When it comes to cutting curly hair, there’s the right way—and then there’s the wrong way. Curly hair requires special care, and the wrong cut can end up making you look like you’re wearing a frizzy, triangular wig. Whatever your style—long or short—you can get a rockin’ haircut that accentuates your curls by following a few basic curly haircut rules.
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How to Get the Perfect Curly Haircut at the Salon
The best way to ensure you get the look you want is to have a professional cut your curly hair. Cutting hair is an art, and this is especially true for curly hair. Here’s how to get the best haircut for your curly hair at the salon.
1. Find the Right Stylist.
Look for a stylist who specializes in cutting curly hair or has plenty of experience with curly hair. Many stylists have Instagram pages showcasing their work, so scour the interwebs for a stylist whose work speaks to you. Don’t be afraid to ask potential candidates about their cutting techniques and curly hair recommendations.
2. Show Your Stylist Pictures of What You Like.
The best way to ensure you’re happy with your haircut at the end of your appointment is to research and show your stylist pictures of your ideal cut and style. Search Pinterest, Instagram trends, and celebrity photos to find styles you like. In general, try to stick to examples that fit your curl type. Loose, beachy waves may not be a practical everyday look for someone with tight corkscrew curls, and vice versa.
Remember the amount of work you’re willing to put into your daily style. Edgier looks will require a bit more effort and maintenance, while natural, more carefree styles will be easier to fix and maintain daily.
3. Go for a Layered Look To Avoid Too Much Poof.
Volume is fabulous, but poofy, pyramid-shaped hair isn’t very flattering. Layers can help give your curls a better shape without losing volume.
4. Ask Your Stylist To Cut Your Hair While It's Dry or Just Barely Damp.
Cutting your curls while they’re dry or damp and still in their curly shape can help you and your stylist better see the final result. This will also help you avoid getting a shorter cut than you expected. Curly hair tends to be longer when wet, shrinking a few inches as it dries.
How to Cut Curly Hair at Home
Though the best way to cut curly hair is always by a professional stylist at a salon, desperate times call for desperate measures (we’re looking at you, 2020!). Here’s how to give yourself or a curly-haired friend a much-needed trim without disastrous results.
1. Wash and Dry Your Hair Before Attempting To Cut Your Curls.
A nourishing shampoo and plenty of conditioner will help moisturize and prep your curls for the perfect cut. Detangle your strands carefully using a liberal amount of leave-in conditioner, then let your hair air-dry completely before you start cutting.
2. Split Your Hair Into Small Sections To Make Cutting More Manageable.
Bring forward small sections of hair and trim just a tiny bit at a time.
3. Trim Slowly and Carefully With Salon-Quality Scissors.
Invest in a good pair of salon-quality scissors, which are very sharp and won’t snag or damage your hair as you cut. Take your time and trim about a quarter to a half-inch of length off small sections of your curls.
4. Don’t Cut Straight Across.
Cutting your curls horizontally can result in a noticeably uneven cut. Hold the scissors vertically, and snip a little at a time, adding texture while you trim.
5. Get Help.
Trimming your hair can be daunting, especially when you get around to the back of your head. Ask a friend to help you trim this area to ensure you get an even cut. If no one is around to help, try setting up two mirrors facing each other so you can get a good view of the back of your head.