Don’t Call It a Haircut

After years of my hair being the same lame chin length (couldn’t grow much longer than that, thanks to the overprocessing) followed by an overgrown, shaggy pixie cut, it was really weird when I noticed my hair actually growing again. But after I made the big decision to go natural and took a long break from color and harsh products, my curls started to unfurl like the petals of a flower. Even the little supernappy patch deep in the middle of my head, where that so-called “friend” in college had failed to apply enough pre-conditioning treatment for my drugstore-bought relaxer.

And when my hair started to grow, it grew thick and fast and out and up. I didn’t have a shape so much as a mass of fro-ed out curls that kind of fell into a mullet shape. Not cute. So when I heard that GBS, a Miami-based chain of beauty stores, was offering a special “curl cut,” I jumped at the first opportunity to schedule an appointment. Mind you, my “curl cut” could only be performed at the GBS in Fort Lauderdale, where a specially trained stylist worked. I was like, why do I have to drive 40 miles for a hair cut? “Because you need to see this particular stylist. His name is Larramy Wood, and he’s the best,” I was told.

Alrighty then!

This is the kind of post that would be nothing without pictures, so here’s my before shot. I took this photo on a somewhat hungover Saturday morning, so forgive my slightly queasy smile.

I managed to get lost on my way to Lauderdale, (damn you, Google Maps) so I had to call the salon more than once to get my bearings. At one point, I wound up on the road to Plantation. Larramy was like, “Honey, I don’t know where you are!” By the time I got to GBS, I was twenty minutes late and embarrassed. But Larramy was a sweetheart about that.

From the minute Larramy laid eyes on me, he was assessing my hair. The salon is located at the back of the store, but I wanted to look around and drink in the glory of GBS for a while. Let me paint you a mental picture. Imagine Sally’s Beauty Supply, except more spacious and luxurious, and with the kind of high end products you’ve heard about and always wanted to try. And instead of the typical beauty-store clutter at the back of the store (unloaded boxes, ginormous tubs of relaxer and conditioner, perhaps a wall o’ wigs), there’s a comfortable little salon area. A visit to GBS will spoil you. You might not want to visit another beauty supply store again.

I explained the kind of cut I wanted — more of a shape than a cut. My hair was growing OUT at the back, resulting in a weird “earmuffs” kind of look, and a party-in-back length that just made it look messy and unflattering. Still, having had the terrible hairdressing experiences I’ve had, I was understandably wary of putting my curly locks in the hands of someone who didn’t have similar hair to mine. But Larramy was a total doll. He’s a no-nonsense blonde who has studied curly hair with Ouidad, Curlfriends, and finally under the one and only Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl and founder and co-owner of the Devachan Salon in NYC. Having tried several different curly hairstyling methods, he’s a Deva believer. “I’ve had clients of all kinds, honey. And they don’t even realize HOW cute curly hair can be. They have no clue!” he said. I was ready to be clued in.

Larramy instructed me to sit near to the DevaCurl display, and he went through all of the products we were going to use, one by one. We were going to start with the No Poo, a no detergent, moisturizing hair wash made with chamomile, peppermint oil, and Turkish rose. Then we’d use One Conditioner, which is ideal for thick hair like mine, and smells like orange peel extract and lemongrass. But before my hair even felt a drop of moisture, Larramy started with the cut.

“The Curl Cut is done dry. It’s kind of like cutting a bonsai tree!” he explained. The goal is to cut the hair while it’s dry, to see where the curls go. I was really surprised, because all of the haircuts I’d ever gotten before were given when my hair was wet, or once I had a Trini hairdresser blow out my hair before cutting it. But Larramy explained that those methods don’t make sense for curly girls, because wet hair = shrinkage, and blowing it out gives a false idea of the length and the way my hair will actually look au natural. So the cutting began and let me tell you, this was the most interractive hair experience I’ve ever had. I leaned forward. I leaned back. I bent over, to show Larramy where my curls fell naturally. He examined my hair from every angle, and like an intense hummingbird, he flitted about trimming and shaping my fabulous new ‘do. I had a blast at the salon, shooting the breeze and listening to Madonna with Larramy and John, the other stylist. These two guys are hilarious together. Larramy is a tell-it-like-it-is hoot, and John’s a funny, friendly storyteller who kept me entertained with stories of his days as a South Beach partier.

