Creating Beautiful Curls: A Guide to Cutting Curly Hair



Many people with curly hair have at times wished that it was straighter. It isn’t unusual for someone with curls to try straighteners, or different products to make their hair just wavy or completely straight. This may be for fashion reasons, or because they don’t like the appearance of their hair. But, when curly hair is cut properly, it can be stunning.

Studies differ, but one small study carried out on haircuts and treatments showed that females spend $257 a year in salons on average. This includes coloring and straightening as well as the actual haircut. Not every visit to a salon ends the way the customer envisaged, and occasionally a styling disaster occurs.

Cutting curly hair correctly means avoiding a few common mistakes. It is easy to think that all hair types are cut the same, but curly hair might need some special care. Here is a short guide that could help you to create beautiful curls.

Does curly hair need special treatment?

Just how curly your hair is will come down to genetics which plays a part in determining the shape of your follicles. Hair follicles are the source of anyone’s curls, and curly hair is relatively rare. Perhaps just over 1/10th of the population has curly hair, so you can consider yourself blessed if you’re one of these people.

However, there are a few negatives to having curls, and that includes the hair being harder to care for. Curly hair tends to be drier because it has less moisture than straight hair. Yet, there are plenty of products on the market designed for caring for curls.

People spend billions on hair products each year. This includes anti-gray hair treatment to restore natural color and serums for hydration. How you cut your hair will also affect your curls.

How do you cut curly hair for the best results?

While you will more likely get the best finish by going to a professional hair salon, a high percentage of individuals are choosing to cut their own home. Research showed that 45% of males cut their own hair, and over 20% of women are choosing to do the same.

If this is something you do, then you may wish to read the following advice on cutting those curls.

Should the hair be wet or dry?

Always cut curly hair when it is fully dry. It is easier to cut when dry as it will be in its natural state at this point. Natural is the point here. Don’t cut curly hair when it has any product in it, and don’t use straighteners or curlers either.

If your hair isn’t in its natural state, it will be harder to tell how the finished result will look once you wash out the product, or the straightening wears off and the curls return.

Be wary of your shampoo

If you have curly hair then you already know the dangers of frizz. Washing your curls too often can dry them out and create frizziness. The global hair shampoo market was worth over $29.7 billion in 2020. Yet, you don’t need to contribute too much to it if you have curly hair.

Over time you will discover the best washing schedule for your hair, but as a rough guideline, once a week is usually enough. But, don’t wash your hair before you are getting it cut. Plan to wash your hair perhaps 3 days before your haircut happens, as this will help it be at its most natural. Try to avoid shampoos with sulfates too as these will make your hair drier.

Can you use layers with curly hair?

When done correctly, layers are vital for giving definition to curly hair. They help to add movement and are essential for shaping the hair.

Is it best to use scissors or a razor for curly hair?

There are several dos and don’ts for those with curls, and this includes using too much product or combing when the hair is wet. The tools used for cutting curly hair will also make a difference.

Anyone living with long hair understands the problems with split ends and frizziness. Using a razor on curly hair will shred the ends and result in frizz. Scissors are best for curly hair.

How much texturizing is needed?

While on the subject of shredded ends, over-texturizing can be a problem with curly hair. While layers add much-needed movement and texture, too many short layers will not look good. Over-texturizing will result in the ends being shredded when actually they need weight to avoid frizz.

If too much texturizing is done, you may be left with a haircut you regret. In the worst case you may have to resort to finding a quality wig to cover up while it grows out. Hopefully, this will be avoided though.

How long should curly hair be?

How long you grow your hair is a personal choice, but stylists often say that curly hair looks best when shoulder length or perhaps even longer. The problem here is that curly hair takes longer to grow than straight hair.

Instead of growing straight down, this type of hair grows in curls. So, visually it appears to be shorter than it is unless straightened. Many people resort to hair extensions for length, but patience will be rewarded if you look after your curls.


There are plenty of resources for curly hair on the net. And if you are one of the growing numbers of people cutting their own hair, then there are tutorial videos on YouTube to help. This includes specific videos aimed at those who have curly hair.

But, just following some of the advice above will help you take care of your curls when cutting. Use layers but don’t over-texturize, and never cut curly hair when less than completely dry.