Silk press season is upon us, but there’s never been a better time to nurture your natural curls. Curly cuts have been trending on TikTok (with 396.4 million views on the #curlycut hashtag) and it’s clear that healthy curls are in this autumn. Unlike a standard haircut done on straightened or blown-out hair, a curly cut is done on unmanipulated natural hair. This technique can “improve the natural beauty of curls by creating balance, enhancing volume, and adding definition while diminishing frizz,” says Dazy Lyn, hairstylist and owner of Dazy Lyn Studio.
Getting your hair cut in its natural state keeps you from having to deal with shrinkage. (You know, when curls that were previously in a stretched-out state recoil into a tighter pattern, leaving them looking shorter than expected.) That leaves less room for unhappy surprises after you leave the salon.
Ahead, experts break down everything you need to know before getting a curly cut, including what to expect during an appointment, the different types (it’s all semantics, by the way), and how to maintain your curls afterward.
Meet the experts:
Dazy Lyn is a curly hairstylist and owner of Dazy Lyn Studio in Los Angeles, California.
Suleky Roman is a hairstylist at the Ouidad New York City flagship salon.
In this story:
What exactly is a curly cut?
The term “curly cut” isn’t describing one specific type of style — like a pixie, shag, or bob — but rather the general technique used. Curly cuts are meant to add shape and volume to the hair by cutting according to your natural curl pattern. Hairstylists might opt to blow out straighter hair textures prior to cutting for a more even chop, but this isn't usually the best method for curly or coily hair. Why? It goes back to shrinkage, explains Michaella Blisset-Williams, hairstylist and owner of [Salon] 718. “If I take an inch off natural hair that’s straightened, it could look like two and a half inches were cut when the hair is curly,” she says.
This is where a curly cut comes in. According to most of the hairstylists we interviewed, curly cuts are done on the client’s natural texture, typically when hair is dry. “[Dry hair] allows the stylist to properly assess the natural pattern and create a more suitable shape for each individual,” Lyn says.
But it’s important to note that technique differs from salon to salon for curly cuts. Ouidad salon, for example, prefers to cut your hair while it’s wet because their trademarked “carve and slice technique” requires it to have a bit of slip. (More on that later.)
Who should get a curly cut?
Curly cuts are great for all curl types. They’re especially beneficial for anyone looking to add shape and volume to your hair. If your stands are damaged, however, the pros advise against getting a curly cut as a fix and recommend a traditional trim (a cut that starts with wet or blown-out hair) so your stylist can more clearly see which pieces need to be chopped.
Types of Curly Cuts
If you’ve ever heard your friends mention the “type” of curly cut they got, they’re likely referring to the chop they got at a specific salon that has developed their own technique for cutting curls. The most popular cuts include the Rezo, the DevaCut, and the Ouidad Carve and Slice — all of which are developed by their respective salon. They all prioritize creating volume over definition, but have their nuances: The Rezo also strives to maintain length and often adds layers. The DevaCut has the added goal of creating a shape that frames the face.
The Ouidad is the most different of the three. The “carve and slice” technique the salon’s hairstylists use involves “slicing your hair to remove weight and encourage curl formation,” explains Stevie Kennedy a hairstylist who is certified in Ouidad’s haircutting techniques. He adds that the cut carves out layers “to eliminate density and bulk.”
The salon’s stylists also cut the hair while wet. Ouidad’s rationale for starting with wet hair is that it makes their extra-sharp shears glide “without snagging or disrupting the curl pattern,” says Roman.
This approach works best for curl types that don’t experience too much shrinkage, but for more coily hair (like type three and four curls), cutting the hair wet can result in a shorter-looking style when the hair dries.
Blisset-Williams explains that, whether your stylist is cutting on dry or wet hair, a successful cut on curly hair depends on the clients’ goals. “At my salon, there is no right or wrong technique,” she says. “It’s more about what suits the clients’ needs and expectations.” Lyn recommends doing some research and looking at a salon’s before and after pictures to determine if its cutting technique would be a good match for you.
What to expect from a curly cut
Every curly cut appointment begins with an in-depth consultation and assessment of your hair so stylists recommend that you come in with your hair in its natural state with little to no product. “We’ll discuss hair history, product regimen, and routine,” says Kennedy. “This curl analysis will give your stylist the proper knowledge of your curl pattern, density, texture, and quality of curls, and help to determine what cutting techniques need to be applied.”
After your hair is cut and washed, your stylist will end the appointment by styling your hair in a curly style like a wash ‘n go or a twist out so you can see your newly-shaped curls in all their glory.
“We send clients off with recommended products and an estimated [date] to return for the follow-up cut — usually [in] three to four months or more,” says Suleky Roman, a hairstylist at the Ouidad New York City flagship salon.
How much does a curly cut cost?
Pricing will vary based on location and any additional treatments, but curly cuts range anywhere from $85 to $200. In major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami the minimum price is about $120.
Want curly bangs or layers? Consider this.
Curly bangs add flirty detail to any hairstyle, but before you ask your stylist to add a fringe in your curly cut appointment, Lyn recommends considering the effort it’ll take to style them. “Bangs do require patience when it comes to styling,” she says. “If my client is low maintenance, I’d probably recommend facial layering instead. It’s a great alternative to bangs because it creates the illusion of bangs both when styled and when left natural.”
Facial features also play a role in determining whether you should get bangs during your curly cut. Lyn explains that bangs work better for those with a larger forehead. “Bangs on a smaller forehead may crowd the face, but ultimately it is the client's decision,” says Lyn.
As always with curly hair, it’s important to consider shrinkage when cutting bangs. “It’s best to trim by the eyes, then perfect the bangs once the hair is styled,” Lyn adds.
When it comes to cutting layers for curly hair, a curly cut is the best way to go. Some curly-cut techniques (like the Rezo Cut) include layers, but you should let your stylist know during the consultation if you have a specific vision, like face-framing layers or layers that fall in a specific shape like U-shaped layers, in mind.
Now that you’re properly informed, go ahead and book that curly-cut appointment and start the new season with your best hair ever.
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Originally Appeared on Allure