Stylemakers: Lorraine Massey's Curly Hair Tips

By: Alexa Cleary

Does trying to tame your curly hair have you pulling it out at the roots? Curl connoisseur Lorraine Massey may have the solution. Massey co-owns Soho’s Devachan salon; has been featured in Allure, In Style, and the New York Times; and penned her own how-to guide for curly hair, called Curly Girl, in 2001. Massey is coming to the Brookline Booksmith next Monday, February 7, at 7:00 pm to reveal styling tips that will help the curly-headed love their locks.

A curly girl herself, Massey once dreaded styling her locks – which she described as “a dry heap of messy frizz.” It wasn’t until her world travels left her too poor for shampoo that she discovered that not washing her hair actually made it look better. “It was my dirty little secret,” says Massey, who went years without shampooing her hair, and telling no one. After all, who wants to talk about a disregard for basic hygiene?

Eventually, she felt compelled to share her secret. Massey has spearheaded the “no-poo” movement, a shampoo-free approach to curly hair care, which urges girls to put down the weapons of curl destruction (straighteners, blow-dryers, and shampoos with harsh detergents) and embrace their curls.

“Curly hair is not a symptom to be treated,” says Massey. She compares straightening curls to climbing a mountain in your Louboutins: Why bother? Chances are those curls will spring forth before the day’s end. As Massey puts it: “Straighten your curly girl, and she’ll be happy for a day. Teach her to love and care for her hair, and she’ll be happy for life.”

To that end, Massey provided Bostonista with several tips for styling wily locks:

Swap your shampoo: Shampoos are full of harsh chemicals that strip curls of their natural moisture. But that doesn’t mean your hair has to be dirty; switch your shampoo for one without sulfates (try Kerastase’s Chroma Sensitive, $42, which launches this month) or cleanse with natural ingredients like lemon.

Use a gel that doesn’t stick: Gummy gels will dehydrate your tresses. Try before you buy by rubbing a small amount on your palm. If it makes your hands sticky, it will do the same to your curls. No one wants crunchy hair, or sticky hands for that matter; look for a cream-based styling product that will condition your locks.

Don’t over brush: A hairbrush strips hair’s cuticle of its natural moisture and leaves your locks frizzed and frayed — try running your fingers through your hair instead.

Skip washing for a weekend: If there’s one equation that we curly girls will never forget, it’s that humidity + curls = afro. Massey encourages curly-girls to skip the shampoo for three days; your scalp naturally adjusts its oil production to compensate within the first week.

Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660,