If you’d told me 15 years ago that one day I’d want to get a custom cut to enhance my curly hair, I'd have laughed. I was at secondary school in the '00s, when ghds were coveted like nothing else, and in a bid to look like Rachel Green I fried my hair every day. The collective meltdown that girls in my year would have when it rained and our hair went 'flicky' is genuinely sad to think about now.
I was over the obsession with poker-straight hair by the time I left school but in the decade that followed I never really wore it very curly. Technically I left it natural but after every wash I blow-dried my hair using a narrow nozzle pointed downwards so that it sat in flatter, loose waves — never once considering accentuating my ringlets. Nowadays, though I’m not a follower of the curly girl method (as a beauty journalist I test products containing some of the 'banned' ingredients and I like to colour and heat-style my hair occasionally), my regime is all about embracing my curly lengths. Before Christmas a friend summed it up perfectly: "I know you’ve always had curly hair but now it looks curly."
Despite all my efforts to nail my styling routine, I still felt that my hair wasn’t cut in a way that made the most of my texture. With so few layers it was quite weighty, meaning my hair was often flat at the roots and didn’t have that much volume. I needed a custom cut that was going to make it pop and so, after much research, I booked the Curly Hair Remedy at one of Larry King's salons in London.
What is a custom haircut?
A custom cut doesn’t follow a set pattern. It works with everything that makes your head of hair unique to achieve your desired result (the salon also offers bespoke 'remedies' for fine and thick hair, regardless of whether hair is curly or not). Because curly hair is so varied in pattern and thickness, custom cutting lends itself especially well to this hair type. "A lot of cuts for curly hair are custom nowadays," explained my stylist Lucy Jones. "I like to call it bespoke cutting; I look at the texture when it’s dry, I feel how fluffy it is, how coiled it is, I look at the difference between when it’s wet compared to when it’s dry and I work out where any 'problem' areas are." Lucy added a 'disconnected' section at the front of my hair to remove weight and lift the crown. "There is a basic shape to follow," explained Lucy, "but once I dry it off and put the natural body and texture back in, it becomes really bespoke with a bit of dry cutting."
What are the benefits of a custom haircut?
As my end goal was more volume and definition, Lucy also cut in layers to soften the square shape that's typical of a lot of curly cuts, to add movement and encourage my curls to jump up. For curlier and coilier hair types like Lucy’s, the Curly Hair Remedy would involve a lot more dry cutting. "Larry cut my hair dry the other day because the spring back can be so intense," she said. "It’s tighter at the back and looser at the front. [Because of these different textures] if he were to cut it when wet, it wouldn’t work, as the resulting overall shape wouldn’t appear as it should be."
Once the bulk of the cutting was complete my hair was rinsed, conditioned again and given an icy douse to reform my curls before drying. "It’s about really keeping the moisture in and working with it at this stage," Lucy explained before applying Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-In Treatment, £21.50, and Curvaceous Ringlet Perfecting Lotion, £17. To add lift she also spritzed some Larry King Hair Care Volumizing Hair Mist, £29, before drying my hair with my head tipped back using the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, £330, and diffuser.
Flipping my head up to check out the almost-finished cut, I’m not exaggerating when I say my jaw dropped. The transformation of the flatter lengths in the 'before' shot was undeniable and the addition of the shorter layers around my face gives the cut a '70s shag vibe. I feel as though I’ve got an on-trend haircut that works with my natural texture rather than requiring my hair to be styled into it. A few more dry snips later and I was on my way.
The proof of the custom cut really was in the pudding, by which I mean the next time I washed and styled it myself with my current regime (Imbue Curl Energising Hydration Serum, £7.99, and Twist by Ouidad Weather Up Weightless Curl Defining Gel, £13). My curls are noticeably more defined throughout my hair, rather than the bulk being weighed down, and thanks to the newfound volume around the crown, I no longer have that 'spaniel' look.
While I’m still experimenting to find my perfect curly hair routine, I’m so happy to have a cut that really gets the most out of my hair.
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