If you have curly hair, you already know what that taking whatever crazy curls your genes have given you and turning them into something beautiful isn't easy. It takes time, effort, luck and good product. A lot of good product. I can't count the number of women who have come up to me and said, “I love your hair. Mine just won't do what yours does. What do you use?” I'll tell them my secrets – tons of conditioner, a leave-in moisturizer, volumizing mousse and a precise balance of air drying vs. diffusing time – but with the understanding that because every curl is different, what works for me probably won't work for them.
That's because the path to great curls is getting a precise cut, using a few potions and having a stylist who can help you through the whole process. That's where Richard Latorella comes in. Richard is an owner of Jon Richard, a salon mainstay in Cranston for over a decade that has recently opened a second location in East Greenwich. He's also the only Ouidad-certified stylist in the state. Ouidad stylists are widely reputed to be the country's preeminent curly hair experts. What started as one woman's salon in New York has become an empire of salons, product lines and national education on curl cuts and styling. Before my cut, Richard explained to me that he has also trained in the Deva Curl system, an Ouidad competitor, so his technique doesn't ascribe specifically to any one rule. “I can't explain it to you,” he said. “It's all about knowing what to do with that one individual head of hair.”
From the minute I sat in Richard's chair, I felt like I was in excellent hands. “What do you not like about your hair?” he asked me. “Nothing,” I replied. “I love my hair. But I've been trying to grow it out for a while now, and it's just getting thicker, not longer.” He moved my hair around, looking at the different sections, noting differences in texture and curl pattern. “That's because you need better internal structure,” he said. “We're going to do that for you today.”
Then, Richard went to work. He didn't alter the length, but he worked vertically through my curls to create cascading, fully blended layers. It was unlike any cutting approach I had seen before, but given how confident and methodical he was, it was easy to trust him. Outwardly, you would think I hadn't really changed anything with my hair. But structurally, it makes so much more sense now. No more odd ridges if I flip my hair wrong. All you see is spiraling curls. And – maybe this is just in my head – but now that the curls can relax a little bit, my hair seems a little bit longer now.
After he was done cutting, Richard applied Ouidad Climate Control and Tress Effects gels in different textural places on my head. I had used their Climate Control, an anti-humidity gel, before and didn't love the crunch it left me with. As he applied them, Richard made a snapping motion with his wrist while holding each individual section of hair. “It breaks that crunch,” he explained. After, he diffused my hair, being careful not to touch any sections and create frizz. When he was finished, I couldn't believe what I saw: perfect curls with literally not a single flyaway anywhere. I had never seen my hair look so flawless before. Other stylists were coming up to me as I was leaving, telling me how much they loved my look. It was a total shampoo commercial moment.
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