Girl Talk: The Cuticle is Critical

Before

Before

So, today was the big day. I’ve been waiting for weeks to get in for my Deva Cut. When I called Eric Kelley, Mr. Baton Rouge Deva Man, I asked if I could get an appointment on a Saturday. The first Saturday available was April 25. OMG!!! My hair was a hornet’s nest. There was no way I could wait a month and a half to come in. So, I decided to burn some annual leave and take off work for the 2 hour hair cut. I’ve been counting the days to get my hair in a more manageable state. I mentioned it in my blog on Sunday, and two of my curly girl friends sent me notes that they get the Deva Cut, and it has made a huge difference in their hair. I was encouraged. Maybe I could tame this mess. I live in fear that a bald eagle is going to mistake my head for its nest.

Supermodel Jean Pierre' at Eric Kelley's Studio

Supermodel Jean Pierre’ at Eric Kelley’s Studio

I asked him if it would be worth it to take a “before” picture. “Will it look much different when I leave?” I inquired. He belly-laughed and said, “Oh yes. You won’t believe the difference.” So, we snapped some before shots, and he got started cutting my hair curl-by-curl. He really didn’t cut that much length off except at the very back and sides. And, even then, he only snipped about an inch. But curly hair shrinks up, and an inch becomes two or three. For the rest of my head, he barely snipped the ends. He was done in no time, so I was confused about why this takes two hours. It’s not the cut that takes the time. It’s the styling.

The Cutting

He took me over to sink and washed my hair with DevaCurl’s No-Poo Shampoo. He explained that the difference between curly hair and straight hair is the cuticle. He let me feel my hair and then feel his straight locks. You can actually feel the broken cuticle on my hair. Because the hair curls, the cuticle is broken up.The cuticle lies flat on straight hair keeping moisture inside. Curly hair gets so dry because moisture escapes from the ravaged cuticle. The dry hair is really thirsty, so when it is humid outside, it puffs up trying to get a drink of water from the air. Thus, we have frizz. “The cuticle is critical,” Eric told me, and most of what we were doing today in styling is designed to keep the hair moist so we can ditch the frizz and keep the curl.

The No Poo Shampoo

So, he washes my hair with the shampoo, and I could even feel the silky difference in this product over my typical shampoo. It is very hydrating and doesn’t lather. Then he added the conditioner. “This is where it gets different,” he told me before he demonstrated how I’ll use conditioner. He put about 1 1/3 Tablespoons of One Conditioner in his hand, glazed it over my soaking wet locks and then started running his fingers through each curl making sure each one got totally saturated. He said at first this will take awhile, but once my hair gets hydrated it won’t take too long. Instead of rinsing the conditioner out, he recommends lightly dripping a cupful of water over my head and just doing a very light rinse, leaving a good bit of the product in my hair.

Pulling the conditioner through the hair

Pulling the conditioner through the hair

Then he laid a towel on the floor and told me to sling my extremely wet and soggy head over my knees. He grabbed my hair and scrunched it tightly to squeeze the excess water out onto the towel. When he got most of it squeezed out, he gently scrunched my curls in a microfiber towel for drying. “Never use a terrycloth towel,” he said. “Use microfiber only. Other towels will soak up all of your moisture.” Wow. I’ve only been doing it wrong for 54 years. Who knew? With my head still hanging over my knees, he added some styling creme and volumizing mousse. I laughed. I have never used any kind of ‘volumizing’ product in my life.

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Applying styling products

Then, he asked me to throw my head back into the sink, and he led me over to his station to add some clips to the top of my head for volume. There’s that word again? Volume??? For my hair? I spend most of my time trying to shrink it, put headbands in it or a hat on it. But, he assured me I’d want more volume. Apparently, my combs, brushes and picks are not to be used in the Deva Cut world. He told me to throw them away. I can’t even run my fingers through my curls to lift them. The point of doing all of this is to keep the cuticle flat, so the hair will be shiny, soft and beautifully curly. I told him I was going to hate it flat, but he assured me that in no time I wouldn’t want all of that big hair.

The next stop was an old-fashioned hair dryer. My hair was still pretty wet and full of product. I sat under the dryer reading my homework in the Curly Girl Handbook.  He said my curls were a combination of Corkicelli and Corkscrew Curls.

It will take awhile, but below is the look we are going for with my hair. I can’t imagine my hair ever looking that soft and silky, but he assures me that as I hydrate my curls, my hair will start to look better than it ever has.