There’s always something refreshing about having a salon experience that’s all about getting to know your stylist. I’ve seen the gamut of hairsalons, and I’ve told you my hairdresser horrors. I’ve been cut and styled everywhere — from the high end ones where they offer you tea and stack you up with overpriced products, to the downtown holes in the wall I frequented in Trinidad. This place was clean, bright, uncrowded, and unpretentious.  I will DEFINITELY return.

After the cut came the shampoo, and even THAT was unusual. DevaCurl is a system, and there’s a rhyme and reason for the way the products are used. Larramy advised me to shampoo my hair upside down, to mold my curls even while shampooing. “Circle massage the scalp, then scrunch upside down. NEVER use a towel to dry your hair,” he ordered. “When you’re fresh out of the shower and the hair’s still wet, use a glob of B’Leave In, then some DevaCurl Angell, and scrunch. After the gel’s in, do NOT touch it because then your curl won’t set,” he said. Now I’ve already told all of you how I feel about gel and other products that make my hair hard. I had to let Larramy know, I was skeptical about using gel straight out of the shower. But he assured me that Angell wasn’t another hard crunchy gel. All of DevaCurl’s products are gentle, and the ingredients are great for curls. “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t wanna use it. And neither should you!” retorted Larramy.

So after shampoo, conditioner, and gel, I was put under the dryer for a spell. After that, he followed up with Set It Free Finishing Mist. When I emerged, Larramy finally allowed me to touch and see my shorter new do. When I saw it, I was immediately ecstatic. It was short but not TOO short, sassy, and above all, adorable. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how defined yet touchable my hair felt once the product set. Before I left, I had to ask Larramy his advice for curly haired women who don’t know what to do with their hair anymore.

“I’d tell them to stop trying to fight the curl. Stop trying to use products that don’t work. People with curly hair are scared to try something new, because they’ve had such bad experiences. But this is about thinking out of the box! I don’t want my clients to have damaged, unhealthy hair. Honey, that doesn’t look good, and then someone will ask you “oh, who does your hair?” No thank you!” Oh, I want Larramy to marry me. Not literally, but he could totally be my Ken Paves. I love this guy!

If you want to get a Curl Cut of your own and you live in Florida, you might want to call GBS to set something up with Larramy yourself. The cuts begin at $75, and he’s got clients who fly here from Jacksonville to see him. My experience with him ranks among the best I’ve had in a salon. Here’s my after picture. What do you think?

As soon as I got home, I changed and got ready to go out for dinner and a movie. My hair was so cute, I was dying to go out and show off my new Curl Cut!

Stay tuned for a complete review of DevaCurl products, too. Measha Brueggergosman was right! This stuff is amazing!

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Comments

  1. Very pretty, Bella!!! Enjoy your new do.

  2. Bella…Larramy worked it out. Your cut if fabulous. Short and sassy but still feminine. I love it.

    A good hairdresser is so hard to find. Yours is worth the drive.

  3. YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!!!

    I was on the road to natural beauty, but was coaxed into getting a silkener that seems to have straightened my hair out. Which is funny because when I used to perm my hair it would never straighten all the way out…..

    So I’m starting over from scratch.

    But it is awe inspiring to see women loving their curls, I can’t wait to get mine back!

    -B

  4. You are adorable! I love your cut!

  5. Beautiful! I’ve always wanted to try the DevaCurl system but wanted to know if it would actually work for sisters. My hair isn’t nearly as long as yours because I just cut it, but I want it to get there! Will def try them based on your beautiful hair!

  6. sunsail says:

    Wow, it’s like night and day! I would have loved a brighter “after” picture, to see how your highlights were enhanced by the cut. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!! :)

  7. Your hair looks fab. I’ve been using the DevaCurl products and I love them!

  8. LBellatrix says:

    I like it! Doesn’t it feel great to find a stylist who’s willing to work WITH your natural texture instead of against it? I’d probably drive out of my way to find one of those myself. :)

  9. Cute! Sounds like you had a great experience. I too am suffering from mishapen hair syndrome. I don’t know if there is anyone in the state of Ohio who knows how to properly cut curly hair. I am actually contemplating going to see Miko when I go to DC in June but for $300… I don’t know?! How much did you actually pay for your cut?

