Home Fashion + Beauty This Hoboken ‘Hair Fairy’ Specializes in Curly Hair

This Hoboken ‘Hair Fairy’ Specializes in Curly Hair

by Lauren Alberti
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Embracing your natural hair isn’t always as easy as it seems, especially when you have naturally curly, coily, or wavy hair. These hair types come with a bit of a learning curve, as well as a lot of product trial and error — and it can be daunting learning how to care for curly hair. In recent decades, there has even been a Natural Hair Movement, spearheaded by Black women, who have historically faced prejudice for their natural coils. The movement encourages those with curly hair to wear it in its natural form — instead of straightening it or covering it up — as a way of expressing self-acceptance. Still, many people struggle to embrace their hair’s natural curl patterns, especially if it has a tendency to frizz, or may not know how to get started. Luckily, Hoboken has Katey McClintock — a.k.a. The Hoboken Hair Fairy — conveniently stationed at Up & Out Beauty Salon, located at 1106 Washington Street. Katey is a curly hair & balayage specialist, certified in deva curl, rezo cut, and rezo lites. The Hoboken Girl sat down with Katey to hear about her journey and learn more about curly hair care. Read on to see the magic The Hoboken Hair Fairy, Katey McClintock, creates.

Hoboken Hair Fairy

(Photo Credits: @Hobokenhairfairy)

Hoboken Girl: What inspired you to get into the beauty industry?

Katey McClintock: I’ve always loved the beauty industry. I think we have the rare ability to change how a person is feeling on the inside by changing how they look on the outside. The two are interconnected, especially with curly hair.  It’s a special sense of self acceptance & confidence that comes when you see the full potential of your natural hair. 

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HG: How long have you been in the industry? What has your career journey been?

KM: I have been in the industry since 2016. I started with assisting first near my hometown and then in New York City, before we moved to Hoboken. I started my career with a heavy focus on color. It wasn’t until after I came to Up & Out in 2019 that I really started getting into curly hair. While hair color & balayage were my first loves, curly hair now has my heart. 

HG: Tell us about your work with curly hair. What do you do differently when working with curly hair vs straight hair?

KM: I specialize in curly hair color, cutting, and styling. The biggest difference when working with curly hair is the education and client-stylist relationship. Typically, a new guest is just starting to wear their hair natural and really isn’t sure where to begin. My job is to make them feel comfortable and show them how to recreate at home what I have done in the salon. I also educate them on why I’m doing what I’m doing — because let’s be honest, if they can’t replicate it, then what’s the point? Chances are, they are just going to go back to blowing it out or straightening it again, which could lead to more damage, which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place. 

Hoboken Hair Sample One

(Photo Credits: @Hobokenhairfairy)

HG: What is a curly cut, and why should you get one?

KM: A curly cut is a haircut done on dry hair to accentuate the client’s curl pattern and make it easier for them to wear it curly at home. Typically, a curly cut is only recommended for someone who is wearing their hair curly pretty much all of the time – roughly 80-90% of the year. A dry cut is 1000% necessary because anyone who has curly hair knows that the shrinkage is real and curly and wavy hair is longer when the curl is stretched out and weighed down by water. Cutting it dry lets me see exactly what is going on and how much spring factor I need to take into account when determining the length & layering pattern. 

HG: How should a client prepare for a curly cut?

KM: For any curly service, I recommend the client comes in with their hair in its natural state, completely dry and detangled — no ponytails or buns. Product is okay as long as I can get my fingers through it, and you have to have washed it no longer than 3 days ago. The purpose of this is so I can see how your hair is behaving naturally so I can give you the best look to fit your face shape, curl pattern, and lifestyle. I also love to see how the client is styling it themselves at home so I do love pictures after the service, which allow me to see if any further adjustments are necessary because curly hair can behave differently based on day-to-day life and styling. 

Hoboken Hair Sample Two

(Photo Credits: @Hobokenhairfairy)

HG: Why is hair care so important?

KM: Hair and scalp care is of the utmost importance because that is where everything begins. If you aren’t cleansing properly or are using products with harsh ingredients that don’t absorb into the hair, you will be left with build up & your hair and curls will never live up to their full potential.  

HG: What is something about your work that might surprise people?

KM: Something surprising about my work is that they don’t teach you any curly hair cutting or styling techniques in cosmetology school, so it’s really up to the stylist to get educated if curly hair is something they want to pursue. That’s why finding the right curly hair specialist is so important. The most they did was two days of how to make naturally curly hair straight with pressing, relaxing, and keratins. This is definitely something I would like to see change in the near future. 

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HG: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

KM: One of the highlights of my career was learning about tighter curl patterns and how to properly cut and style someone that has a coily/kinky texture. It was important for me to learn this because I feel like in order to be called a curly hair specialist, that should include ALL textures and types of curls. I want everyone who sits in my chair to feel confident regardless of [whether] they look different than I do. At the end of the day, someone who has a tighter texture shouldn’t feel ostracized or feel turned down from a salon just because of their hair texture.

Hoboken Hair Sample Three

(Photo Credits: @Hobokenhairfairy)

HG: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into cosmetology?

KM: Advice I have for someone wanting to get into this field, specifically working with curly hair, would be to take all of the classes you can find and take models. Models are a great way to practice your skills and build your confidence.

Currently, Katey is very excited to be having her first baby girl and will be on maternity leave until the fall. When she returns, she will be focusing solely on curly hair, while still working with her existing clients.

You can follow Katey on Instagram or book an appointment through Up & Out Salon.

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