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Does Cutting Curly Hair Make It Curlier?

Posted on 17 August 2019

Can haircuts really affect the way that your hair curls? Does a trim really make a difference? Can cutting your curls make them even curlier or (gasp!) make them less curly? 😱

In this blog, we tackle these common questions, getting to the bottom of what happens when you cut your curls.


Curly Hair Types

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cutting curly hair. What happens when you cut curly hair will depend on your hair type. The texture, curl pattern, thickness and density will all factor into your final results. However, whether your hair is wavy, curly, kinky-coily (or some crazy combination of two or all three!) will play the biggest role in how your hair should be cut. Not sure which category your hair is? See which description best fits your curls.

WAVY

This hair type has super flexible and bendable strands with an S-shape pattern, either loose or defined.


CURLY

Curly hair can range from loose and bouncy ringlets to tight and springy spirals.


WAVY

This hair type has super flexible and bendable strands with an S-shape pattern, either loose or defined.


KINKY-COILY

These strands form extremely small coils or zig-zags that are packed very tightly together, making them prone to shrinkage.


CURLY

Curly hair can range from loose and bouncy ringlets to tight and springy spirals.


KINKY-COILY

These strands form extremely small coils or zig-zags that are packed very tightly together, making them prone to shrinkage.

What Happens If You Cut Curly Hair?

You might have heard from other curly girls that their hair became even curlier right after cutting it. While the reality is that a haircut is not going to change the way your hair grows out of your head, there are quite a few ways a haircut can enhance the way your hair curls.

Heavy Hair

When you cut your hair, your curls become lighter and springier, which contributes to a curlier appearance – it’s basic curly-girl physics. As it grows in length, the weight of your hair starts to pull down and stretch out your curls, making them look looser. The less weight you have on your ends, the springier your curls will look.

Dead Ends

When you cut or trim your curly hair, you’re cutting away damaged ends. Your ends are the oldest part of your hair, and they’ve probably been through a lot. Split, dry and damaged ends can affect your curl formation and make it harder to last until wash day. Cutting off damaged curls will make your hair instantly spring up and appear bouncier, and it should be much easier to style and maintain.

Lengthening

Are you cutting your curls hoping to skyrocket their growth? Despite another common misconception, cutting your curls will not make your hair grow faster or slower. Sometimes we tend to mix up growth with retention. Realistically, trimming can only help you maintain healthy hair. Unattended to, damaged ends will break off on their own at the weakest points in the hair shaft, which can steal inches off of your curls.

Can Curly Hair Go Straight If You Cut It?

While getting a cut can dramatically change the look and feel of your curls. But don’t worry, cutting curly hair won’t make it straight. If you ever notice that your curls appear looser right after your cut, it may be because of the way it was cut. This is typically experienced by those with looser curl patterns where removing length results in the removal of ringlets, making your curls appear looser. Where on your strands the stylist snips can also make a difference. Cutting a curl in the middle of its loop will make it look looser and less bouncy.

Tips for Cutting Curly Hair

Know what you want:

Unless you're trying to shake things up, it’s best to have a clear idea of exactly what you want and what you don’t want done to your hair. Whether that is retaining most of your length, removing weight or attaining more volume, it’s important to communicate these ideas with your stylist. But, do try to stay open-minded to their suggestions and ideas...it is their craft after all!

Find a salon that specializes in curly hair:

You want to put your precious curls in the hands of someone you can trust. Not sure where to begin? Phone a friend! Referrals are a great way to ensure you’ll be happy with your results.

If your #curlfriends don’t have any recommendations, try doing a quick Google search of your area, and check out their customer reviews.

Great stylists love using their social media pages to get their names out there. By following them on social media, you might see photos their customers have tagged them in and be able to gauge if they’re experienced in working with your hair type.

Arrive styled:

Most curl stylists prefer to cut curly hair dry. Cutting your hair while it’s dry and in its natural state, the way you usually style it, will leave less room for surprises as to what it will look like once it's dry.

Learn the lingo:

In addition to finding a salon that specializes in curly hair, try to understand more about different styles and various cutting techniques. This way you will know which words you should use to best communicate to your stylist what you want.

Here a few terms & techniques to get you started:

Dry Cutting: Hair is cut while dry, in its naturally curly state. The stylist will cut the hair curl by curl paying close attention to your curl pattern on how your hair falls.

Dusting: This method is meant to help rid you of damaged ends while also retaining length. Less than a 1/4 inch of hair is taken of the length of the hair, targeting frayed, thinning and damaged ends.

Texturizing: Instead of cutting straight across the hair, the stylist will angle the shears down creating a more tapered look on the ends. Some curlies prefer this technique because they feel like it is a much more natural look.

Invisible Layers: Great for removing weight and bulk in extra thick hair, this technique typically involves snipping in the middle of the shaft in small sections of hair hidden in between or beneath other layers. Helps if you're looking to grow out your hair but still maintain volume and bounce.

Blunt Cutting: If you're not a fan of texturing, blunt cuts are the way to go! Instead of tapering the ends your stylist will cut straight across the hair. This technique can help enhance definition and retain length since the hairs are most protected when your strands are closer in length.

The Long and Short of It

At the end of the day, cutting your curly hair isn’t like waving a magic wand and suddenly having miraculously different curls. Cutting curly hair will not make it curlier, but could help enhance your natural curl pattern. And while it’s true that cutting your curls can make them appear bouncier and springier, your final results will still come down to your unique curl type and how your hair is cut. Building a strong relationship with a stylist you trust who knows and understands your hair will help you achieve your curly hair goals over time.


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7 comments

  • Kathryn Shaver: September 12, 2019

    Y’all are awesome!?.. thanks!

  • Jennifer: September 11, 2019

    Thanks for such helpful information! Hair cuts are a stressful undertaking for me. I haven’t been able to find a hair stylist in my area who specializes in curly hair. My last hair cut with a stylist was so awful, it’s taken me months to get rid of the awful triangle shape I ended up with. I’ve now taken to trimming my ends myself, I know… but I’m desperate. I’ve just recently found out about a curly hair stylist who’s about an 1.5 hour drive from me. I was still worried about how to communicate what I wanted to her, but reading this has been immensely helpful! Thank you!

  • Jennifer: September 12, 2019

    Thanks for such helpful information! Hair cuts are a stressful undertaking for me. I haven’t been able to find a hair stylist in my area who specializes in curly hair. My last hair cut with a stylist was so awful, it’s taken me months to get rid of the awful triangle shape I ended up with. I’ve now taken to trimming my ends myself, I know… but I’m desperate. I’ve just recently found out about a curly hair stylist who’s about an 1.5 hour drive from me. I was still worried about how to communicate what I wanted to her, but reading this has been immensely helpful! Thank you!

  • Jessica: September 11, 2019

    I have found twist cutting is another technique that creates invisible layers and has worked well with my curly/wavy hair and keeping it natural looking.

  • Donita: September 11, 2019

    Thanks for the hair cutting “lingo”. It’s really hard to convey exactly how I want my hair cut. My hair is long but taking off weight helps my curls stay bouncy and natural without using a lot of product to make it curl…

  • Deborah Stevens: August 07, 2019

    This was very helpful thank you

  • rebecca kato: August 07, 2019

    A big thank you for all the information you post on how to handle curly hair. I believe knowledge is one of the best tools you can have no matter what you are dealing with. I am still trying to nail down the curly look after spending 40 plus years fighting it so it’s going to take awhile. Thanks again and please keep the info coming!

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