Curls Run the World - Sam Villa

Curls Run the World

Blonding and Styling for all Curl Patterns with Lindsey Marie Olson

With over 60% of the North American population rocking textured hair, it’s never been more important for stylists to build confidence and familiarity with these hair types.

Curly hair can be intimidating for both stylists and clients, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s all about adapting your techniques to work for your guest’s curl pattern and hair type.

If you ever feel a twinge of nervousness when a guest with textured hair asks to go BLONDE, you’re not alone. The concern is that lightening services can cause your guest’s curls to lose their definition.

Ensure your curly-haired guests leave your salon with beautiful hair by mastering Twirlyage, a coloring method from Sam Villa Ambassador, Redken Artist, and global educator Lindsey Marie Olson. Lindsey specializes in color and finishes for all hair textures, especially waves and curls

Read on to discover Lindsey’s game-changing tips for formulating and applying color, diffusing textured hair and teaching your guests how to recreate lived-in, luxe texture at home.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Many stylists now offer a pre-consultation visit before scheduling color work. This can take place either in the salon or online, and provides a great opportunity to increase client satisfaction.

Familiarizing yourself with your guest’s hair type and desired style in advance helps you schedule the correct amount of time for the service. It also lets you advise your guest on how to wear their hair to the appointment. Lindsey suggests the client arrive with a light leave-in conditioner in their hair’s natural state.

Before applying your color, it’s essential to thoroughly detangle the hair to ensure that your lightener application will fully saturate every strand. Lindsey recommends misting curls with a conditioning spray such as Redken One United or Mizani Miracle Milk, then detangling the hair with a wide-tooth brush like the Sam Villa Paddle Brush.

Comb through the hair vertically with this brush to align the bristles for faster, smoother brushing. Make sure you can run your fingers through the hair without getting stuck on any knots.

Next, identify your client’s wave patterns. The average textured client has three different curl patterns across their head, and this information can help you decide which technique to use for applying color, cutting and styling.

Formulating Color for Textured Hair

Formulating lightener for textured hair requires special attention and care. Lindsey recommends using Redken’s Flash Lift Pods, a 2-in-1 lightener and bonder with up to eight levels of lift. Avoid going higher than 20 volume on textured hair. So for one pod of Redken’s Flash Lift, use 1.5 ounces of developer. This gives you more control when applying your color and defends the integrity of the curl structure.

Don’t worry, you can still get the lift you need with this method! The lift actually doesn’t come from the developer, but rather from the product, the saturation and the way that you apply the color.

For best results, mix small batches of lightener at least every 15 minutes. This delivers a stronger lift with a fresh formulation. Lindsey keeps the developer and extra bowls at her station for faster remixes. Redken’s Flash Lift Pods are ideal for super-quick remixes with less of a measuring mess!

Applying Color

Start your color application on textured hair at the nape of the neck. This minimizes breakage in the recession area and any fragile baby hairs up front. Also, if you start in the back you can easily rinse the lightener out while the front section continues to process.

Lindsey suggests using zig-zag partings to create dimension and avoid hard lines when the hair grows out. Create a zig-zag center part, then a horizontal zig-zag section at the nape. Within this section, work with small vertical subsections that are deep and narrow. This lets you heavily saturate each piece so the color looks bright when the hair expands. Secure the rest of the hair with Dry Sectioning Clips.

Now place your comb halfway down the hair shaft and gently tease the hair 1-2 times. (For straight or wavy hair, tease the hair more for added dimension.)

Begin to paint the lightener onto the surface of the hair, maintaining light tension and applying the product generously for full saturation. For wavy, curly or coily hair, make sure to keep depth at the base to create dimension and make the curls POP. To create a soft “lived-in” look, use Redken’s Blur Brush to blend the color from their natural level to your full lightener application.

Use a balayage board to apply lightener from mid-shafts to ends. The curlier the hair, the higher up the full saturation should be applied. For balayage on natural textured hair, paint heavily at least halfway up the hair shaft to ensure the color is visible. (However, you should never paint the roots of coily hair, as the color won’t look natural. Hold the balayage board away from the scalp to avoid getting lightener too close to the root.)

