We are excited to announce the 10 Year Anniversary of the affiliation between NaturallyCurly.com and Curly Hair Solutions. As two pioneers of the curly hair movement, Jonathan Torch from Curly Hair Solutions and Michelle Breyer from NaturallyCurly, which is now TextureMedia, have been major driving forces in bringing curly hair into the mainstream and placing it at the forefront of both beauty and fashion. Through their passion, foresight and common vision these two industry icons helped lay the groundwork for an emerging movement that has since exploded into a multi-million dollar industry and is growing at a fiercely rapid pace.
Michelle, who comes from a journalism background, co-created NaturallyCurly.com as a forum for naturally curly heads to communicate their thoughts, ideas and solutions to all curly hair-related issues. The venture was brought on by Michelle having curly hair herself and realizing the need to pursue what she believed in her heart was uncharted territory. What started off as a dream has transformed into TextureMedia, the world’s largest online curly hair community.
Jonathan, a curly hair hairdresser by trade for over 25 years, developed the line of Curly Hair Solutions products and has spent many years concentrating on solutions to fix the most battled curly hair problems. The two have been working together for ten years now, helping the curl industry explode into what it is today, and will continue to shape what it will be in the future.
We asked the two curl authorities, Jonathan and Michelle to share how with us how it all began and where they think the future of curly hair is headed:
What has been your most memorable moment working together in the past 10 years?
Jonathan: Our first curl gathering with Michelle and partner Gretchen was in their home town in Austin Texas, at a Curl Clinic Event. The Curl Clinic Event was located at a local salon where I was able to showcase my product line and demonstrate cutting techniques and tips for styling curly hair. They served wine and cheese, and we served Curl Keeper. That was the first of many extremely successful events to come. I have always loved working with Michelle as she understands my vision and passion for curly hair.
Michelle: I am thrilled to say that Curly Hair Solutions was one of the first companies we ever worked with when we started 15 years ago. We’ve had many memorable times, so it’s hard to choose one. But if I had to choose, it would have to be the launch of Extenzz at a celebrity-studded party at Toronto’s Spoke Club. It was an honor to be on hand to see Jonathan and the company get the accolades they deserved for helping transform the world for curlies.
What is the weakest link in the curly hair industry?
Jonathan: The challenge is that there is a lack of natural curl-cutting knowledge in the hair industry, which makes finding a qualified curly hair stylist even more of a challenge. Curly hair cutting techniques have so many variables that traditional certified hair cutting schools are behind on as they continue to teach hair cutting systems that are very effective are largely for straight hair. Technology has played a big part in bridging this gap as the internet has revolutionized the definition of education making it easier to reach curly heads all over the planet.
Michelle: I have to agree. When we started NaturallyCurly 15 years ago, there were only a handful of products on the market and now there are thousands. But while this change may be taking place on the shelves of salons and retailers, it has been much slower to take place behind the chair. Beauty schools still don’t have a texture curriculum in place, and that’s not acceptable in a world where more than half the population has curly, coily or wavy hair. Every major beauty school needs to put a curriculum in place that ensures that every stylist is well-versed in working with texture. It will make their graduates more marketable, and it will ensure that the curly haircut nightmares many of us have lived through will become a thing of the past.
Why do you think curly hair has become so popular over the last 10 years?
Jonathan: Trends are always in constant motion and it took quite a long time for curls to find the spotlight. There are many factors that contributed to rise in popularity of curls. One major factor was the influence of celebrities and media. After ten years of flat, straight styles on Jennifer Aniston’s character fuelled from the hit TV show “Friends”, curls became popular when Sarah Jessica Parker introduced the full, bouncy curls in another hit show, “Sex and The City”. That marks the first time curly hair was recognized as being sexy.
Michelle: I think it’s a combination of factors. First and foremost, we have become an increasingly multicultural society and there is no longer one standard of beauty. Curly, coily hair is now viewed as beautiful and sexy. We also live in a society now where individuality is valued, especially among the younger generation. Women no longer want to look like everyone else. They see their curls and coils as a part of what makes them unique rather than something to fight.
Which Curly Hair Solutions Products do you use?
Jonathan: I love Treatment Shampoo. I have been addicted to it for over fifteen years. The same goes for Curl Keeper. I would hate to see how floppy, dry and frizzy my hair would look without it.
Michelle: Several Curly Hair Solutions products have made it onto my Holy Grail list, including Curl Keeper (I recommend it to EVERYONE) and Tweek. I think Curl Keeper is still a truly unique product, which is amazing when you consider all the products that have come out in recent years for curly hair. It is a product that is great alone and plays well with others and truly does what it says it’s going to do. My curls look better when I use Curl Keeper. Period. End of story. Tweek has become my go-to product for setting my curls and reviving them throughout the day. I love the consistency because it’s not greasy or sticky. I always carry a travel size with me on trips.
I have never met anyone quite like Jonathan, who literally comes up with new curly hair products in his dreams. He is a true innovator, and has helped so many curlies out there learn to love their texture.