Curly Hair Is Like Denim


I've long held the belief that the best advice comes while you're in a salon chair. For a while, I was seeing a hairstylist who studied to be a psychologist before switching gears. She was great. There's no better way to recover from a breakup than a haircut and a therapy session in one swift go of it. “He'll come back,” she said as she razored me some new layers. “They always come back,” He did, but that's a story for another time.

Recently I got some more relevant advice I thought I'd share, by way of Gregg Lennon at Prema in the Lower East Side. He's got a “spiel,” he says, that he often gives to people with curly hair who like to wear it straight. Here it is in full, just in case you're not in the neighborhood and able to pop in for a chat:

'Hair is a fiber. So, if you think about different hair types like they're different fabrics, fine hair would be silk, while coarser, curlier hair is more like a denim. Very low heat is enough to get a wrinkle out of silk, but it's not going to do anything to denim. If you've got a fabric that's stiffer and really wrinkly, you're going to want high heat and something that has moisture, which is why you iron your clothes. We can do that with hair—basically the frizzier, the curlier, the coarser hair is, the more moisture we want to leave in the hair because it will steam, increasing the amount of heat we have to smooth and polish the hair efficiently.

But you don’t want to start with your hair sopping wet—that'll just be working against yourself. After you get out of the shower, towel dry and put some leave-in conditioner. Then I use an argan oil, clip it in four horseshoe sections going around the head from top to bottom, and start. Then while you're drying it, you need a lot of tension to get it to smooth out—a boar bristle round brush is going to do that the best,”

Thoughts? Give 'em to me.

—Emily Ferber

Photo by Tom Newton.