The curly journey can feel a little daunting at times. Sorting through the copious number of bloggers, self-professed experts and curly articles can be overwhelming. On top of this, we see the real experts: curly hair stylists with beautiful curls and deep knowledge of how to take care of curly hair. We live in a “here and now” context and forget to follow the “hear and know” philosophy. It is also easy to forget that every expert started somewhere. A journey began, ideas were tried, inspirations came, turning points happened, and then the reality of the situation they are currently in. The stories of “curl heroes” are inspiring! There’s a grand expedition from frustration to embracing their own hair, and in turn teaching others to embrace their own hair. This was the case for Saulo O’Deorain, founder of The Curly Look Salon in Dublin, Ireland. I hope that the following advice from one of my curl heroes will help you to keep things simple and your hair hydrated on your curl journey. It isn’t the amount of curl advice you find that will help you in the long run, it is the quality of it, and what Saulo has to say is pure gold!
The Early Days
Saulo’s journey began back in Brazil, in August 2007. After becoming a qualified Cosmetologist, he would see many clients who were searching for the best way to take care of their curls, however, somewhat ironically his greatest progress in knowledge came when he started a Bachelor of Communications course in University. Through lack of time his curly hair grew long and his eagerness toward curly hair grew. But enthusiasm without resources and awareness often leads to frustration. The need for curly knowledge was there, but the resources and products simply did not exist or at least seemed not to. Curly hair was being neglected by the industry. What kind of industry do we have where a hairdresser can’t find the right information? Undeterred, Saulo dove into his pursuit for knowledge, and once he graduated from University, started to see clients again, but this time his work was exclusively about curls. Later, he met Lorraine Massey at a Beauty Show in Brazil and she became a mentor to him. This was a turning point for Saulo. Her passion for curls truly inspired him and years later Saulo became Deva certified as a result. Finally, in 2013, after a trip in Europe, the unique opportunity of working with curls in Ireland came up and he founded The Curly Look in Dublin. Saulo is now a member of Curly Hair Artistry, which is a non-brand based education company focusing on teaching hairstylists the art of embracing all types of wavy and curly hair, founded by curl artist Scott Musgrave. Saulo was nominated Curly Hair Artist of 2018 by Curly Hair Artistry.
Back to Simplicity
What lessons does Saulo have to teach us as we each continue in our own journeys of curl-care in the midst of so much information, DIY recipes, video tutorials and products being advertised on the internet?
“Simplicity”, he says. “After the release of the second edition of ‘Curly Girl: The Handbook’, written by Lorraine Massey, I understand that the internet has appropriated the culture of the handbook and people began to complicate things that were supposed to be simple: the usage of botanical conditioners, water soluble products and the importance of moisture for curly hair. Within the context web culture, we see many people sharing their personal experiences with products and techniques, which is excellent. However, I’m also seeing a lot of curly girls resorting to unhelpful DIY recipes. Many curly girls come into my salon and tell me they are using recipes they have found on social media or browsing the internet. These recipes contain foods, such as eggs, mayonnaise, banana, etc. The truth is that food particles are naturally too large and not refined enough to be able to penetrate the hair shaft. As a result, these DIY treatments are causing a placebo effect and accumulation of residues, preventing water from penetrating the hair in the way that it should.”
About DIY haircuts, Saulo shares, “The internet is a powerful tool for communication and it must be used wisely. We need to be cautious with all information being shared. I’ve had clients come to see me to fix DIY haircuts that turned out badly and these cuts can take between 6 months to 1 year to recover from. It’s important to have a curly hair professional in whom you can trust, knowing that they have the qualifications needed to assist you with your hair.”
Product Junkie Syndrome
With so much advertising happening on the internet, it is easy to feel tempted to buy every single product that we see on our screens. This is because we see someone else’s results and feel as though we need the same products to achieve that elusive curl goal. However, the best thing to do is focus on your own hair instead. Saulo says, “Before buying the next big product line, you need to evaluate how successful your own routine has been. I don’t believe that curly hair is meant to be about ‘trial and error’, like a lot of people keep repeating online. A curly hair professional can better advise what products and what type of application would better suit your curl type, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. If you feel that you’re spending too much money on products, perhaps it is a good idea to reach out to a curl specialist near you.”
Saulo’s Tips for Routine and Products
When it comes to routine and product choice for healthy curly hair, Saulo believes that simplicity, effectiveness and hydration are extremely important: “Curly girls are experiencing dryness, breakage and scalp problems due to excessively heavy products containing butters. When butters are present in a product and they are not refined several times, they cause issues with build-up, coating the hair and preventing water absorption. Butters should always have good quality and be cold pressed. When this is not the case, butters cause similar results to silicones on the hair. For cleansing, I recommend a cleanser that doesn’t lather, with the similar texture of a conditioner. Water quality is also important. It’s important to watch how your curls and waves are responding to the water. For example, some areas here in Dublin have hard water and this affects the performance of your cleansers and products overtime. If hard water is a problem, I recommend a second cleanser with non-drying surfactants to lift residues and remove hard water build up. As for other products, I recommend an excellent water-soluble conditioner and possibly a gel, if you’re searching for hold. I always say that moisture is the main need for curly hair. If you work at keeping moisture in your hair, you’ll have happy curls as a result.”