How to Get the Best Curly Haircut of Your Life - and Maintain Frizz-Free Curls Long After
With more stars than ever embracing their natural texture (or even getting perm to zhuzz up straight styles), here's everything you need to know to get the best curls of your life
Hair trends come and go, but one that seems to be gaining traction is celebrities embracing their natural hair texture, from Gabrielle Union to Gigi Hadid. Whether they’re trying to take care of their hair after years of heat-styling damage (à la Zendaya) or just rocking curls for the occasional red carpet (like Kerry Washington), there’s never been a better time to step out with spirals – just ask Emma Stone (above, bottom right), who recently got a perm.
In the past, when celebrities have rocked ringlets, they’ve frequently worn a polished, blown-out look with waves inserted afterwards with a curling iron. But recently, stars including Emmy Rossum, Ciara, Camila Alves and Rihanna have all gone for a more natural look that you can achieve yourself at home. So what’s the secret to getting your curls red carpet-ready? We talked to Rossum’s hairstylist, Arsen Gurgov (who recently snapped a shot, below, with his client at his N.Y.C. salon) about the best ways to cut your curls – and to keep them in good shape as they grow out. (He shares a shampoo tip you’ve never heard before, so don’t miss it!)
How would you vary a cut by curl pattern?
It is important to cut the hair when it is dry and when the hair is in its natural curly state so you can account for the natural curl pattern of the hair when cutting it. Beware of stylists that straighten your curly hair first, then cut it. I like to cut curly hair in deep graduated layers depending on the curl pattern so it doesn’t frizz. I also try to layer the sides a bit so that the curl pattern is consistent throughout and there’s movement.
Are there tools that are better for waves vs. very tight curls (and is there anything that should always be avoided, like razors?)
All curly and wavy hair must only be cut with regular scissors – not with thinning shears or razors, which tend to create more frizz. For the ends or any damaged areas, I like to use hot scissors, which utilize high heat to seal the cuticle to cure split ends and keep the spring in the curl without sacrificing the length. They offer a fool-proof way to ultimately help get rid of split ends and damaged hair permanently without having to cut your hair short. With a normal haircut, the cuticle stays open, whereas with hot scissors, the heat from the scissors (which can reach a temperature as high as 310°) seals the end of the hair shaft, reducing the damage and allowing the hair to retain moisture better. I pioneered the use of hot scissors in the US and recommend a hot scissors cut to clients with curly, wavy, or frizzy hair, as I’m able to smooth out the ends for a healthier look.
Since most girls with curls have their hair blown out after a haircut, any tips to be sure it will look right if they air-dry the style later?
Girls with curly hair should not be afraid to have their hair blown out after a haircut as long as the stylist is very careful not to overheat the hair with a dryer and flat iron. Overheating the hair does impact the natural curl pattern. Also, if you plan to wear your hair curly most days, I recommend asking the stylist to style your hair curly so you can see how much it will shrink compared to when it is blown out straight and if it will lay right.
How do you recommend that girls help or enhance keep their curl definition (either to refresh it, prevent getting fuzzy hair, etc.)?
The number one thing you can do to help and enhance curl definition is getting frequent trims which will always help to prevent frizz. I recommend every six to eight weeks. Try not to over-shampoo the hair, as this can also contribute to frizz. A good tip is to pull your hair back into a ponytail and use the same amount of shampoo as the diameter of your ponytail. Curly hair should not be shampooed more than once a week. When you shower, rinse your hair with water without shampooing and then apply conditioner only.
What is one mistake you often see curly girls making with their styling?
The biggest mistake I often see curly girls make when styling curly and wavy hair are applying styling products to towel dried or dry hair. If you have curly or wavy hair, styling products should only be applied to hair when it is thoroughly wet. When you style curly hair or let it air-dry, after you apply styling products, you should not touch your hair until it’s completely dry. Otherwise, it will compromise the style of the curl and will get frizzy. Hands off!
What’s the freshest way to wear a curly cut right now?
I think the freshest way to wear a curly cut right now is to apply styling products to wet hair and then simply let it air dry. It’s the perfect wash-and-go style.
Why is curly hair having a moment?
I think curly hair is having a moment because women are inspired by celebrities – like [longtime client] Emmy Rossum who is rocking her curly hair. There are so many great styling products on the market right now that are helping women embrace their natural curls. Also, with the warmer weather on its way, it’s so effortless to wear your hair naturally curly, especially if you have springy romantic curls.