  10. very cute cut Bella, and a positive salon experience.

  11. BlackHoney says:

    Bella, you look so cute. I love your hair and I’m glad to hear that you didn’t spend your car payment for the cut.

  12. Hey Bella you look so cute! I just bought no poo and one cond. I love the no poo! I have serious dandruff (TMI, I know lol), but it is great. I’m not thrilled with the one cond, though. Unlike a lot of nappies, I’m a big fan of shrinkage, I figure that if my curls tighten up that means there is a lost of moisture. But when my hair dries, it is really stiff. The same thing happened with the Nexxus Humetress cond. I don’t know if its the product or my hair, but it’s stiff as a board. I’m not giving up though. Maybe I just need a protein cond. or something…

  13. Auragirl says:

    cute, cute, cute! Glad you enjoyed your experience there! But $75 for a cut!!!! Yikes! How long does each cut last?

  14. You look great. You have pretty curly hair and I’m sure this system works for you but what about us natural women with nappy/kinky/family didn’t mixalot hair. It’s great to hear about all these “curly” hair products but that is not my plight. My hair is nappy and most of these “curly” hair products just don’t work. MissJessie’s didn’t nothing but disperse into sprinkled lilac crud balls throughout my hair. Carol’s Daughter has given me some good moisture. The reviews for Treasured Locks products sound failure prone. I’m going to try Black Earth next; been using their spray on my braids.

  15. Looking good Bella!

  16. LOVE the cut! it shows off your very pretty face.

  17. AndSoThen says:

    Bella…I thought your before was adorable….but also love your after!!! Great to find a man to do you!!! :)
    I don’t care for Devacurl but I hear for some its fab!
    Give me Curls and kinky-curly :)

  18. Bella, you are beautiful!

  19. The cut turned out beautiful. Very, very flattering.

  20. OMG, OMG. You guys! I’m blushing in my cubicle at work, here. Thanks so much for your kind compliments! You always make me feel better about posting pix of myself, I’m still pretty shy about it. Auragirl, cuts START at $75. Firewriter, I will try my best to look for some products that are guaranteed to work for thicker, nappier, kinkier hair. For now I’ve just been writing about what works for me, but I feel where you’re coming from. Have you already tried Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk, and Curls Milkshake? If so, I’ll do some more research!

  21. girl u look TOO cute! bravo!
    the devacurl never worked & me (possibly because my hair stretches OUT when it’s wet, the opposite of what u’d think water would do 2 it), but strangely, the wet cuts at ouidad TOTALLY do the trick 4 me.

    and i’m still loving the curl pudding from kinky-curly.

    thank u AGAIN 4 the recommendations!

  22. Thats a very beautiful cut bella

  23. berrybrowne says:

    loves it! but i agree with the posters who liked the “before” shot as well. i’m actually so hating the shape of my curls that i either brush my hair out straight and curl it with a curling iron, which is SO sad, or leave it curly but pull it back. i wish there was a larammy in dc, cause i just can’t see spending $300 for ANY kind of cut.

  24. Bebroma says:

    Beautiful! Haave you personally tried the Carol’s Daughter products?

  25. haitiangurL says:

    Afrobella you’re truly bella, bella!! WOW! Luv Luv Luv the after shot… The fro is much better define and shaped & fits your beautiful face and gorgeous smile well(speaking of smiles don’t forget the review about the dental products from your dental horror story which I’m going through something similar myself)… I’m from Miami and next time I go home, I will DEFINITELY check this place out and tell him Afrobella sent me! What hair color are you using, if you don’t mind my asking? And can we get a post on coloring a fro’? Doesn’t chemically coloring loosen your curl? Ever since the big chop two years ago, I haven’t colored keeping my natural brown/black color but seeing your picture has me thinking twice… Luv Luv your blog keep up the GREAT work!!!

