The Best Approach to Cutting Curls


I love cutting curls because not one head of curls is alike—and because of that, there shouldn't be one approach to cutting them.

Having all of your tools and knowledge set up to be used before any curly client is key. My curly set up is as follows:

  1. A pic (to detangle)
  2. Curly cutting curved shears
  3. 4-inch dry cutting shears
  4. Straight blade razor with extra new blades on standby
  5. Wet 5-inch cutting shears
  6. Metal comb
  7. Extra towels and a fine mist spray bottle
  8. Curl cream, texturizing spray and a hard-fingered diffuser, as well as a soft metal mesh diffuser attachment.

This may sound like a lot of tools for the job, but rarely are they all used in one cut. They're on hand to treat each curl correctly and individually.

Many curly clients want different versions of a curly shag—some more rock 'n' roll, leaning on the mullet side, and others a more soft and romantic shag. Clients come in with textures from tight curls mixed with loose, even almost straight, pieces hanging underneath, to big soft curls and all the textures and densities in between.

I never predetermine how I will be cutting them, even if I’ve cut that head before. Clients' hair and desires change, and so should my approach.

My clients often thank me for how much time I take and how personal I treat each of their cuts. Tip: Book extra time for curls, especially when drying and styling. Diffusing just takes longer than a blowout.

I send the same briefing to all my clients before their appointments: “Come with clean, dry, untangled hair with minimal to no product so I can meet and work with your hair in its natural state.” I tell them they may have there hair cut completely dry, or a combo of dry and wet depending on what will achieve the best results for their hair and lifestyle.

More often than not, whether I’m teaching a class onstage or I'm working behind the chair, I will start by dry cutting after a long consultation and image references. Then I will wet and straight blade razor the bangs, fringe and perimeter. I will choose which tools to use—my Curly Girl Collective shears or my short dry cutting ones, depending on the type of shape we are trying to achieve. I will mix or choose a technique of cutting each curl one by one with a more blunt cut on the ends or  a technique that looks like backcombing each curl with my shear (without shredding it) to open up the curl and allow it to connect and fall in with the others.

This is a foolproof way to guarantee you are cutting curls for each client individually, and will be sure to leave you with happy guests.

For more from Jikaiah Stevens, check out her classes at the IBS Las Vegas Show


Create the Mini Mullet/Pixie Shag


Cut the Perfect Shag to Curtain Bangs

Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

June 25 - 27, 2022