What is Ouidad? – Curly Hair Cutting Techniques

If you have curly hair or you are a researcher of all things curly, you have probably heard the word Ouidad, and wondered to yourself “what is Ouidad”? I know I had that thought at some point. So today I will answer that question and clarify a few things for you.

The Basics

To begin with, Ouidad (pronounced ‘wee’ like in Ouija) is actually not a what, but a who! (Yeah, I was confused at first too…one of those one-namers like Madonna haha.) Ouidad is a woman and a stylist considered to be the “queen of curl” and a pioneer in the art of curly hair. She has owned curly hair salons since 1984. Ouidad has also become the name for a trademarked hair cutting technique for curls, and Ouidad boasts that it is the only trademarked technique and (without question) has been around the longest.

The company has a great line of hair care products for curly hair, including cream shampoos, conditioners, mousse, etc. (Deep Treatment Curl Restoration, Water Works Clarifying Shampoo, Curl Recovery Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil, and Deep Treatment Intensive Conditioner are some of their best sellers.) They explain in simple terms the mystery behind why the same product doesn’t work for everyone. Ouidad teaches that your curls expose your hair’s cuticles, and because of that your hair loses moisture, so all curly hair is easily dried out. The tighter your curls are, the more dry, and the more they require external moisturizer (products like leave-ins). If you have loose curls, using something meant for the driest of curls would not be beneficial for your hair, and vice versa.

The Ouidad cutting technique can be simplified into 2 major terms or phrases used: “carving and slicing” and “rake and shake”.

“Carving and Slicing”

If you choose to go to a Ouidad salon, a stylist will first carefully take a look at your curls to determine texture and curl pattern. Once they have a good idea of your hair and how each curl lays, they can begin to cut your hair. The way in which they cut is referred to and trademarked as carving and slicing. This technique removes the ‘bulkiness’ and weight of curly hair and prevents your hair from looking ‘shelfy’. It removes the dreaded pyramid look and allows your curls to fit together nicely and have more life.

The “Rake and Shake”

The rake and shake technique is the Ouidad term for applying product and bringing out your natural curl patterns. After you have your hair cut, your stylist will apply a leave-in or similar product by quickly “raking” it through your hair with their fingers, alternating both hands. After the product is sufficiently raked through, the stylist will leave their fingers around the ends of your hair, grab hold, and gently shake. I once had a stylist (who moved across the country and I miss dearly) who was trained at a Ouidad salon and when she did the ‘rake and shake’ I was always amazed at how it made my curls pop out and feel lightweight and bouncy.

I loved my Ouidad haircuts and recommend it! Prepare to spend more than a typical haircut, but it’s totally worth it! Has anyone ever gotten a Ouidad cut or used one of their products? What did you think?

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Ouidad’s Carving & Slicing Technique

Ouidad Demonstrates Her Rake & Shake Styling Method

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