  26. muslimahlocs says:

    nice. really, really nice. i will have to send my folks in miami this posting.

  27. I use the hair milk now and like it; will try the milkshake. I’m just looking for something to help with the knotting and drying and shrinkage and (you don’t want the list)

  28. Suburbanbushbabe says:

    Love the cut and shape; thanks so much for posting your experience. Please post more photos so we can see your hair better. I personally am in love with Set it Free. I use a little as a curl “fluffer” and softener on 2nd day hair. I like that your stylist was trained in multiple curly hair techniques but he chose Deva method. I am leaning toward that for my next cut (once I have 2 more inches of hair growth).

  29. Nice haircut Bella! I’m soooooo tired of having long hair. My hair is down to the small of my back. Yikes! Way too long, but since I’ve been at college, it’s grown like crazy. I don’t trust the hair salons around here; everyone is white, and I’m Latina, so I don’t know if they know how to deal with my hair texture. Not that is has a texture! LOL MY hair just lies there, limp and wavy. When it’s shorter, it gets frizzy, so I dunno what to do. I dunno if I should cut it shorter and manage the frizz, or leave it long. I feel like I’m wearing a wig!!! It’s so much, so thick, so long. I’m going nuts. Hahaha.

    You look great Bella.

  30. Looking good mami! I got a cut with a Deva-trained stylist in January and, although I didn’t get the actual Deva cut (I’ve got naps, not curls), I honestly never have gotten more compliments on my hair. My grow out process has been great – and I know yours will be as well!

  31. E-Fresh says:

    I love your play on words. LL would be proud. Speaking of music. When’s the next music post? It’s been a couple weeks since a jam has been thrown up. Too many beauty posts for your male readers : )

  32. Mrs518 says:

    I love your hair, it looks gorgeous.

  33. Wow! I like. It turned out gorgeous, very becoming! He really is good and seems to have alot of product & curl knowledge. Also, an inspiration to seek out a haircut stylist soon. I think I will also try out the Deva line too. I read good things about it so far. Enjoy your new style.

  34. firewriter – I too have nappy/kinky/family didn’t mixalot hair and I use the Garner Fructis line for curly hair. There is 3 minute masque, a leave in conditioner, and a set cream. It defines my curls all day long and it doesn’t make my hair hard (I never thought this would work on my hair). Can’t beat the price point – $4-$6. I put the product in when my hair is soaking wet. With my hair hanging forward in my face, I work the products from the roots to the ends with my fingers. I style with my fingers then I air dry. I also go the no poo route. I don’t use shampoo because I found that my curls stay better. Instead I rinse my hair with conditioner.

  35. Apple Diva says:

    Bella,

    Loves the hair!! Very cayute!!

  36. What color do you have in your hair?

  37. Monica says:

    You have such an adorable face. You remind me of Janet Jackson when she first started out. You both have that round shaped, forever young face.

    Loves the hair!

    PS I like the ‘after’ picture better. The shorter cut really compliments your face. You really don’t need long hair. I also like the make-up in the after as well. Oh, the before looked cute too.

  38. Love it! I’m glad that you had such a positive experience!

  39. westindiangal says:

    Afrobella, you are bella! Your cut looks fab. I have a couple of the Deva products, the no poo shampoo and the one condition. Your cut was definitely worth the haul.

  40. Eni's Girl says:

    Like some others posters have said your hair looks great either way. You have the type of hair that you can wear in a defined shape or just let it go free.

    I look forward to you presenting information for those of us with kinkier hair. I will also try the Carol Daughter’s products.

    Congrats on your new “do”. :-)

  41. MochaSiren says:

    Afrobella,

    I agree with the other posters…you are very attractive. Beautiful skintone. You could be my younger sister ;-) (I’m soon to be 36.)I am mixed black and American Indian. I have very fine hair that I used to unnecessarily relax. The last few years I have stopped using chemicals. My hair curls pretty nicely but I have some naturally straight areas I wish would go away. Do you Bella or any other bellas out there have some advice for someone with curly, but fine hair? My hair when curly sits at the top my shoulders but because it’s so fine and soft I haven’t been able to achieve the fullness I desire. So mostly, I put it in a ponytail and wear a “curly afro puff” hairpiece to achieve the thick look. I have so may people that tell me they wish they had this mult-textured fine hair but I actually admire the women with the thick afro-textured hair. Thanks for indulging me. Appreciate any feedback! Thanks!