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The hardest thing for me to do under that dryer was to keep my hands from running through my curls to fluff them up. The desire was killing me. I could feel my hair flat to my head, and I so wanted to reach up and separate the curls so I could play with them. But he threatened me not to touch them. I behaved. After all, I was paying him a small fortune for this lesson.

FullSizeRender-20After my corkicelli-corkscrew curls were dry, we walked over to the mirror, and I could not believe the difference in my hair. I had never seen my curls look like that. There was absolutely no frizz. Big, bouncy, heavy ringlets decorated my head. My hair looked 3 inches shorter, and I look 6 inches shorter, but I couldn’t believe my eyes. Eric removed the clips and asked me to throw my head over my knees again. He said I would be “allowed” to use my fingers to shake out the curls at my scalp but I could not run them through the curls. It did give me a little lift, but I have to say that when I looked at my hair in the mirror, I wanted my hair to be bigger! I looked like a drowned rat – but a rat with really pretty, curly hair.

After the Drying

I loaded up on the products that I need to use and scheduled an appointment for color. Now that my curls are not so frizzy, my gray hairs are visible. Luckily, I only have to get my hair cut every 3 months, or I’d never be able to afford this. But, I’m going to give it a try. I should take care of my hair. While I was under the dryer, I read several stories of curly girls who finally learned how to live with their hair. I recognized the struggle and desperation that they felt. I covered mine with hats and wigs, straightened it with chemicals and heat and cried over my hair more times than I’d like to remember. My jealousy of girls who had soft silky hair that could be pulled up in a ponytail was vicious. It’s about time I got instructions on how to style what the good Lord gave me. It is the only hair I have, and I guess I have a responsibility to it. Besides, I don’t buy meat or beer, so I’ve got plenty of spare change for a decent haircut and styling products.

SubstandardFullSizeRender-5I got back to the office, and my coworkers were absolutely shocked at the difference in my hair and the lack of frizz. Today was a really humid, messy day. It did frizz a little when I walked Ashok in the rain this evening, but I guess ‘a little’ is a drastic improvement. I’m a little nervous about styling my hair in the morning. I told Eric I’d have to get up at 4 in the morning to do all of that styling, and he said that it will literally take me 5 minutes once I get the hang of it other than the blow-drying with a diffuser. I’ll believe it when I see it. He texted me this evening and said he couldn’t wait until it grows out a little more to see what it looks like. “Me too,” I replied. I’m totally not used to it, but it’s getting rave reviews from others, so I’ll be open I suppose. And maybe one day I’ll be totally in love with my Deva Curls. I’d love to hear your experience if you’ve gotten a Deva Cut.

The Final Do – Before/After

BTW … You can reach Eric Kelley in Baton Rouge at 225.938.1132. He cuts straight hair, too, but he said about 80% of his business is ‘curly’.

8 thoughts on “Girl Talk: The Cuticle is Critical

  1. WOW. Your hair looks fabulous! Does it feel like a lot of new products and hair styling methods to assimilate into your routine? I’ve had to change mine a lot, too, with all the insane breakage I was having. I’ve got stronger hair growing in now, thank god. I better sign off – gotta run out and get me a microfiber towel post haste!!! See ya, beautiful!

    • Haha! Yes, it seems like a lot. I’m worried what I’m going to look like this morning. We’ll see what happens. I was reading the book last night, and they have some recipes for homemade products. I may have to try some of those too. The nice thing is everything has to be natural. It keeps with my regular program. And, honestly, I was already using several products. I’ll just be using a different process. Gotta go. I’ve got 3 hours to get ready. Lol!!

  2. Sharon, your hair looks great!! I envy you girls(and guys) with curly hair. My brother’s hair is curly but mine is straight as a board! Enjoy the new do!!

  3. Very pretty, Sharon! What a difference that makes – it really shows off your face.

    I have wavy hair, not curly, and have always been jealous of ladies who can just ponytail and go. I did used to get perms back in the day, just because my waves are so every-which-way and the curl of a perm seemed to at least make everything go the same direction. Once I found a good stylist who taught me how to use products to my advantage, I gave up perms for good. Of course the money I save not perming now goes to covering the gray, but at least I feel a bit more at peace with my hair!

    Hope you post more pictures as you get comfortable with the process 🙂

  4. Hi!

    Do you have any recent contact information for Eric? I’ve tried calling the number you listed in your blog post, but it says it is no longer in service.

    Thanks!

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