Curly hair can be a total b***ch to look after.
People tell you not to brush it and you end up with one big dreadlock. Or they tell you only to condition and not to shampoo and you end up with hair that is some how both greasy and dry.
And then the curls start to fall out.
Random patches of hair become limp and flat so that amidst your dready curls are strange straight strands.
My own hair looks more like a matted sheepdog’s than a bed of heavily corkscrew curls.
I’ve grown my hair long to try and avoid it becoming a frizzy triangle. I’ve tried to only brush it in the shower. I’ve tried to only use coconut oil.
And yet I can count the number of time my hair goes ‘right’ on one hand…which is why I usually have it all up in a bun.
A post shared by Miranda Larbi (@mkyl500) on May 22, 2017 at 11:54am PDT
So when I saw that Larry King – stylist to the stars – was behind Pixie Lott’s recent curly transformation, I knew I had to see him.
His salon is situated a stones throw away from South Kensington tube, just down Harrington Road, where his ‘every day cilents’ include Niall Horan, Poppy Delevingne, David Gandy, Lindsay Lohan, Mollie King, Ruth Negga, Dominic Cooper and Elisa Sednaoui. Or at least they are when he’s not busy doing shoots for D&G, Gucci or Givenchy.
Suffice to say, he knows hair. And more crucially, he knows curly hair.
‘My wife has hair just like yours and she spent years struggling to find someone who could manage it,’ he tells me as I take a seat.
‘The thing is that most people are scared of curly hair and a lot of stylists don’t know what to do with it.’
A post shared by Pixie Lott (@pixielott) on Jun 10, 2017 at 11:21am PDT
He takes one look at my matted hair and says that what I needed was a good chop and diffuser.
And that, in Larry’s opinion, is the key to good curls. Getting rid of the dead stuff, putting in proper shape and diffusing, diffusing, diffusing.
‘When you dry your hair, what do you do it?’ he asks me before looking slightly horrified as I describe the 15-minute ritual of scrunching, pulling and twirling my wet hair before sticking it all under a t-shirt to dry.
‘The cardinal rule for curly hair is once you’ve washed it, do not touch it.
Another month, another attempt to get my dreads sorted. This time I’m at @larrykinghair trying their curl treatment because all of my curls have turned into velcro. Pray for me. #hair #curlyhair #mixed #haircut #curls
A post shared by #miRUNda (@mirandalarbi) on Aug 4, 2017 at 3:44am PDT
‘I often tell my clients to stick their hand in their pocket to get rid of the temptation to touch their hair.
‘The more you touch it and fiddle about with it, the more frizz is going to accumulate. You want to dry it from as wet as possible with maximum heat and medium interference – which is why a diffuser is so good.’
I’m too lazy to use a hairdryer and I can’t stand the sound of them so I was sort of skeptical that Larry would persuade me to invest in one.
Anyway, he starts chopping away with small, deft movements.
He cuts into my straight cut ‘to add more shape’ and cuts bangs in the front – ‘little whispy bits that can hang when you’ve got your hair up’.
A post shared by Larry King (@larrykinghair) on Jun 4, 2017 at 8:59am PDT
I’ll admit, I’m nervous. I’ve not had a fringe since I was in prep school. Am I going to look like a frizzy loaf of bread? Is this good?
But as he chops away and I see inches of my safety net curls drop to the floor, I realise that perhaps the problem is that I’ve been carrying a lot of dead weight around. The last stylist I saw said that she wouldn’t dream of taking more than an inch off…which has meant that every time I’ve gone to a salon, I still leave with a load of split ends.
‘I could go shorter but let’s just see where we are when we’re done – you can always go shorter next time,’ Larry says as if reading my thoughts.
And then comes the defusing.
He applies a load of Redken Full Effect All Over Nourishing Mousse, Number 04 and Curvaceous Curl serum – giving the odd curl a twirl before getting me to stick my head down to be diffused with a Dyson diffuser hairdryer.
I know what you’re thinking – mousse? What is this, 2001? But this mousse, he assures me, isn’t the sticky, crinkly stuff of Superdrug nightmares. It’s more of a oil-based serum to nourish the hair and help it form shape, rather than the glue we’re used to.
A post shared by #miRUNda (@mirandalarbi) on Aug 4, 2017 at 11:37am PDT
I’m defused for about 15 minutes if not more. Larry does not take his left hand out of his pocket.
Once you’ve finished defusing, then you fiddle with it – moving curls around, encouraging them to twist the way you want. Just not when it’s still damp.
And up I come to find that I’ve got a head of curls to revival Olivia Newton John.
My head is lighter, the curls more defined, the bangs making my horsey face look completely different.
I leave knowing exactly what gadget I’m asking for for my birthday.
Mum, if you’re reading this…