The well-known Pyramid Head has always haunted many curlies: that triangular shape with a flat crown area widening out to a wide bushy shape at the ends (think Hermione Granger circa 2001).
What Causes Pyramid Head?
The pyramid shape is usually caused when “the hair is one length with no angles around the face, so the curls stack on top of each other, creating a pyramid,” says Christo, global artistic director of New York’s Christo Fifth Avenue salon. The weight of the textured hair causes the roots to sit flat to your head and the bottom is bulked out as it’s all one length. You’ll be pleased to know however, that this triangular outcome can be avoided.
How to Avoid Pyramid Hair
1. Get layers!
A lot of curlies are scared of layers because of snip-happy hairdressers in their past, but layers can be the best thing for lifting your curls. Christo recommends adding “long, diagonal layers that frame the face, so the curls sit into each other”.
According to Shari Harbinger of the Devachan salon, “layering the hair on the surface will release some of the weight of the hair, giving you more volume on the crown area.”
2. Try a dry cut
Harbinger says that “cutting the hair dry -- with minimal or no tension -- and a layering and sculpting of the curls will give you the volume you want on the surface of the hair and more length on the bottom, resulting in a more north-south effect instead of east-west.”
3. The length of layers is important
When you're next consulting with your stylist, ask them to incorporate the shortest layers your hair can cope with. The goal is to decrease bulk in the middle and ends of the hair. Shorter layers as well as chipping into your curls will allow curls to spring up, reducing the pyramid effect.
4. Avoid thinning shears
Additionally, request that your stylist does not use thinning shears on your curls. Thinning shears will remove bulk but they also compromise the structure of your curls.
5. Talk to your stylist
What’s really important is to talk to your stylist. Different people need different layers. You don’t want too many layers cut in if your hair is lower density for example because you will be left with thin, straggly ends.
How to Combat Pyramid Hair While Styling
Beyond the salon there are a few things you can try to avoid the triangular shape.
1. Root Clipping
Firstly, try root clipping! Harbinger recommends using clips at the roots to create lift, “keeping the hair from weighing down on itself.” When wet, take a curly family in between your fingers and place the clip as close to the root as possible. Apply all over the crown area and leave until 90% dry. When you remove clips, do so carefully so as not to disturb the curl.
2. Diffuse Upside Down
Secondly, diffuse hair upside down. This will lift the roots away from the scalp, helping to avoid a flat crown.
At the end of the day, the pyramid shape can look amazing, adding volume and glamour to your curls. It’s all about finding out what works for you!
This article was originally published in 2008 and has been rewritten for clarity.