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Barbara Lhotan Talks Naturally Curly Fringes

Some curly hair experts and girls disagree about the appropriateness of forehead fringes worn on the curl endowed. However, if you dream of having a well mannered fringe, curl expert Barbara Lhotan offers tips from her curly hair client bag of tricks.

(Image of Sophina Brown from CBS Numbers - All Rights Reserved)

According to Barbara, who practices her curl magic by traveling to select salons in Dallas, New York and Washington, DC the biggest mistake curly girls make when trying out a fringe is going way too short. Barbara explained "curly hair can be cut into a forehead fringe when the section is long, side-swept and appropriately layered."

When the bangs are "cut too short, they will naturally shrink and creep up towards the hairline. When the bangs are longer, they'll likely shrink less and can be finger styled to merge seamlessly with the rest of the curls."

I pressed Barbara for more details about her naturally curly bang secrets. She explained she has "several curly girls as clients who understand "fringes aren't easy to create and manage on their hair textures" but Barbara has "figured out some methods to create unique fringes for them."

Barbara said "curly haired girls are so tired of all one length hair, they want a different look, they want to be unique and fringes offer new options for their ringlets." She also said "they're inhibited about bangs because they worry about how they will turn out, whether they can manage them at home and what they can do if they decide they hate them, after they're cut." Barbara agrees these are valid concerns and works hard to address them.

(Image of Sophina Brown from CBS Numbers - All Rights Reserved)

Barbara explained the definition of "long, side-swept and layered are key" and "the type of curl and spring pattern have to be carefully analyzed." For naturally curly haired people with a loose or medium curl pattern she will carefully snip the desired fringe section into a point much like the point on a V or the bottom of a triangle. Both sides will be shorter and angled with the bottom section long.

How long is long you may wonder? Depending on the "spring of the curl" Barbara will "cut the fringe point to rest at the bottom or the middle of the lips." She explained "you have to allow for the spring factor because once the curls dry in the fringe, they will spring back up." She notes "if the bottom of the V is too short, the fringe will be too short and may even puff up."

How does she actually cut her famous curly fringe? Barbara explained she "first studies the hair while it's dry to determine the spring. Then she wets the curls and cuts the fringe while damp. After it's cut, she's dries the fringe in a number of ways depending on the client's wishes. Her ultimate goal is to have the fringe spring back to their original shape but be arranged to one side of the forehead and seamlessly merged into the rest of the hair."

Barbara is not a fan of the two haircuts on one head look where stick straight bangs are attached to masses of curls. She encourages her fringe wearing clients to incorporate their ringlets into the rest of their hair by drying it with a long finger diffuser.

(Image of Sophina Brown from CBS Numbers - All Rights Reserved)

I asked people if she has a lot of clients who want her version of a fringe cut. She said yes, Barbara said she "has one naturally curly haired client with shoulder length medium tight curls who travels literally for hours to get Barbara's fringe because other curl experts she has visited refused to cut one for her and she loves the option to play with the front of her hair for a unique style."

Barbara also will cut "faux fringes" utilizing a special zig zag cutting pattern around the hairline so that just a few soft ringlets can be pulled out of the rest of the hair and allowed to rest along the forehead.

Can all naturally people have a fringe?  Barbara said she believes "everyone should wear their hair the way they love it, regardless of what anyone else thinks or tells them" but she did say she would not be willing to create her special fringe on hair that is super tightly curled. She said no matter how long she cut her magic V fringe, the spring would be too tight to make a side fringe viable.

(Image of Sophina Brown from CBS Numbers - All Rights Reserved)

Finally, I asked Barbara is she would recommend relaxing, chemical straightening or treating just the fringe area with a Brazilian treatment to have straight bangs. Although she re-iterated her belief that "everyone should wear their curls the way they love" she said she "would not recommend chemically treating just the fringe area."

So what about curly girls who want a straight fringe just for a change? Barbara said "they should invest in clip-on bangs." She noted HairDo makes some really nice ones and they offer a change to change up your curls for a short time without damaging the ringlets with harsh chemicals."

Any other last words? Barbara pointed out "some of her clients have asked about curly haired Nicole Richie's bangs as an example of a curly fringe they might like to try." Barbara noted when it comes to celebrities and their curls it is often "smoke and mirrors." She should know, she is a veteran of working behind the curtains at the New York fashion weeks where all hairstyles are never what they seem.

Barbara said when it comes to curly hair "no two heads of curls are alike and what works for one, may never work for another."

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