or very quickly blow dry my hair with minimal effort,” she explains. As for cuts, “I kept it long and straight because I thought if I kept it heavy it would be easier to manage.”
But recently, she decided to liberate her curls, re-educating herself on how to style her hair and experimenting with different products to make the most out of her texture. “I decided I didn’t want to have treatments on my hair anymore. Someone commented on my hair as the keratin was wearing off and suggested I follow the Curly Girl Method by Lorraine Massey. I had to ban certain ingredients from my shampoo and conditioner list (such as sulphates) and got rid of shampoo altogether for a while and started co-washing my hair. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing but my curls started to come back,” she says.
The breakthrough, however, came when Rebecca discovered the DEVA cut, a specific technique for cutting curly hair. “I was researching the curly girl method when I came across it,” she says. “There aren’t many hairdressers in the UK who are able to do it, but after reading reviews online and social media I put my hair into the hands of the Unruly Curls salon in Notting Hill.”
Like many curly girls, Rebecca was concerned her curls would never revert back to their former glory after years of straightening, but the experts at her salon reassured her that her natural texture would spring back – especially with the help of some strategic cutting. “Your hair is cut curl by curl while it’s dry,” explains Rebecca. “You don’t leave with regular long layers because each curl is trimmed to give it the best shape. I knew I would have to have quite a lot off to take away the weight, but as your hair is being cut dry, you can instantly see the shape and length as the stylist cuts.”
Just don’t expect to kick back and relax for the whole appointment. “After my hair was cut in the chair, I had to stand up and tip my head forward so my stylist could cut it from upside down. Every single curl is trimmed from every angle. After that your hair is washed, trimmed a little again and then given a final wash. Once some product has been applied [more on that later], you’re tipped back in the chair so you’re lying flat as your hair is diffused dry.”
“During my appointment I was walked through each stage of washing and styling so that I could repeat the whole process by myself,” says Rebecca. “What I’ve learnt about curly hair is that all curls are different and even on my head I have different textures – some looser waves and some more coily curls. Now, my hair takes about 30 minutes from start to finish on a wash day. I co-wash with the Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash (£21) and while my hair is still soaking wet, I apply Aunt Jackie’s Setting Mousse (£11.49). Then I scrunch using my hands and a diffuser to dry.”
So is she a curly convert? “I haven’t been tempted once to straighten my hair,” Rebecca confesses. “The cut has really brought the best out of my hair and my hair has become even curlier since my cut day. Plus, the products I use now work for my hair and don’t leave it sticky or crunchy. Honestly, I feel really confident having my curls back. I’ve already booked my next appointment.”