My First Deva Cut

My wavy/curly/ hair is the bane of my existence. It’s fine, fluffy, and unruly, a word which here means “frustrating as hell.”

I’ve spent roughly two years growing out my last buzz cut and researching my options. I have spent hours reading Curly Girl and Live Curly, Live Free. I’ve pored over forums with a notepad in hand, making lengthy lists of recommended products and techniques. I’ve got the satin pillowcase, the diffuser, duckbill clips, smooth towels, bucket of gel, and conditioner by the 40-gallon drum. Nevertheless, my hair usually looks like a string mop and exhausts my paltry vocabulary of expletives, day after week after year. I’m rarely jealous of long legs or rock-solid abs—- but when I see thick, shining curls, I am CONSUMED by envy. CONSUMED, I say!

On my last trip to NYC, I caught myself walking down Broome Street (recently lost, as usual) behind a woman with gloriously shiny, bouncing blond curls. As I walked, staring at her hair in rapture, she turned suddenly and walked straight into…a  Devachan salon, where she stood talking to two other fabulously curly-headed ladies. I nearly ditched my friends and followed her in.

But I resisted the urge, having read that Deva salons charge $125 for a cut from a junior stylist followed by almost $18 per bottle of shampoo, conditioner, gel, and various finishing products. For me, that’s a HUGE gamble.

I’ve hemmed and hawed over getting a Deva cut for a long, long time. Nosing around online, I saw mixed reviews for Deva cuts. Then again, ALL stylists get mixed reviews, no matter what techniques they prefer. Deva is heavily hyped, and the their products are surely overpriced. But having taken so many steps toward curly hair maintenance, it seemed logical to get a good, curl-friendly haircut— logically, that should have been my FIRST step.

In the end, I decided on a Deva cut not because of the Curly Girl books or fancy branding, but because I found a salon with a good reputation AND Deva-trained stylists not two blocks from my workplace. What were the odds?

So I did. Today. I went to Salon Bliss and met Gretchen, the head stylist/salon owner-type-person. She immediately recognized me from my workplace, which made me feel simultaneously like a rock star (strangers can place me at a glance!) and a horrible mess (strangers are dying to fix my moppy hair!).

My salon experience was thoroughly nifty. Before picking up any scissors, Gretchen talked with me about what to expect from a Deva cut and how she would trim my layers to create as “cascading” curl effect (as opposed to my wide cloud of hair) while hardly losing any length. Gretchen cut my hair Deva-style; dry, cutting one lock at a time— fun to watch! She then washed, conditioned, gelled, and scrunched my hair (much the way I do at home) using all Deva products, then clipped my roots with duckbill clips (much more skilfully than I do at home) before parking me under a hooded dryer with a magazine.

Once my hair was dry, Gretchen scrunched and styled my hair with a diffuser and… some Deva misty stuff. She was happy to answer all my questions, so I really should have taken decent notes. We’ll see how much I remember in the shower tomorrow morning… I asked Gretchen for product recommendations, fully expecting her to pitch enormous bottles of all things Deva. Instead, she recommended I try travel sizes. No upselling! Hurrah!


Here I stand, dreading the camera:


Side view! Compare this to my haircut on last August 27, and observe how my hair grows slower than stalactites.

The back is my favorite; before today’s cut, my lower layer had grown MUCH too long for the other layers. Since my bottom layer of hair is almost straight, the difference was pretty blatant. This is a much more unified haircut

Finally, the front view, which looks pretty iffy from this angle. It’s not that short, I promise. If you’ve been wanting a close-up of my beginner’s fine lines ‘n’ wrinkles, this is your big day:

Should I consider a darker eyebrow pencil?

An indoor “Fortress of Solitude” shot shows the length more accurately and shows that Gretchen was right; this IS more “cascading” than what I had before, and I barely lost any length.

While I’m happy with my first-and-surely-not-last Deva Cut, I was a bit disappointed in the styling. I expected to leave with curlier hair than ever, since that’s sorta what Deva brags about. Instead, my hair looks distinctly average. This is a recent shot of my hair at its curliest:

Now, that’s a bathroom shot, and you can tell my bathroom lighting hides a multitude of sins. But still, that’s a lot more curl than I ended up with today, so…. …. huh. I’ll have to fumble with this a bit, see if I can work more curl into today’s cut and see how the Deva products perform at home. I think there’s silicone lurking in my shower…

Do you have curly hair? What advice would you give to other struggling curly folk?


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  1. Looking good, lady!

    The curls really do cascade, and they look great. I think the shape Gretchen gave you frames your face beautifully, and makes those gorgeous eyes pop.

