Cutting Natural Curly Hair

Cutting Natural Curly Hair

As some of you might know from reading my About Me page, I have a mild phobia when it comes to cutting my hair and just as much as I don’t like doing it I also don’t like having unhealthy hair. So, I regularly had my ends trimmed with strict instructions since some hairstylists are far too happy with a scissor in their hands. However, as my Big Chop day approaches, I am now looking into professionals who know and are comfortable cutting natural curly hair. There are nevertheless, a few considerations you should have when doing it.



When it comes to cutting hair it doesn’t matter if you have straight or curly hair or if you’re a man or a woman because I am certain we all have one thing in common – bad experiences to share. However, with curly hair, the stories seem to be even more horrific. You hear stories of curly girls who end up with their hair either too short, uneven or even worst, so completely unmanageable that you have to book a new haircut.



The Conventional Approach

The problem when it comes to cutting natural hair is that many hairstylists don’t know how to cut curly hair. I suppose the reason is that most training is done on straight hair or even relaxed hair which is meant to mimic straight hair. When faced with curly hair these professionals approach to it is to do what they were trained to do on straight hair and are afterwards clueless as to what went wrong, leaving you with a hot mess.



Sadly, in this profession, many forget that curly hair comes in many different curl patterns from wavy to tightly coiled and we all have different hair textures and densities that need to be considered when cutting natural curly hair. While it is generally expected that when cut, straight hair responds in the same way all the time, when it comes to curly hair the story is different. No two curls with the same length will fall equally each time you style it. Therefore, a different approach is needed.



The New Approach

Luckily, there are professionals who are relentless in their pursuit of finding the best techniques to work with curly hair. They have perfected their craft throughout years of working with their clients and have come to the conclusion that natural curly hair needs a different approach, it can’t simply be cut blunt (cut across length). Our hair is unpredictable, moody and glorious at times. We can get out of the house with flawless curls and have it frizzy in a matter of minutes.



Shrinkage is also a factor to consider when cutting as curly hair when wet is very deceiving, thus why many hairstylists prefer cutting on dry hair. I’m sure you’ve heard or have your own stories of when you went in for a little trim and came out in shock with several inches off your hair or even with a new haircut, making yourself a mental reminder to never go back into that salon again.



A poorly or badly performed haircut will result in uneven or pyramid shaped hair. A cut that won’t showcase the best of your curls and will certainly not favour you. This is probably the reason why many women don’t like their curly hair because they only ever had bad experiences in a salon. However, if you have patience and some investigative skills you can take what you read here, follow my tips about choosing a natural hairstylist and avoid waiting for your hair to grow.



Popular Choices

To give you a head start on the best curly hair cutting experience you can try the Devachan or the Ouidad salon. Both have become very popular in the natural hair community because they have coined their own unique techniques for cutting curly hair and in the process have gained a lot a happy and faithful supporters.



The Devachan salon performs the Deva Cut which was developed by its owner and book author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook” Lorraine Massey. With this technique, the haircut is done on dry hair and their philosophy is that the hair should be cut dry and not wet because we wear it dry and wet hair is misleading. Each hair ringlet is cut individually at an angle to enhance and provide curl control. The experience is meant to make you love your curls even more! Have a look at one their videos.



As for the Ouidad salon their technique is called the “carve & slice” and contrarily to the Deva Cut it’s done on wet hair where vertical sections of hair are carved and sliced. The focus is to remove the pyramid look that many curlies exhibit and sculpt beautiful curls that fall “perfectly” into each other like a puzzle.  Here is a video for you to watch and have an idea of what I’m talking about.




If you don’t have a Devachan or Ouidad salon near you can always try a certified stylist in their techniques as they offer training. As for us here in the UK, there are several salons in London that cater for natural hair and here’s a helpful link I recently found while looking for natural hair stylists to do my Big Chop (cut off relaxed ends) after two years transitioning. Call it divine intervention or the universe alignment!



Final Consideration

As with anything else in life, although the Deva Cut  and the “Carve & Slice” are popular and designed for natural hair not all people like them. Some prefer one over the other while a few others prefer a more traditional approach to hair cutting. When choosing a professional to cut your hair you have to consider the techniques they use but also if you will be straightening your hair frequently as opposed to wearing your hair as it naturally is.



You can’t expect a curly haircut to be even when straighten since these haircuts focus on how your curls fall in their natural dry state. Don’t follow the hype blindly and end up regretting your choices. Consider other avenues, there might me another stylist who is able to offer you both styling options. Be sure to follow my tips on choosing your stylist so you don’t get disappointed.



What were your experiences cutting your hair? Are you a fan of the dry cut, why? Have you tried the Deva Cut or the “Carve & Slice” haircut?



Featured Image Credit: CreateHerStock

16 thoughts on “Cutting Natural Curly Hair

  1. Very interesting, I never put too much thought into people with curly hair having problems until I read your blog, I love this site, just saw on the side you also have a blog on itchy scalps, so that is going to be my next read. I have a nephew who has tight curly hair, and yes the hairdressers over here have messed up his cuts a few times, could you recommend to me, a keyword to google for over here in New Zealand, I would like to see if we have specialists here too.

    1. Hello Shelly,

      Yes, curly hair faces a few problems when going to a salon. I wouldn’t know where to find a good hairdresser for natural hair in New Zealand, but you can do a google search under natural hair hairstylist or salon in _____ (your town/city). Check out this article as well.

      Feel free to look around and read information you find interesting.

