Curly hair comes in all different textures and shapes. Many times, curls even have their own character. One day, you wake up with the most beautiful curls, and other days you need to throw in the towel and wear a head wrap. It's true: curls have a mind of their own, and for that reason alone, respecting certain guidelines when cutting curly hair is extremely important.
I have lived with curly hair for all of my life, and I've spent endless hours and days creating curly hair techniques for the beauty industry. I've also helped professional hair companies understand how it all works, so it's exciting to now share all of this with you. Here, I’m going to break it down into five key components that will help you when cutting curly hair. Keep reading!
Don’t rush your consultation. As a matter of fact, at CurlPop Salon we don' thave “consultations." Instead, we start off our session with the "collaboration." In the “collaboration,” stylists can work together with their curly hair guest on a look and hair journey that is tailored just for them. This allows the stylist to truly get to know their guest before touching their hair. This way, it's easier to determine the best style of cutting for their specific hair time. First and foremost, don’t assume anything about their curls. Second, make it the most judgement-free zone. If your curly guest loves to wear their hair curly, but still loves an occasional blow out, celebrate them for having fun with their hair. And, if they aren’t sure about what they want, lead them to an answer by asking questions that will help you understand more about their relationship with their own hair. For example, “Can you tell me the last time you felt amazing about your hair and why it made you feel that way?“
Determine whether you will cut wet or dry. Many have the false impression that you can’t cut curly hair wet. Truth is, you CAN cut curly hair wet, you just have to know why and when. Here's a great guide to follow:
Ask the guest if they wear their hair curly everyday or just sometimes. If they wear it curly all the time, then cut it dry. If they blow dry once in a while, or 50 percent of the time, cut it dry and the go back in when it’s wet to even out the edges of the hair. This way, when they blow it out, the hair won’t look choppy or erratic. Just remember that when the hair is wet, the curls will stretch out longer than normal and you may cut too much length.
There are benefits to both styles of cutting and, like I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with either as long as you have chosen according to how the guest wears their hair.
Tools. Tools are an extension of your hands and your art. Having cutting tools that are specifically tailored to the texture and the curls you are cutting is extremely important. The feel of the texture when curly hair is dry requires a blade that can hold the hair in place and can focus on a clean, direct cut. If you cut curly hair both wet and dry, then a specific shear for that is needed in your tool box.
Cutting curly hair is like the art of carpentry. You are molding your client's hairstyle while taking out the unnecessary hair that prevents their curls from having a great shape. Training your eye to see a shape will be very important because it will prevent you from wanting to brush out the curls. Not saying there isn’t a place for a brushed-out cut, but you risk fracturing the fabric of the curls if the curls are not in a healthy state. Brushing is a great idea AFTER you've cleansed and conditioned the hair. At CurlPop Salon, we are believers and users of the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush created by none other then my friend and texture expert Felicia Leatherwood. Brush with the best and watch those curls flourish .
Don’t just learn one way or method of cutting curly hair. Learn all you can about how curly hair and the way texture moves, feels and acts. The more you learn, the more intentional you can be about cutting curly hair. And, lose the idea that curly hair has to be cut one specific way in order for it to look great. Curly hair is awesome and you are the person that can bring it to life. As always, stay CurlPop'n!
Aleisbel Vazquez (@curlpop) is the owner and founder of the social platform Curlpop and CurlPop Salon. Vazquez has popularized the infamous #CurlPopCut, and her love of natural hair and along with her business mindset has allowed her to travel the world. She's worked with celebrities on editorial sets, launched products and become the go-to curl care ambassador brand educator and trendsetter. Known as the "Curl Innovator," Aleisbel Vazquez embodies her brand tagline and culture, "Curlpop is a Vibe."