  42. nappygungun says:

    so cute. I love it. Maybe that’s where my problem with my frizzy hair comes in I use a towel duh!

  43. I love the new cut. You look totally fabulous.

  44. Beautiful hair worn by a beautiful woman!

  45. THANKS JJ!!!
    I’ll give it a try.

  46. Love the shape!
    Fabulous Bella, simply beautiful!
    Brilliant post, please tell Larramy “Cheers for the dry cut education!” It makes perfect sense!

  47. Wow! Gorgeous Bella! You’re making me want to drive 7 hours to visit Larramy.

  48. Em.Kay.Aarrh says:

    Bella! You are SooOOOoo pretty! Would love to see more pics of you in the future. I realy enjoy your breath of fresh air blog!

  49. Nappturous Diva says:

    Amazing! I have never heard of a curl cut! Does he perform any types of specialized cuts for locs?
    You look gorgeous, by the way!

  50. Hey Bella! So nice to speak with you yesterday. You are adorable! Love the hair and very much appreciate the beauty tips!

  51. BellaAnais says:

    I love you new hair cut! It is so cute. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  52. I love your hair amazing cut, I wished I could see the pics in a better clarity as to see what your curl formation was before and during the process and the final result. I am still trying to find a hair stylist as to my natural curly hair, I have already used the products mentioned and I love them they are light keep hair moisturized and curly.

    I have to keep searching to find the right mix. Thanks for sharing

  53. wysiwyg says:

    Larramy did a great job with your cut! I’ve been going to him through my transition (2 cuts now) and he has put my hair into a great shape to grow out! My hair has several different textures, but it’s all working together thanks to him. I love the No Poo and OneC, but the Bleavein and Angell didn’t exactly agree with my hair so instead I use the Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in and Curling Custard mixed with aloe vera gel for hold. I use the method he taught me for applying products and drying the hair and I’ve gotten several compliments. The salon is 2 minutes from my office, so I guess I’m fortunate he’s so close! ;} Btw, love your blog!

  54. Bella, you look wonderful!!!!!! I’ve been thinking about going natural, however I am scared as heck. My hair is relaxed and I do have a hint of color in it. Do you have advise on how to slowly move from relaexed hair to natural hair? I’m very new to your site and I think it’s the bomb…As you can tell, I am some what of a chatter-box…do you adress weight issues as well on your site? Keep up the good work!!

  55. You do look lovely and you are an excellent writer. I will like you to complete your book soon though, as I am sure your on-line cquaintances would be just as complimentary about it.

  56. I love the shape of this cut. Looks good on you.

  57. Zinggy says:

    Affrbella,

    Can you suggest amy salons in the Atlanta area that offer the curly cut. I am in desperate need of a cut, but am too afraid to let anyone do my hair. I have had some really bad experiences with stylist. Also, so you have any suggestions for reviving natural hair that has lost it’s curl due to pressing.

    P.S. Love the hair!

  58. lauren says:

    the new haircut looks gorgeous on you! luv it! it frames your face beautifully!

  59. What shirt are you wearing on that bottom picture? Looks cute– just like your haircut! :-)

  60. Dovelyheart says:

    Hi, Afrobella! I’m a semi-lurker…. Glad I saw this blog entry today. I just scheduled my trim for next Tuesday and I saw you mentioned the Devacurl line. I’m getting my hair trimmed at the Ulta store in my area and I just wanted to know if the Devacurl products are still working for you. Also, what advice might you have for naturals like me who have fine, thin, dense hair? Thanks a bunch in advance.

  61. We have a supply store like that here in Philly and I could never understand why the salon was in the back so I appreciate our input on that:-)

    Your hair looks beautiful as well.

  62. bebedee says:

    Go girl….that cut is fierce. Can I be like you when I grow up? I’m going to Bradenton in July…..maybe I should stop into GBS!!!!