      Good luck with the hairstylist.


  2. I love your site and what you said about the importance of using a hair stylist trained in cutting curly hair is absolutely correct. I don’t even allow anyone to cut my hair anymore, I cut my own curls one by one. I really would like to look around your site more you seem to really know a lot about the natural hair struggles we curly tops go through. I am going to look up more information about the Deva cut as well because I definitely need a nice professional shape up. Thanks for the info love!

    1. Hi Cymone!

      Once you go natural or start your transitioning journey to natural hair it’s hard to trust anyone to cut our hair. I’ve also been cutting my own hair during my transition, but as my Big Chop day approaches I need to find a good hairstylist. If you need help on finding a stylist read this article.

      Thank you for your feedback and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you here.


  3. Hi Ana,

    Thank you for sharing this post. Very useful to those who have curly hair. Though I have a straight hair, I feel and understand what you mean on this post. Curly hair needs extra care. So there must be some guidelines on how to care it when you go to the salon or else you will just be disappointed of the result after salon.

    When I was I child I was always wishing that my hair will become curly. Because I love to see curly hair, it is beautiful. But now that I realized that its not easy to have a curly hair, I am contented with my hair. I love to cut my hair too.

    I have a best friend with curly hair. Your post is very useful for her. I will share it to her.


    1. Hello Marcy,

      Curly hair requires more care and attention, but I love it and wouldn’t go back to my straight relaxed hair. I’m glad you liked the article and that it may be useful to your friend.

  4. Hi there, I really liked this post! Ever since I moved to Canada, one of the first things I needed to learn was to cut my own hair – I’ve had a bunch of undesirable results, definitely, but I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it! I’ve also gotten around to cutting my kids hair – I recently gave my son a semi-Mohawk and a semi-layered bob for my daughter. I guess watching youtube videos on hairstyling worked out, lol!

    Experience-wise, I’ve always felt that the dry approach to cutting hair was the best as you generally have a fresh canvas to work with. And there’s definitely more control that can be had to that approach because of little to no resistance to the hair.

    I would definitely like to try out the Carve and Slice method, that’s for sure. Curious about the pyramid effect that you mentioned, does that only happen with curls or do people with naturally wavy hair experience it, too?


    1. Hi Raphy,

      I can see you’ve taken matters into your own hands and are totally on the DIY lane. Good for you! As for the pyramid look, I guess it’s more noticeable on curly than wavy hair.



  5. Hi Monica,

    Very interesting article, I’m another who had no idea of the problems you girls face in dealing with your curly hair.

    I too have had some horror tales with scissor happy stylists and that is with dead straight hair!

    As my hair is prone to being very dry on the ends and breaking, I have found your blog to be a great source of information for me that I can apply to help curb the breakage as I’m not really all that kind to it. (And our climate doesn’t do me any favours either) Who knows, I might even be able to persuade it to curl a little tiny bit!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I’m sure straight hair has a few issues as well, but we’ve got to learn how to deal with them. Unfortunately, we all have horror tales to tell when it comes to hairstylists.

      To help moisturise your ends and prevent more breakage you can spritz an aloe vera mix with distiled water and them apply some coconut oil to seal the moisture. But, if it’s breaking badly maybe you should consider a little trim. Feel free to look around and find any useful information for your hair.


      1. Hi Monica,
        Thank you for the tip. I had been using Argan oil which I liked but haven’t been able to source for a bit and so ran out. I have Coconut oil to hand so I gave that a go.
        Umm… Not such a good idea when you put it on your hair before going out to feed your horse! He thought my hair smelled so nice he kept trying to eat it! It was very funny even if I did have to do a re-wash when I got back home.

        1. Hi Sarah, Coconut oil is also a very good choice of vegetable oil for your hair. It penetrates the cuticle layers helping to provide nutrition, it’s good for moisture retention, it helps prevent hygral fatigue and it has many other benefits. As for the scent of coconut oil I love it and I can understand the horse’s reaction, it’s just so yammy. 🙂

  6. I never considered that people with curly hair had so much trouble having their hair cut. I have fairly straight hair and sometimes stylists can’t get it right. My last hair cut was with a lady who said my hair was so great that she wanted to razor cut it. Stupidly, I let her and have regretted it ever since.

    You have so much information on cutting curly hair that I am going to recommend your site to a friend of mine who always has a problem with getting her very curly hair cut.

    1. Hi Christine!

      Yes, curly hair can be difficult to cut and not everyone knows how to do it. You’re very brave to let your stylist cut your hair razor blade. I’m impressed, I would never do it, but it will grow right?

      Thanks for recommending Curly Hair Lounge.


  7. Thank you thank you Monica.
    Every curly-haired person knows exactly what you are talking about. I’ve only been to one salon in New York City that really knew about curly hair – and they used Ouidad products. Also totally know what you mean by the pyramid hair – that’s hilarious! I’ve settled for that since every hair cutter I’ve had gives me pyramid hair. I’ve even tried to cut my own hair. I’ll look and see if my area has any of the salons you mentioned.

    1. Hi Maria! Yes, finding hair professionals that really understand curly hair is like a treasure hunt. When you find one, hold on to him/her. The pyramid look, unfortunately, is what I have at the moment. I went to do a haircut, but soon understood the hairstylist didn’t know what he was doing, so I just let him cut my relaxed hair ends to avoid a complete disaster. I am now on the hunt for a professional who understands curly hair. Good luck on your hunt too.

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