Since it was my first hair cut in Charlottesville, I took to the interweb and searched for someone who knew what they were doing. In my research I came across Ouidad. I had heard of Ouidad before and realized they were the first to specialize in curly hair. Just to clarify, Ouidad is a method of cutting hair and line of products made specifically for curly hair.
I found a salon, Face Value Salon, out in Crozet, about 20 min from Charlottesville, that had two stylists that were Ouidad certified. They were charging quite a bit for their hair cuts...as in some people get a cut, highlights, and style for the price of one Ouidad hair cut. Crazy I know. It was way more than I wanted to pay (and had every paid before) but I reasoned that since I don't get regular manicures or pedicures, and I don't get any waxings or massages, and the last time I cut my hair was a year ago, I persuaded myself that it was worth it. And let me tell you - it was worth every penny.
When the big day arrived, I washed and styled my hair. I know that sounds silly since my hair was going to be washed and cut just hours later, but I really wanted to show the stylist how my hair behaved.
Pre-hair cut - mop head
I arrived at the salon early and I'm glad I did. Will, my sweet, friendly, strawberry blonde stylist gave me a tour of the salon. No one had ever given me a tour of their work space before so this was a nice change. And it's a smart move on their part because it helps customers get familiar with the space. The salon was clean, bright, and well decorated. The stylists were friendly and seemed happy. Everyone who worked there was professional and I would happily head out there for anything beauty related.
After the tour, Will and I sat down and chatted hair. He asked about what problems I had with my hair, my frustrations, my daily routine, and what I was looking for. I tried to be detailed to give him the best possible vision of me, my needs, and my hair. I think we talked for a good 10-15 min about my hair - again something I had not experienced before.
We decided to keep the length but give it some shape and remove some of the bulk. Bulk meaning I started to feel like I had a mop on my head instead of hair. Throughout the entire process Will talked to me about how to handle my curly hair and why. Apparently I had been washing my hair, styling my hair, and blow drying my hair incorrectly. Yikes.
After a very relaxing shampooing and conditioning, he started in with the scissors. This is why the cut is so expensive, because there is a method for cutting curly hair in such a way that it enhances the curl and removes the excess bulk. It's called 'carving and slicing.' You'd think we were talking about meat here, but no...just my hair.
To note: He told me when washing curly hair to avoid rubbing the shaft and ends of the hair because it disrupts the curl. And when washing, focus on the scalp and then pull the shampoo through my hair with my fingers. I did know when conditioning to focus on the ends since they dry out faster than the scalp (for me anyway).
I asked Will lots of questions - how long has he been Ouidad certified, how was the certification training, suggestions for styling, product recommendations, etc. He was such a pleasure to be around. So easy to talk to and obviously very good at his job.
When he was finished carving and slicing, he showed me how to apply product my hair. Did you know it is okay to comb wet, curly hair?! I did not know. I thought combing would straighten the curl. But by combing the wet hair you ensure the hair is wet all the way through - great for my thick head of hair. When he applied the product he did it in sections starting at the nape of my neck and moving his way to the crown. When working in the product he combed my hair with his fingers, again making sure the product is distributed to each hair. After he went through my entire head he again combed my hair! I was surprised and I think he could tell because he explained that by combing the entire head, it ensures the product is distributed all throughout.
Next - styling. Since my wet, product filled hair had just been combed. He again styled my hair in sections, starting at the nape of my neck and moving upward. For each section he would comb the hair with his fingers, smoothing the hair, and then pulling his fingers to the end of my hair he shaked the section. Weird right? Not at all what I had been doing with my hair for years. But but smoothing down the hair and then shaking it, it reinvigorates and reactivates the curl. This is the Ouidad 'rake and shake' method of styling.
Not going to lie, I was a little skeptical but it made my hair gorgeous. I also learned that I had been drying my hair backwards. What I had been doing was drying my hair partially and then letting it air dry. No ma'am it should be the other way. Will told me to let my hair air dry for as long as possible and then diffuse it and dry it completely. Good to know!
At the end of the appointment I had beautiful soft curls, a look I had a very hard time achieving before this cut. I felt lighter and more beautiful than I had in a while. And I honestly felt like I made a new friend. Will was kind and understanding, thorough with his explanations, and he made my hair amazing. It was the best hair cut experience I have ever had. There is nothing like a great hair cut to give you that extra pep in your step.
Post-hair cut - So much better. Look at those curls!
For the curly haired ladies out there - I would highly recommend finding an Ouidad certified stylist. For everyone I would recommend the Face Value Salon; they were really great. They will change your life. And if you're in the Richmond, Charlottesville area, Will from Face Value Salon is the best. He is now the only person I want cutting my hair.
Side by side before and after.
This is a long post. Hopefully it was helpful to anyone with curly hair. I hope everyone has a great long, Labor day weekend.
Love & Hugs!