Trends change as often as the weather, but there is a movement we’ve all noticed that is here to stay — the worldwide embrace of natural texture. From waves to curls and coils, clients everywhere are looking for new ways to cut, color, style and love their texture. When it comes to creating beautiful curly styles for clients, the cut is one of the most important aspects because it creates a silhouette for the entire look. Building on the foundations of cutting, stylists should be aware of a few fundamental techniques before cutting curly hair.
Wet Cutting Vs. Dry Cutting
There has been a long-lasting debate in the hairstylist community about whether it is better to cut curly hair wet or dry. In fact, each has their own benefits but your choice should be made on a case by case basis and sometimes, utilize both.
- Great for shaping curls and seeing how the hair lays naturally. This technique can also be helpful when it comes to removing weight from areas that tend to be denser. However, as we know, each time curls dry they take a slightly different shape, so remove weight with caution.
- Cutting hair wet is more precise and can give an even, balanced shape to create a foundation. From here you have then sculpt shapes in to the dry hair. However, the main fear associated with wet cutting is removing excessive length, so remember to be conservative and cut half of what you think you should since curly hair can shrink up to 80% when it dries (depending on curl pattern). Lastly, with either option, minimal tension is key to get a straight finished line.
It’s All About The Finish
The final finish is what can really seal the deal. When cutting and styling curly hair, you often run into two common pitfalls — product buildup and lack of moisture. To ensure creating the best possible finish for your client, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your client’s hair and scalp with a gentle detoxing shampoo. If cutting hair wet, we suggest applying a light layer of deep conditioner to the hair and rinsing it before you dry. This not only protects the curl pattern during detangling and combing but it also gives you a change to reset the curl pattern with a rinse before styling.
Lastly, it’s all about the products! From cocktailing to layering, curly hair requires a little more finesse than other styles. Consider walking your client through your product application — how much, what, and why — so they walk away with a few new tips and a great appreciation for your services. When drying, choose the method that is closest to your clients’ at-home routine so they are able to recreate the look.
Home Care Habits
One of the best things any stylist can do is to send clients home with healthy home care habits. More than any other texture, small shifts in routine for wavy, curly and coily textures can change the overall appearance of the shape. This is why any consultation for curly cutting should begin by asking your client what their everyday routine looks like. Ask about how often they wash their hair, what products they use, and if they are willing to make any changes to their routine? These are important to know because if a client tends to blow out her curls and reshape with an iron your approach may be totally different than if a client air-dries or diffuses.