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.
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.Â 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!