Until recently, finding someone who understood styling curly hair was an urban legend pursued by women trying to avoid big, frizzy hair. Now, noted New York stylist Ouidad has developed a method called “carving and slicing,” which not only works with the curl but enhances it. Practitioners of the Oiudad method go through extensive training before they can use it on their clients.
There is only one salon in the area, Elie Elie in Tysons Corner, that is allowed to style using the Ouidad method, and it is inundated with clients.
“Our clients have never seen their hair look this beautiful,” said salon owner Elie Gerdak. “This is a very popular technique. We did a lot of curly hair in the past, but I think this is the best technique,” said Gerdak.
“The collaboration of carving and slicing is an unbelievable combination,” said Ouidad. She developed the technique, which creates a puzzling effect, over the last 20 years and has written a book called “Curl Talk,” which details how to care for curls. She also recently held a 20-year retrospective at Carnegie Hall that chronicles her evolution into one of the hottest stylists in the United States.
Bonnie Greenberg recently began getting Ouidad cuts and said, “You see the difference. You feel the difference. I went to a party after getting it cut the first time, and everyone raved and wanted to know where I’d gotten my hair cut. That’s never happened before because with curly hair, it, well, it doesn’t look like you got your hair cut unless you do something drastic. People noticed this cut.”
Because Elie Elie is the only Ouidad-certified salon in Northern Virginia, Gerdak finds himself booked weeks in advance. He also flies across the country to style clients’ hair for special occasions.
Reasons for the popularity of the technique, which is used by stars such as “Sex and the City’s” Sarah Jessica Parker, include controlling frizziness, having to cut the hair less often than a traditional cut, and a range of products that allow the curl to maintain its shape and texture without having to wash it every day.
“We actually tell curly-haired people to wash it every three days. Curls are dry and thirsty. Daily washing stresses the hair,” said Ouidad.
OUIDAD CUTS ARE around $125. Hair styled using the exclusive carving and slicing method, however, needs to be recut only every three to six months. This is because the hair is cut on the curl, and “as it grows out, it grows together,” explained Ouidad. This avoids the “A” shape many curly-haired people experience as a cut grows out.
Ouidad travels around the country teaching her technique to stylists. She has a salon in Manhattan that exclusively cuts curly hair and where many of her products were developed.
“I’m fighting a vendetta from all my lousy haircuts in the past. Seventy percent of the people have curly hair to one degree or another,” said Ouidad.
“Curly hair is a personality, an attitude. We teach people how to work with their hair and make it beautiful,” said Ouidad. “Curls aren’t just hair, they’re an attitude, an accessory worn by vivacious women. Curly hair can be blown straight, but choosing to enhance the curl is choosing to be free and bubbly,” said Ouidad.
“I would tell all curly people not to straighten their hair or to relax it. You’ll love it for a few days and then miss it. Let us do it this way, and you will love your curly hair for the rest of your life,” said Gerdak.
An added benefit to the Ouidad method is that the corresponding products prevents frizzing in humid conditions. “In the summertime you will love your hair. Imagine, your hair will stay all day curly,” said Gerdak.
As word spreads about Ouidad cuts, Gerdak is finding himself in the position of needing to train other stylists in the technique. Currently, Elie Elie has another stylist, Enrique, who is licensed to use carving and slicing. Elie Elie hopes to have three other stylists certified to do Ouidad in the future.