After applying the product, rotate the board in a “twirl” motion and rest the hair on your color brush. Bring the board back underneath the hair and paint the section again. Repeat this twirling process several times to ensure full saturation on the top and bottom of the section. Secure the twirl in a foil and continue this process with the remaining sections.

When working with coily hair it’s important to paint every section. If you skip sections, it will look like there is a hole in the color once the hair dries.

Finishing Curly Hair


Correctly finishing curly hair is an essential skill for every stylist! To avoid frizz, make sure to start with sopping-wet hair and avoid letting the hair air-dry. Lindsey suggests misting the hair with water as needed and using a plastic shower cap to hold in moisture on areas you haven’t dried yet.

Product is key to achieving defined, beautiful spirals. Lindsey recommends a product cocktail for curly hair that includes a leave-in conditioner such as Mizani Miracle Milk, a mousse such as Mizani Curl Wrap and an oil such as Perfect Coil Oil.

Curly hair needs lots of moisture, so keep applying product until the curls begin to separate and you can see visible definition. Add the product in sections to ensure there is enough product and moisture on the hair, then detangle with a wide tooth comb or brush.

Method 1: Finger Coils

For extra-defined curls, apply hair oil to your hands and wrap 1-inch sections of hair around your finger in a ribboning motion. Unravel the curl in the opposite direction that you wrapped it in. Repeat with the rest of the hair, then blow dry with your diffuser on low air and medium heat.

Watch Lindsey demonstrate this technique here:

Method 2: Raking

Working in 1-inch sections, apply Redken’s Curvaceous Spiral Lock to the hair and rake it through with your fingers and palms. Scrunch the hair for added definition, then diffuse small sections on low air and medium heat.

Finishing Wavy Hair

Styling wavy hair can be a delicate balance. Waves need moisture so they don’t frizz up, but heavy products designed for curls can leave wavy hair crispy or crunchy. Lindsey suggests starting with more defined curls, and then loosening up the shape later on.

Begin by prepping the hair with Redken’s Curvaceous Ringlet. Rake the hair lotion through in sections, working from the nape to the crown. Then pick up a 1-inch section, twirl the hair around your fingers and shake it to bring out the hair’s natural wave pattern. After creating a horizontal line of soft waves, scrunch the sections in your palms for more definition. Repeat this process with the rest of your guest’s hair, working up the head in horizontal sections.

Does your wavy-haired guest complain that their hair on top falls flat? For added volume and definition, Lindsey uses pin curl clips in the entire crown area while drying.

Diffusing Waves and Curls

When diffusing, start by asking your client to lean all the way forward so that their head is almost at a 90 degree angle. Their hair should be falling straight down towards the floor. Place the diffuser underneath the ends so that the warm airflow is directed up the hair shaft.

Diffuse the hair until it is 50% dry, then have your client flip their head backwards at a 90 degree angle. Finish by having your guest tip their head to each side.

Lindsey recommends avoiding hooded dryers for textured hair as they don’t allow the client to rotate their head as much, which results in less volume.

Use low speed and medium heat when diffusing wavy or curly hair. Avoid touching the hair with your hands or moving the dryer around the head quickly. Scrunching the hair while diffusing or being overly aggressive can disrupt the curl pattern and create frizz.

Remember, you already did the prep work to set beautifully defined curls! Hold the dryer still and let the warm airflow work its magic. This is a great time to educate your guest on how to apply product and dry their hair at home.

If you’re working with loose waves and need more definition, gently rotate the diffuser while moving it up halfway towards the head. (Don’t place the diffuser against the scalp.)

Always diffuse wavy/curly hair until it’s 100% dry to control the shape you’re creating. If your guest leaves the salon with hair that is 80% dry, the wind or humidity could cause frizz or a loss of curl definition.

Creating an Inclusive Salon

As the natural hair movement continues to grow, it’s important that we upgrade our skillset to provide an inclusive experience for guests of all hair types. With the right techniques you can confidently make coily or textured hair blonde, protect the integrity of the curl pattern, and finish the hair beautifully.

There’s a special transformation that happens when a curly-haired client works with a stylist who knows how to color and style their natural hair. Remember to teach your clients how to recreate the look at home, and stock all the retail products and supplies needed for gorgeous textured tresses!