    I think you know most of my curly suggestions – try ditching shampoo, or use a sulfate-free brand, satin pillowcase, etc. Two of my new favorite things are to take a shower and just wet my hair using my hands (takes a lot less time to dry, and really revives the curls) and to spray my hair with the water and lavender oil mixture talked about in Curly Girl. I was a skeptic, but darn if it doesn’t seem to work!


  2. That looks awesome. Sometimes a good haircut is just worth the money.


  3. Your hair looks lovely! I am still trying to find a stylist who I think cuts my hair miraculously. I am a little afraid to go to a Deva stylist because a) it is expensive and b) My hair is wavy, but not super curly, and I think the stylist would wonder what the heck I was doing there ;-)

    I could have written everything you said about your hair. Except all that about about actually getting a Devacut ;-) But have I built insane shopping lists from Naturally Curly and Live Curly Live Free? Yes! Do I have a weird straight under-layer? Yes! Is my bathroom an embarrassment of gels and conditioners? Yes Yes Yes!

    I recently sprung for a “hair analysis” from Live Curly Live Free’s Curl Wizard. It cost $20 but I have spent a lot more than that on crap that didn’t work out for me, so I saw it as a money-saving endeavor. You send some hair samples and they send you back an explanation of your hair’s “properties” and which products they think you should use. I have had mixed results. I bought a bunch of stuff off my list, and the first time using everything (I added the new things one at a time), my hair was always insanely, miraculously, curly. But every subsequent attempt has left me a bit disappointed. Still, I think it was worth it because as it turns out, I had the wrong idea about a lot of my hair (like, I thought it was superfine and I was overloading it with protein. Turns out it’s medium and I shouldn’t really use that much protein after all.)


    Rebekah Reply:

    All told, would you recommend the Curl Wizard service? You could write a review for your blog.

    What kind of hair samples do they require?


  4. Looking snappy! Also I love that oyu got to sit under one of those giant shell air dryers :)


  5. Looks lovely! Mine is growing out from a really bad cut back in November. I’ve been growing it out as much as I can so there’s some raw material to work with next time I get it cut. I’ve been thinking about getting it cut sometime this week, you’re inspiring me to take more action on that :)


  6. Gorgeous! This cut is wonderful for your face, and I think the way you do your hair it will have more curl.


  7. Wow! She did an awesome job! Looking lovely as always R! That almost makes me want curly hair…


  8. You are all much too kind… which is fine with me! Thanks for the support in my frivolous search for a manageable haircut!


  9. Shirley says:

    I like the last photo best. That is how I cut curly hair also..but I’ve not had training other than trial and error. I have curly hair and have always got a christmas tree cut ANYTIME ANYONE CUTS I have not worn my hair curly in years I keep it short and flat iron it! Horrible I know! I’m growing it out now in hopes that I can teach someone to cut it right. I wish we could see more devacurl videos. I do have a lot of curly headed clients because I take time to cut it so they don’t end up feeling like a christmas tree is on their head. Hoping to learn more from the pro’s but they all cut differently. Its sad really.


    Rebekah Reply:

    I like the last photo best, too— but it’s from before the Deva cut.

    It’s not horrible that you straighten your hair; when you’re a professional stylist, your hair has to look great ALL the time. That’s a lot of pressure.

    Ack, don’t you hate Christmas tree hair? I haven’t seen any useful books about Deva cuts, but the new edition of their book, “Curly Girl”, has instructions on how to trim your own hair. Since you already understand hair, the instructions about general curly hair care might be enough to get you started. From what I’ve read on, it sounds like Deva training isn’t at all thorough.

    Thanks for commenting!


  10. Cut looks good and she did not wack off all your hair.


  11. Just curious, did you go back for another Deva cut? Did the cut “wear” well after a few weeks? My hair is similiar to yours and I’m on the fence about going to a Deva stylist.


    Rebekah Reply:

    Sorry to keep you hanging, AJ! I got married, moved to Germany, and eventually remembered I had a blog.

    I addressed your questions here: Reader Question: Deva Cuts


  12. The best advice I can give is to apply the product while your hair is dripping wet. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference this makes. I struggle with getting my curls to appear too (and have a straight underlayer), but I literally just wring my hair in the shower, apply my product (Curl Keeper), rake throughout my hair to make sure it’s saturated, flip my head upside down, scrunch, and that’s it. I let it air dry for about 20 mins then blow dry on low with a diffuser for about 10 mins and it leaves me with soft shiny curls!


  13. Found this while trying to let Google help me decide if I should try a Deva cut! Thanks so much for sharing your experience! My hair is also curly/wavy on the top, and strraaaaight underneath – stylists always tell me how weird it is, so it’s fun to come across my hair twin online. I knew I wasn’t alone!


    Rebekah Reply:

    Yaaaaaay, a hair twin! What did you decide about a Deva cut?


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