If you’re a curly girl, you know it’s a fine line between Botticelli-esque ringlets and being accused of trying to make “just-stuck-my-finger-in-an-electric-socket chic” a thing. So when you finally find that elusive hair guru who can take you from frizzy to fabulous, you never want to let her (or him) go.
But should your stylist ever mutter, “I’m moving out of town” — the only five words a curly girl dreads hearing more than “dew point above 70 degrees” — fear not. The Madison area is fortunate to have an abundance of curl experts who can help you “adjust the volume” in the right direction.
Lumen Hair Salon, 845 E. Johnson St., lumensalon.com, 608-347-8378
Quest’s name seems apropos given her passionate client following; in her they have found the Holy Grail of curl care. “I know as soon as someone comes in what might work for their curls. It’s so intuitive to me,” says Quest, a 30-year veteran of the business who trained under legendary names like Sahag and Sassoon. “Every head is different, so I cut both wet and dry and before and after styling.” She also believes it’s vital to work with hair’s natural texture. “If you fight hair,” she says, “you’ll get a fight.”
Revel Salon, 610 Junction Rd., revelsalonmadison.com, 608-234-5800
Hein opened Revel last November, not just because she wanted to be a business owner, but because she wanted to cater to curls. “I have curly hair myself, and I know the pain of a bad haircut,” says Hein. She also specializes in balayage, a freehand coloring technique that she feels works well on waves. “My goal is to have my clients genuinely enjoy their hair,” she says, “not spend an hour flat-ironing it.”
Tamara “T” Brown
Fringe Salon Spa, 654 S. Gammon Rd., fringesalonofmadison.com, 608-257-4247
Fringe, perhaps Madison’s most diverse salon, “sees all kinds of curls and textures all day, every day,” says Brown, a professional stylist for 20 years. Brown feels it’s vital that her clients not only look great when they leave her chair, but that they are able to achieve styling success at home. This prompted her to offer natural hair care classes (the next one is Feb. 28) at the salon. While Brown continues to have African American clients who relax their hair, she is pleased that natural hair has made a comeback: “I love when I can inspire my clients to work with their natural texture more confidently.”
Rik Rak Studio, 5910 Monona Drive, #201, rikrakstudio.com, 608-235-7174
“I feel like I’m doing detective work during an initial consultation,” says Wasmund. She’s been styling hair, with an emphasis on the curly, for 10 years. “It really is a discovery process, and my goal is to get my clients to start having many more good hair days than bad,” she says. Wasmund, who tends to cut wet, is also a believer in, as she puts it, “the power of product. I spend lots of time helping my clients find the curl cocktail that will work best for them.”
Be Inspired Salon, 426 S. Yellowstone Drive, beinspiredsalon.com, 608-271-2771
Lorraine Massey is a cult figure in curly lore. Author of the 2001 best seller Curly Girl: The Handbook, Massey revolutionized curl care with her DevaCurl method of dry-cutting hair and product line. According to Whitney Colburn, director of education for Be Inspired, it’s the studio’s deep bench of Deva-inspired curl cutting experts that sets it apart from other area salons. “We have 13 stylists trained in the Deva techniques,” says Coburn. “That’s a lot of expertise.”