Curly hair comes with its own set of challenges, but that doesn’t mean your curly-haired clients have to forfeit their colour service.
Your curly-haired clients come to you to keep their manes looking pristine, but with hair that’s more susceptible to dryness and breakage, keeping up their colour can be a bit more work. We spoke to two pros on how to help give your curly-haired clients a perfect colour service, every single time. Caroline Muir-McMillan, co-owner of The Curl Ambassadors, with locations in both Toronto and Vaughan, Ont., and Shari Harbinger, vice-president of education at DevaCurl, share their expertise when it comes to colouring and maintaining healthy curls long past your client’s visit to the salon.
Dryness is an ongoing issue with curls of any kind, which can lead to breakage and further damage down the road. While you can only do so much for your coil-toting clients while they’re in your chair, Muir-McMillan reiterates the importance of reminding your clients about their at-home care and repeating “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate” to your clients when they come through the salon. Remind them to nourish and quench their tresses with weekly at-home treatments, especially if your clients are diligent with their colour touch-ups. She also suggests working in a “deep moisturizing treatment prior to the colour service,” or a reconstructive treatment for fine or very damaged hair. Harbinger explains that one of the main errors of colouring curly hair is to do so “without the proper moisture foundation,” such as the reconstructive treatments that Muir-McMillan recommends.
Go with the Grain
Harbinger stresses the importance of “understanding your client’s texture” and says that the best way to colour curly hair is to “observe the direction and movement of the curls and work with the pattern, not against it.” Both Harbinger and Muir-McMillan agree that curly hair is more reflective, since it already has some movement in it, which allows you to place the colour more strategically, using less overall and making the most of your client’s natural texture. “Isolate individual curls [by free-form painting] to highlight and ensure the colour doesn’t get lost in the mix,” explains Muir-McMillan. Harbinger also suggests cutting before colouring “so that the colour will enhance the style.”
Practise Safe Colour
One of the main ways to protect curls that are already susceptible to dryness and damage is to use the right kind of colour. Both Harbinger and Muir-McMillan suggest ammonia-free colour whenever possible. “A lot of colourists will use way too much colour with high ammonia or too strong a developer,” Harbinger explains, suggesting that, when it comes to colour for curly-haired clients, less is always more. Muir-McMillan also recommends forgoing traditional colour for clients who have extensive damage. She suggests opting for “colour rinses or semi-permanent shades instead, along with a plan to help remedy damage, before considering highlights or permanent colour, which requires a developer.”
Photo credit: Hair: Joey Scandizzo, Eleven Australia; Makeup: Kylie O’Toole; Styling: Elaine Marshall; Photo: Andrew O’Toole