How to Cut Curly Hair
Dos and Don’ts of Trimming and Shaping Your Curls
by. Adrienne Christina Miles
Crying after coming home from a salon is not a rare occurrence for someone with curly hair, especially after getting a trim or cut. Not every hair stylist knows how to cut curly hair, and not every person with curly hair knows how to articulate what they want – or knows when the stylist is doing something that won’t work for their hair.
Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl: The Handbook is full of excellent advice for curly hair. She has a whole section dedicated to cutting curly hair, including advice for experts about how to cut curly hair. Cutting curly hair is much different from cutting straight hair because of the unique nature of curly hair. The “spring factor” (curly hair springs like a coil) makes curly hair much different wet than dry, which can create problems when cutting the hair. Curly hair appears longer when wet and shorter when dry and very different when blow-dried straight.
Below are some basic things to keep in mind, according to Curly Girl, when getting you curls cut or trimmed.
Dos and Don’t for Curly Cuts:
* DO cut the hair when it is dry. We all know curly hair is much different when it’s wet versus when it is dry. It appears longer, finer, and more “together.” Curly hair comes to life (and becomes shorter) when it’s dry, so working with how it is once it dries is key when dealing with curly hair. Curly hair isn’t like straight hair, which is pretty much the same when it dries.
* DO avoid blunt cuts, which ignore the spring factor and stretch the hair to an unnatural state so it’s too short when it dries.In Curly Girl, Massey gives exact instruction as to exactly where to cut each curl (at the beginning of each C). Cutting a blunt, uniform cut throughout the hair is just impractical.
* DO cut just before the crest of each curl. Don’t cut midway through the curl, giving the hair a very frizzy, uneven look.
* DO the top front of the hair last, and DON’T take too much off here because the curls are shortest and more fragile there.
* DON’T overly layer the hair. Overly layering hair makes it appear much bigger, while one length all around appears to weigh down the hair and take away definition.
* DON’T thin out fine curly hair. The gravity/weight of a strong curl is what gives hair definition.
* DON’T use a razor to cut curly hair. It isn’t as sharp as scissors and can create badly frayed ends.