Articles > Styling > 10 Tips For Working With Textured Hair
January 9, 2017

10 Tips For Working With Textured Hair

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Instagram via @mia_devacurl

Cutting and styling textured hair—it’s not as daunting as one may initially think. If one of your goals is to improve your skills when working with natural hair, then we’ve got you covered. Celebrity stylist and curly hair pro Tippi Shorter (@tippishorter) knows a thing or two about working with natural texture, and you may even recognize her work. She’s the creative mind behind all of Alicia Keys’ looks on the most recent season of “The Voice“. So we reached out to get everying from her best cutting and styling tips to her favorite products and tools to tricks to remember when working on a set. Get the tips!



1. Shrinkage Matters
When it comes to cutting curls, you’ll either hear stylists say, “I like to cut it wet,” or “I like to cut it dry.” It turns out neither way is wrong! Tippi says what really matters is determined by:


  1. How your client wears her hair a majority of the time and
  2. The amount of shrinkage her hair has


“I laid out a chart, based on tests that I’ve done, on the amount of shrinkage wavy hair has, curly hair has and coily hair has. And then you would cut the hair wet, damp or dry according to the amount of shrinkage her type of hair has,” says Tippi.


2. Step Away From The Thinning Shears
If you’re creating or loosing the amount of bulk, whatever you do, don’t do it through texturizing, advises Tippi. Thinning shears will result in blunt ends that are randomly spotting through the hair. Instead, create sliced ends that are directionally pushing the hair upward or downward so you can either enhance or reduce the bulk.


3. Embrace Her Natural Texture
Women everywhere were rejoicing when Alicia embraced the no-makeup life. To fit Alicia’s minimalist beauty routine, Tippi created styles that required no smoothing or straightening. “The minimalist definitely extends into the hair. (Alicia) has this gorgeous, curly mane of hair so she really wanted to keep the minimalism there as well,” shares Tippi. For many of Alicia’s looks on “The Voice,” Tippi kept the hair naturally curly and played around with fun braids and ponytails.



4. An Unconventional Styling Tool
OK technically Tippi shared this tip as an on-set trick but we thought it was so creative and applicable to the salon, that we had to give it its own spot. So, how does Tippi tame those darn flyaways? With a toothbrush! Just spray a bit of hairspray or add a little pomade and voilà! No more flyaways! 


5. The Best Flat Iron For Texture
Tippi says her favorite flat iron to use on clients with textured hair is a titanium flat iron. Why? Because it’s the toughest metal that retains heat the longest, meaning you can straighten your client’s hair faster, and with less heat exposure.



6. An Alternative to the Flat Iron
Give those curls a break by switching from a flat iron to a thermal brush. Yes, you’re still using heat but a thermal brush is gentler on the hair’s cuticle. “I like this as an alternative to flat ironing because when flat ironing, you’re basically smashing the cuticle…This is basically just moving the hair so it’s allowing your cuticle to fall flat without smashing it, but getting it smooth,” shares Tippi. 


7. Split End Repair Only?
When it comes to products, we love to find off-label uses or a way to use it another way than what the label states. And so does Tippi! During her time on “The Voice,” she used her Aveda Damage Remedy Split End Mender as more than a product for the split ends. She used it as extra protection any time she needed to apply additional heat. All she did was dab in some Damage Remedy Split End Repair, leave it in for about 10 minutes and then styled away with her curling wand. Simple!



8. The Oil For Everyone
One product Tippi swears by? Her Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil. So much so that she says she uses it on all her clients…and even their elbows! It’s a dual-purpose product that’ll give your clients hydration without oily shine, which is exactly what your curly girls are in need of. Keep it in its true form as a bottle and use the dropper, or take notes from Tippi and put it in a spray bottle. “When you’re dealing with a lot of hair, whether it’s curly or long, to make sure you get it in fully throughout the hair, I like to just spray it in,” notes Tippi.


9. Tippi’s Go-To Hairspray
Another product Tippi always has on hand? Her
Aveda Control Force Firm Hold Hairspray. “Even though it’s a firm hold hairspray, it’s still very brushable and I use it for my toothbrush for flyaways and to keep the hair in place. And it’s really great becasue I can brush it and then re-style it without any breaks or tackiness,” says Tippi.


Bonus Tip: Turns out, hairspray isn’t just for the hairs on your clients head! Tippi’s makeup artist friend uses her Control Force hairspray to keep her client’s eyebrows in place. Who can resist a dual-purpose product?


10. On-Set Tips and Tricks
Is a goal of yours to one day style hair on either a movie or TV show set? During her time on “The Voice,” Tippi learned some tricks to survive outside the salon and on a set.


  1. Carry an extra, extra, extra long extension cord with you wherever you go. “It’s very heavy and not very stylish for me, but I never know when I’m going to have to touch up a curl,” shares Tippi. When on a set, it’s not uncommon for the hair to look amazing in the trailer and amazing in the photos, but when it comes time to film, the hair might fall a little flat.


  2. Invest in some cordless styling tools. Sometimes filming will take place outside and nothing looks more unprofessional than not being prepared. Instead of worrying about locating a power source, keep cordless tools in your arsenal so you can power up even when shooting outdoors!



  3. Compensate for the lighting. In the entertainment industry, filming sets mean lots and lots of bright lights. Bright lights and big curls do not get along. “I have to make sure I compensate for the lighting because when you wear your hair big, naturally and curly, backlighting isn’t always a friend of curly hair, so it might look frizzy,” notes Tippi. 


  4. Be flexible. Tippi says when she was first approached to style Alicia’s hair for “The Voice,” she thought it would only be for two days a week, but that wasn’t the case. Even though the show aired two days a week, there was extra filming throughout the week. “It is incredibly fun. Lots of fun, but challenging. (Alicia) had her signature look but trying to find ways to switch it up was always a challenge, but definitely a welcomed challenege,” shares Tippi.


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