Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series on curly hair, which will feature top tier celeb hairmasters, plus the best products, tools and accessories for your curls. We have also partnered with Ouidad, “The Queen of Curls,” and her salons for a special promotion for Mamiverse readers. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about a fabulous and free event on May 22!
Before smartphones, before BlackBerrys and PDAs, there were Filofaxes. Way back in the 1980s, Filofaxes were the must-have personal organizers. The leather-bound six-ring loose-leaf notebooks were available only in the UK, where they were born in 1921. A friend of mine was going to London and I gave her $200—which for me was like $20,000—to buy me a black alligator one. I used it and abused it until it—sob!—died a couple of years ago.
I mention my beloved late Filofax because in its tabbed address section, in the F’s, I wrote the name, address, and phone number of a legend. A man whom I’d never met but aspired to someday have my hair and myself know: Frédéric Fekkai.
To organize my life today, I use an iPhone. And you know what? Fekkai remains in my Contacts app in the F’s. Because two decades later, he’s still a legend. An ageless, gorgeous, elegant legend who’s one of the best hairdressers in the world—and one of the nicest. I recently interviewed the mane megastar about his excellent curly product line and his approach toward the whole curly attitude.
Anders: Frédéric, what’s your philosophy about curly hair, and what would you say to those of us who don’t have and never will have naturally straight locks?
Fekkai: The best tip is to work with your hair type and embrace your natural texture. Especially today, we are seeing women wearing their natural curls and leaving the flat irons under the sink for good. When it’s humid, for example, do not try to fight it.
If you are curly, use a little Fekkai Perfectly Luscious Curls Curl Shaper Cream ($25), twist curls with your finger, and let air-dry for loose, touchable curls. For hair that needs texture, spray Fekkai Beach Waves ($25) on damp hair, and diffuse for a beach-y, “Girl From Ipanema” look.
BUT, I do understand that women are always looking for a style other than their own! What it comes down to is this: Women love sleek, soft, sexy hair. Hair that has been blown out has an allure to it. You can run your fingers through it, and it gives women confidence over their appearance. If you do blow-dry hair straight often, be sure to deep-condition it at least once a week to keep your hair healthy and prevent breakage. And stay away from metal barrel brushes when blow-drying. Instead, use a natural boar bristle brush, which is gentler on locks.
Anders: What would you say are the biggest trends in curly hair now, and how to keep it looking fresh and modern?
Fekkai: For wavy or curly hair, I like a cut that’s more layered, more like a modern “shag,” if you will. It looks springy, bouncy, and has a great shape to it. Just to give you an idea, today I styled a beautiful lady who had long hair, all one length. Her hair was a little bit wavy, but the wave was not really going anywhere. By layering her hair around the face and applying Perfectly Luscious Curls Cream through her hair, concentrating on the ends, the curl became more defined. It looked modern and fresh. Another way to make curls modern is via a long and layered haircut with side-swept bangs to create texture and movement.
Anders: Do you think curly hair will never look as elegant as straight hair?
Fekkai: Beautiful, carefree curls exude confidence and sex appeal. Gone are the days of stick-straight tresses. Women are putting down their flat irons and wearing their long locks loose and wavy. If you look at runway styles, it’s all about volume, texture, and curl this season.
Anders: How did you choose the latest products designed for curly hair and how do they differ from the rest of the Fekkai line-up?
Fekkai: My Perfectly Luscious Curls collection moisturizes and defines curls. It’s extremely lightweight so that it does not weigh the hair down. Regardless of your hair type—straight, curly, voluminous—you need to use product specifically tailored to your hair type in order to achieve your own perfect style.
Anders: What should a curly woman look for when choosing a stylist?
Fekkai: Look for a stylist who has hair texture similar to your own. This is a no-fail tip because if she can manage her own hair, she will do a good job with yours as well. A good cut can make hair swingy, bouncy, and full of life. And it can make thick hair more manageable. Volume placement is critical for those with naturally curly hair. For instance, if you have a long, oval face, you should avoid cuts with too much fullness on top. By contrast, a round-shaped face would look best with a bit of layering, to give the impression of volume and create a more balanced shape.
CURLS & COLOR
Brooklyn-born Rita Hazan, who began her beauty apprenticeship under Oribe, has been a colorist to the stars for the past 15 years. Her namesake Manhattan salon has seen the likes of JLo, Carmen Electra, and Brooke Shields. You might not think color impacts curls and vice-versa, but it does. Before speaking with Rita to find out how, I tried her newest product, Foaming Color Gloss ($26). It comes in three shades: Golden Tones for blondes, brunettes, and redheads; Violet Tones to eliminate yellow from from gray hair; and Ultimate Shine that’s for everyone, especially those with “virgin”, or never-colored, hair. Are there any such people?
After shampooing and before conditioning, I ran the light, moussey Golden Tones foam through my hair with my fingers, did the rest of my body for three minutes, rinsed it out, and carried on with the rest of my routine. Results? Extra-shiny, extra-soft hair with extra-vibrant color. Loved. It’s like taking hair vitamins, with Provitamin B5 and Silk Amino Acid, and zero ammonia, sulfates, or parabens. Not that straight-haired chicas can’t benefit from this. But we curly girls need all the lightweight conditioning we can get.
Anders: Rita, are there any specific color concerns with curly-haired Latinas in terms of texture and the effect that color can have?
Hazan: Yes. Because strands of hair clump together to create one single curl. Fine highlights can get lost. You need a more dramatic technique when coloring curly hair so that you have the right amount of contrast and dimension.
Anders: If a curly girl can’t come see you, what should she ask her colorist to keep in mind?
Hazan: Her texture. And that curly hair can be a bit more fragile than straight hair, so you should be extra-cautious when coloring.
Anders: Can color actually help the health of curly hair?
Hazan: If done right, using vegetable dyes, toners, and glosses can keep curly hair shiny.
Anders: Curly hair often looks un-shiny and kind of dry. What do you advise to improve those issues?
Hazan: Try not to over-process and always use serums and products for shine. My Foaming Color Gloss will help keep curly hair shiny all month long. (Note: You can use the gentle Gloss as often as you like.)
Anders: Any other tips for curly hair maintenance?
Hazan: Curly hair always needs to be hydrated and moisturized. So look for products that use those terms. Also, deep-conditioning treatments once or twice a week are very helpful.