Ouidad vs. DevaCurl; Which Curly Hair Cut and Style Method is Best?

Ouidad and DevaCurl both specialize in styling naturally curly hair, but which method is best for you?
Ouidad and DevaCurl both specialize in styling naturally curly hair, but which method is best for you?

Historically, the major problem for those with naturally curly hair has been the ignorance about how to care for, cut and style it. As a result many women with naturally curly hair end up straightening their hair out of frustration and exasperation. Thankfully, two hair stylists, one named Lorraine Massey and another named Oiudad (she goes by her first name only), both who have naturally curly hair and were also frustrated, decided to do something about all of this curly hair ignorance. Each of these women went about inventing their own method of cutting and caring for curly hair. Both women began styling curly hair using their own unique method and as time went on began growing their own curly hair empires (Oiudad calls herself the “Queen of the Curl”.) Interestingly, while both curly hair philosophies hold some similarities, they also have some different and even opposing methods of caring for curls.

This article will explore both methods and help you understand what these cuts and curly hair philosophies are all about.

What is Ouidad?

Ouidad is a hair salon and product line that was founded by a commercially successful hair stylist who had her own head of curls, but was frustrated with the lack of understanding by stylists on how to style and care for her own locks. After developing her own curly hair styling method and against the advice of investors, she opened her own salon in NYC in 1984 and has grown the Ouidad name ever since. Ouidad has coined a few phrases when it comes to styling hair; one is “Rake & Shake” this refers to the method of helping to set the curl up just before it dries. The other phrase is “Carve & Slice” and this refers to the unique way in which the hair is cut.

I want everyone to see that curly hair is a gift to be celebrated and enjoyed, every day.

— Ouidad

The Ouidad Cut

The Ouidad cut follows some of the traditional hair styling methods but also deviates in an unorthodox way. First, the length and overall shape is decided upon and cut, and then cut deviates from tradition in using the unique “Carve & Slice” method. This method manages to cut layers into the hair which accentuate the curls when dry. "Carve & Slice" gives the curls room and space to breath, to see and be seen. This method is similar to layering, but when the hair is dry, these layers are not visible, and they blend in. Instead the customer is left with curls that are defined with less unneeded volume.

Ouidad’s take on washing hair:

Ouidad recommends shampooing only once or twice a week. Similar to the DevaCurl philosophy, Ouidad believes that curly hair is inherently dry and in need of lot of conditioner.

Ouidad Styling Steps:

Begin with wet hair (no towel drying!)

1. Apply a moisturizing conditioner and work product all the way through so that it is evenly distributed.

2. Followed by gel working the gel from the scalp outwardly. This also works to separate the curls giving them nice definition.

3. Then, sectioning the hair and applying more gel from the root outward.

4. Rake and shake sections of hair. This is done using the four fingers of the hand, beginning at the base of the hair, combing the fingers through until just before the end and then shaking the hair.

5. Air dry or diffuse (a diffuser is a hair dryer attachment) dry.

6. Apply a holding spray.


The DevaCurl cut is very unique and is an extreme deviation from the methods that most hair stylists are taught in beauty school. In referring to the DevaCurl cut, method founder Lorraine Massey believes that curly hair should be cut “where it lives.” Since there is no way to see how the hair will lay unless it is dry, DevaCurl cuts are preformed ‘dry’. Massey also emphasizes the importance of moisturizing the hair and staying away from sulfates which work to destroy the beauty of a healthy head of curls.

Curly hair is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.

— Lorraine Massey - DevaCurl

DevaCurl Cut

The DevaCurl stylist will cut your hair dry, since this is the only way to see the curl as it lies. Each ringlet will get trimmed individually, as needed. This method makes each individual customer end up with a one-of-a-kind haircut, which is an extreme deviation from traditional hair styling methods. This technique makes styling more of an art than a rote procedure for a stylist to follow. Because of this wide deviation from a traditional haircut, depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find a stylist who has learned the technique.

How does DevaCurl address volume?

Lorraine Massey, founder of DevaCurl, believes that once you begin properly moisturizing your hair and staying away from shampoos with sulfates the big volume and stereotypical frizz will be a thing of the past. Conversely, if you still want to keep some volume you can scrunch your hair and shake some volume using your fingers like a comb near the scalp.

DevaCurl Styling Steps

1. Cleanse using “No-poo” or other sulfate free shampoo.

2. Hydrate using conditioner.

3. With head upside down Define curls by scrunching with a frizz free cloth.

4. Use clips near scalp to create lift and or length by using clips to weigh down the hair.

5. Allow hair to dry naturally or use the DevaCurl hair dryer and diffuser(hair dryer attachement).

6. When dry, remove clips, then shake and scrunch.


Availability and Pricing Comparison

$125 and up
$35 and up
Over 2000 salons nationwide
Flagship Salons
NYC & Santa Monica, CA
NYC, White Plains, NY, Culver City, CA
Year Opened

Some Cut and Styling Differences between Ouidad and DevaCurl

Use towels to dry hair
flip hair over
Cut hair wet or dry?

Both Ouidad and DevaCurl want your curly locks to ‘shine’ and want you love the hair that you were born with. Both Ouidad and DevaCurl believe that shampooing can damage curly hair and needs to be minimized and ideally that those with curly hair seek out products without harmful chemicals. And while these similarities are strong there are far more differences that scream out and make those with curly hair, well, scratch their head in confusion. One is the use of towels, Ouidad does not recommend towel drying, maybe squeezing some excess water with the hands, while DevaCurl sells their own specially designed towels. Another opposing belief is the upside down flip; Ouidad says that this is a no-no, while DevaCurl founder Lorraine Massey has this as one her styling steps. The biggest difference between these two methods is the wet vs. dry cut, which create very different results.

Where did it all begin?

  • In 1984, Oiudad opened her first salon, in NYC.
  • In 1994, Lorraine Massey opened her first curly hair salon called “Devashan,” also in NYC.

In the end it boils down to the look. Ouidad is going for a more curl defining look, with a great deal of product used in assisting this method along. The cut is more defined as well, really allowing the curl to be seen. DevaCurl seems to want to allow the curl to be and live as it is; minimal cutting is required to do this. If you like the body, sans the frizz, you might be happier with a DevaCurl method, if you are looking for a more defined less voluminous look you might prefer the Ouidad method.

Both Ouidad and DevaCurl want you to embrace the gift of curls that you were born with.
Both Ouidad and DevaCurl want you to embrace the gift of curls that you were born with.

Another take away could be that you come up with your own method; it might be an amalgam of the two.

In the end, all of the curly hair girls of the world can and should unite in knowing that curly hair is a gorgeous gift from the heavens and celebrate in the idea that we can not only honor the crown of glory we were born with, but that we have options out there. Whether it is DevaCurl or Oiudad or maybe something else, there is a place in this world for all the girls with curls!

Ouidad and DevaCurl both recommend using clips to add lift near the root.

© 2015 Ariel Laur

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