Introduce yourself, What’s your name, where are from where, do you live etc?
I’m Neel and I am originally from England and have been in Melbourne 4 years.
How long have you been a hairdresser, tell us a bit about your experience?
I’ve been a hairdresser for 15 years… (saying that makes me feel old) it wasn’t until 2005 when I was working in Sydney that I went to a seminar about curly hair and realised that I had been cutting curly hair all wrong. I started cutting curly hair dry and suddenly I started to get myself a curly hair following. I didn’t know how to let people know that I existed and word of mouth was a good start though.
When did you realise you wanted to specialise in curly hair/how did you get into cutting curls?
I was working in a salon in Melbourne when I first arrived and the vibe wasn’t very friendly .I saw the way that some stylists were only good at certain things. I would cringe as I watched curly hair being blowed dried straight so they could ‘check the haircut!’, it just makes no sense to blow dry curly hair straight after the cut when it’s curly hair. I left and started working at Cherry bomb salon and that was when I thought that I never wanted to torture (straighten) someone’s amazing curls again. I liked the clients with curls more. My client’s don’t need to come and see me that often but when they do they can see my passion for curls/waves is real.
What do you love about cutting/styling curly hair specifically?
At the first seminar I went to I was inspired at the different curly cuts people were having. I am kind of embarrassed that I used to cut curly hair wet but I thought I had been taught well… I had been but the person that taught me had no idea how to work with curls. I learnt that it was terrible to offer to blow dry someone’s curls straight or let them walk out with wet hair or with giant bouffant hair. (I never straightened it to cut it though, that’s the worst idea ever!)
I love working with what people have naturally. It’s like gardening and you need to have the right instructions for your curls. I don’t get bored of cutting curly hair as no 2 curly clients are ever the same. I love to teach/educate and inspire people to love their curls. I think that my clients are more fun. I really do. Once you have built up trust then they are with you forever. I have fancy dress gowns on my salon (it’s just a bit of extra fun and makes what generally for most people with curly hair a wonderful experience for once.)
I am part of a collective of curly hairdresser that are mainly from America. I am going with another Australian curly hair specialist Amanda Rickman in October for a curly hair conference .I want to learn more about my craft. I never want to stop learning. There are so many varying types of curls and waves and every day is always different.
Tell us a bit about your salon and what people can expect when they visit?
I decided 6 months ago that I wanted to have my own ‘curly hair only salon’. It’s not an uncommon thing in America so I wanted to bring my version of it to Australia. I knew I had a large amount of clients to make it work and now that the word is out there that there is a salon and that only cut curls I am getting people flying in from Perth/Sydney/Alice Springs/Adelaide. I put up loads of photos so clients can see what I do and they can look for their curls/waves! I have a booking system so that takes the hard work out of leaving my clients to answer a phone. I decided to just cut and not colour because I am booked weeks and weeks ahead and if I did colour I would be months to get in to see me.
When you come to NEEL LOVES CURLS I promise that you won’t leave with wet hair and I won’t offer to blow dry it straight. I offer a fun environment and I teach you how to rock your curls. All new clients’ get to read the curly girl book as it’s amazingly informative. Most clients have treatments as the curls are generally dry and I never say “see you in 6 weeks!” as that’s not true for curly hair people. Most clients come every 4 months.
My main room is like a theatre and all my gowns are customised and my wash room area is a jungle. My salon is all based on word of mouth and recommendations. I am pretty obsessed with my job and enjoy explaining to clients every detail of what I’m doing so that they can re do the same once they leave the salon.
What your 3 biggest tips for people with curly hair?
My 3 biggest tips for curly hair is
- Only put in curl products in when the hair is soaking wet.
- Never use a normal towel to dry your hair. (Use a micro fibre towel/t shirt)
- Only ever get your curls cut dry. If someone cut’s it wet it’s going to be a disaster.
How can people find out more about you/your salon how to book etc?
To book go to www.vagaro.com/NeelLovesCurls (all details about pricing/opening times are on there!)
I am on Facebook as Neel loves curls
And Instagram as neellovescurls
And my blog is neellovescurls.blogspot.com.au
There is a huge movement of people embracing their curls/waves and now thanks to the internet so many more clients are more informed on their hair. I’ve even noticed the difference so much in the last 6 months with most clients knowing and not using sulphates/silicones.
Viva the curl revolution.