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Last updated: July 25, 2017

15 Tips for Cutting Curls

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Properly cutting curly hair isn’t the same as cutting traditional textures. “The biggest mistake I see people making when cutting curly hair is approaching it as if it’s the same as all the other hair patterns they are used to cutting,” says Terry Whiddon, ColorProof Evolved Color Care Platform Artist. “Curly hair grows into a C shape; the shorter hair is on the inside of the curl and the longer hair is on the outside. If you don’t properly cut into the shape of the pattern correctly then you end up with a blunt cut which causes unwanted frizz.”  Here, Terry breaks down his foolproof strategy for creating the perfect cut on your curly haired clients.


Terry’s Tips for Cutting Curls



1. Start by prepping the model with ColorProof’s TruCurl® Curl Perfecting System.


2. Redefine the curls with CurlyLocks™ Color Protect Curl Mousse so you can see the curl patterns of the hair.


3. One of the most important things when you cut curly hair is being able to cut to the point of the curl. That’s why it’s good to cut hair when it’s wet. Carve a C shape where you want it and force the hair to go in the direction you need it to go, that way you’re not bound by the natural curl pattern anymore.


4. Your scissors should be sharp and clean at all times. You’re cutting a C shape, you aren’t stabbing or slicing the hair.


5. Refine your section by following the flat spots of the head shape with your comb.


6. Carve your sections by elevating the hair upward, cutting each section to a point by pushing your shears through the hair as you cut.



7. Subsection the hair and again cut by forcing the hair into a point as you cut it. You don’t need a guide, just create five sections in the back of the head—and always cut to a point.


8. When you cut the last section of the head you’ll see it creates a triangle, you’ll be tempted to cut off the point but don’t…you’ll need that for structure support once you finish the hair. Make sure to always cut to a point and don’t cut the point off.


9. When you get to the ear, make sure you don’t pick up that perimeter, only cut a little bit to fit the design line as the hair is weaker in that position. Go to section one, section two, section three, section four, section five, then move to the front.


10. Once again elevate up and push your shears through the hair as you cut. Subsection and cut again. Around the ear drop out your perimeter and save your base line.


11. Cut the sides in a large triangle with the point of the triangle pointing to the center of the ear to reduce bulk and weight. Cut the same section and subsection with the same technique, then turn the hair over and cut the top of the hair to create the point. Once the sides are finished you are left with the fringe.


12. Subsection the fringe, Terry prefers to only cut the top of the subsection, however, you may choose to cut the top and bottom depending on how much weight and movement you want in your design. When you get to the fringe itself use the inverted cutting technique you used in the baseline, carving C shapes throughout the fringe. Once you get the desired look you want, the haircut is finished.



13. To add oomph to the hair, diffuse it by using chopsticks to lift the hair off the base to create volume.


14. Cutting curly hair wet allows you to control the hair without it frizzing out. It also allows you to see the true curl pattern which is also very important to take into account when cutting curly haired clients. “Cutting the hair wet allows me to carve the hair into a C shape which is the basic pattern of most curly hair,” notes Terry. “When cutting the hair and doing this motion I’m left with a point on the end of the curl/cut to ensure the most frizz reduction.” When dry cutting, the hair tends to frizz and damage is caused to the cuticle layer of the hair which causes a tearing effect on the fabric of the hair. “Curls also tend to separate when cutting dry causing an even greater chance of cutting the curl to an inferior C shape or not at all,” says Terry.


15. Under no circumstance should you ever straighten the clients curly hair before cutting it! “When doing this you aren’t able to see the curl pattern or shape at all and you don’t have control of the final length you will end up with or where the hair with lay,” shares Terry.