  63. i know everyone said this like four times but that snippy you got looks real snazzy! what amazes me most is the neat definition of those kinks and coils; how are you drawing out that definition??? i can only get little sections of my kinks to shine like that…

  64. MochaSiren
    Your hair sounds exactly like mine. The only suggestion I have is to try twisting it or braiding it when it is wet. My hair is past my shoulders and it takes FOREVER to dry when I braid it but with 2 strand twists it dries somewhat faster than with tight braids. Because my 2 strand twists don’t stay twisted, I loop them up and bobby pin them to my head. I wash at night several hours before bedtime and by morning it’s only slightly damp in spots. I loosen the twists and style. I use a wide tooth comb and that makes a fuller look – not a thick afro puff but at least a big full bouncy head of waves. Right now I am using a little Miss Jessie’s and some olive oil, that works well. I don’t slather gobs of it on – a little goes a long way. Hope that helps!

  65. Your hair is beautiful Bella! Oh how jealous I am!

  66. You look adorable, Bella. Nothing better that a religious hair experience that makes you see the light. :-) It is so hard to find a great stylist that is a good fit. That was my only regret about going natural – that I couldn’t take my stylist with me. It took forever for me to find a stylist I loved and unfortunately, natural hair isn’t his forte. Long live Larramy.

  67. I’ve always wanted to wear my hair natural, my hair get really cute curls in the back and in the middle when it’s wet but the front of my hair for some strange reason dosen’t get as curly as the back, it just kinds lays there kinda flat so sometimes I just put a headband in the front to avoid it but how could I get all of it to be the same, any suggestions?

  68. jadedpoet says:

    Hey Afrobella I saw you on nappystar. I’m glad I found my way back to your page. You and your cut look so beautiful. I want to see this guy now haha. Especially if he can do some streaks on my short hair. ^_^ Once again you look great, like a true Afrobella.

  69. Beverly says:

    Cute cut patrice!

  70. Prada3721 says:

    You look wonderful Bella! It is a wonderful sassy cut that seems to fit your personality to a T. It is wonderful and the curls just POP!

    Deva products are amazing ain’t they? I’ve used their poo and it is a winner if not a bit of $$$- but i’m about to branch out even more into the rest of the products after hearing this cause Ms. Jessie’s is good but still not amazing to me. . . .

    ITA it is ALL ABOUT THE APPLICATION. Larramy was right about applying things to soaking wet hair. He was so right.

  71. larramy wood says:

    Its time for your hair cut girl love larramy

  72. hi its larramy tanks for all your support love ya but u r over doooo four cut call me !!

    • Curly in Miami says:

      If you’re looking for Larramy Wood, he’s not at GBS anymore. You can find him at Dan Davis Salon, 2424 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305. You can call the salon at 954-396-9997 or call Larramy’s cell at 954-401-7398. Enjoy!

  73. Hey. U hair looks greart! I’ve been relaxer-free for over 10years now. I’ve been wearing a weave since …forever. Now, my hair is really long and I’m ready to wear my real nappy hair out and about. :-)

    I live in NYC and I’ve heard alot about Miiko and curve salon. I would like to try the “silkener” @ Miiko’s shop in DC but I’m concerned that a chemical – no matter how sensitive the chemical claims to be – may damage my hair.

    My question: Has anyone tried Miiko’s silkener? Did you encounter any damage? Thanks

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] I actually wrote back to CeCe and thanked her for her brilliant suggestion, but I must say, this is an especially daunting Ask Afrobella for me. Those of you who have been reading for a while might remember my Hairdresser Horrors post. I’ve dealt with many a bad salon, and as a result, I hardly EVER go to the hairdresser. Last time I went was to the fabulous Larramy for my curl cut back in May! I loved my experience with Larramy, but I also agree with CeCe — there is something special about meeting a professional hairdresser who actually has your hair texture. There’s a feeling of security from knowing that the person you’re paying to style your ‘do knows exactly how to treat your tresses from personal experience, and there is also a significant satisfaction that comes from supporting businesses within the black community. [...]

  2. [...] of all, there’s Larramy, master of the DevaCurl curl cut. Larramy’s initial response was “Oh, I don’t know if that’s a good [...]

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