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Last updated: April 16, 2019

Need Help Cutting & Styling Curls?

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Cutting and styling curly, highly textured hair can be intimidating for the most seasoned stylist, so we went to curl guru and Matrix Artistic Director Michelle O’Connor for her cutting and styling secrets. And, after you read this, you’ll have all the tips and tricks for handling texture.


See Michelle and two more texture experts (plus balayage, cutting and celeb styling!) in Dallas May 20! Tap HERE to grab those tickets ASAP before they sell out! 


Dry-Cutting Vs. Wet-Cutting

  • As a rule of thumb for cutting curly hair, cut it in the way the client wears it. So if she is always wearing it curly, cut it dry and curly. Here’s why: on curly, textured hair, the curl pattern (usually) varies all over the head, and the only way to know exactly where that hair lives, is to see it when it’s dry.
  • For new stylists who aren’t as comfortable with cutting textured hair, know this: cutting curls when the hair is wet can be deceiving because all the curls will bounce back in unison—it’s only when the hair is dry that the real curl pattern takes form.
Before and after using the Matrix Biolage 3 Butter Control System.


3 Key Cutting Factors
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the perfect curly-haired cut. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Approach the cut visually: First establish the length/perimeter. Then approach clusters of curls that seem to fall the same way and cut those together. Then shake the cluster out to really see how that section falls.
  • Don’t get overly technical: Remember, it’s visual! Michelle doesn’t even use a comb. Instead, she recommends using your pinky finger to lift out different sections and see what the curl patterns are doing. If an area is sticking out, cut it. If the ends are more texturized, slide-cut to thin them out.
  • Spread the volume evenly: If the client wants to remove overall volume or if her hair is heavy on the bottom and skinny on the top, start by removing bulk around the perimeter and the lower edge of the hair. Why? It will spread the volume more evenly throughout the head.


Curly Hair? You Gotta Care…About The Product

  • Solid products are a must for controlling curls and minimizing frizz. With the Biolage 3 Butter Control System from Matrix, any curl type becomes a little more manageable.
  • The name of the product gives it substance,” says Michelle. “’Butter’ in the title speaks to clients with textured, wiry hair, and they immediately know it will help control curls and offer some uniformity to their pattern.”


Products Used


Know The Hair Type, Then Pick The Routine
Ask your clients about their hair—does it dry out quickly or does it retain moisture rather easily? The answer will determine how they can use the Biolage 3 Butter Control System to better their styling habits. Here’s a closer look at how to customize the system:

  • For dry hair: Suggest leaving the conditioner and overnight mask in without rinsing out.
  • For fine density, yet wiry texture: Suggest rinsing out the conditioner in the shower and then applying the overnight mask without rinsing out, which gives more curl control.
  • For hair that retains moisture: Suggest applying the overnight mask on dry hair at night. In the morning, rinse out the mask and the conditioner, and style with day cream.


While leaving these products in the hair is sometimes hard for clients (and even stylists) to understand, it’s what they are designed to do, says Michelle. They won’t leave your hair feeling sticky or greasy. Instead, the system will lock in moisture to keep frizz down and the curl pattern intact. 


Before and after using the Matrix Biolage 3 Butter Control System.


A Styling Secret? Sleep On It!
A quick way to style super-curly hair? Sleep on it—literally. Michelle suggests this for clients:

  1. Wash hair with the 3 Butter Control System Shampoo and rinse.
  2. Then, use the 3 Butter Control System Conditioner. (Rinse or leave in, depending on your hair type.)
  3. After the shower, towel-blot the hair as much as possible and apply the 3 Butter Control System Overnight Mask.
  4. Put hair in a braid, twists or any style and sleep on it.
  5. In the morning, take the style out and apply the 3 Butter Control System Day Cream to amp up the look.


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