If you have curly hair, then you need to know about the Curl Dr., Shai Ameli, owner of Capella Salon and massive celebrity stylist who is a hidden gem in Studio City, CA. I say hidden because he Shai is low key, down to earth, and his salon is filled with everyday people, and yet celebrities flock to him. Those who discover him will fly cross country or from out of the country just to get an appointment with him. On top of that, he is booking a minimum of six months out which prices are in the upper range of $300 and a deposit is required.
Why is there such a demand on Shai? Because he is The Curl Doctor! Shai sculpts hair using the Bonsai technique, that he would not let us film. The Bonsai; yes, the tree, has a unique shape and is to be pruned on a regular basis to keep its unique shape. This is the same concept behind Shai’s magic touch. He takes each strand of curl and does a structural-pruning of your curly mane! Some of us curly-haired chicks have lots of curls and this process is very time consuming – but 100% worth it!
Celebrities with curly locks that Shai has worked on are too long to list, but here are, what I think, are his top five that I can list: Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, Christina Milian, Seraya McNeill, and Nathalie Emmanuel. There are some that we can’t speak of because Shai closes the salon and signs an NDA.
I have been fortunate enough to be seeing Shai for over 6 years now. Right when he was booming to the top and building his following on Instagram. It’s only been recently that we all have fully embraced and loved our naturally curly hair, but it can be a lot to manage at times. I have been through every scenario trying to get the look I want. Chemical straightening, texturizing, and Brazilian hair treatments. Not to mention the cost I spend on hair conditioner and styling products. I just have FRIZZ and somedays it is barely there and other days I can look like a cotton ball!!
When you go into see Shai, he wants your hair to look like you would style it at home. For me this is the extra effort going out look with full volume. This way he can see how the hair lays and create that perfect shape – strand by strand. There has been a few times when Shai has had to “repair” my chemical mistakes. He still loves me and understands. I keep coming back to him for help.
Shai has taught me how to take care of my hair for when I am not in his chair. This includes sleeping on a satin pillow to keep my hair form drying out, which products I can leave in, frequency of washes, and taking care of my hair daily so I don’t have to wet and condition it daily. Obviously, the weather has smooch to do with how your curls react. Shai has this unique styling process that he swears by after cutting your hair strand by strand. Rule number 1. Never comb or brush your hair when conditioning and styling. Shai’s team adds a generous amount of conditioner in the hair and slowly uses their fingers to separate and detangle your locks. You have to be patient! By doing this you are keeping your curl pattern together to get the luscious healthy curly hair style. This process also includes a light rinse, and may need an extra application of conditioning product if your hair is like mine!!
Then the drying and styling process. Gently get the water out of the ends of your hair. Just like you were scrunching your ends, but you have a towel in your hand. Do not rub the towel aggressively though your hair. This does not work for our type. You may need to apply a little extra product. Sometimes I add a little more conditioner, or maybe a styling product, but I stopped using gel a long time ago!! At the salon Shai uses a circle dryer that spins around your head like a hole hoop. This evenly distributes air and heat around your crown without damaging your hair. Heat damages hair. At home I use diffuser and an Ionic hair dryer. Shai also uses the state of the art Dyson hair dryer that I haven’t invested in yet.
Be patient, again, the drying process takes a long time. Shai wants all the hair dry from the root up. When I am at home I do this in stages. I start the drying and get the general look with the curls I want, then I maybe get dressed, then I dry a little more, then I may put on my makeup or take a phone call. Getting the hair completely dry when you have a massive mane of curls takes time! I like big hair. Shai has a super pro styling tip for this, which is THE CURL DOCTOR HAIR PICK. Perfect for lifting my roots and giving me the wow hair that after so many years I have finally embraced. Learning to own my own style and radiate beauty from the inside out.
Written by: Melissa Meister
Founder and Creator of The Style Station