How to Cut Curly Hair: Tips And Recommendations

Cutting curly hair isn’t easy for beginners and experts alike. It can sometimes feel like a complicated and daunting task but also one that’s necessary if you want your hair to regenerate and grow healthy and strong. Curls are a challenge for many people but, once you know and follow the right guidelines, this entire process will become a lot easier than you think.

So, if you’re considering trimming your curly hair at home, you’ve come to the right place because, below, I have detailed several effective methods to do exactly that and achieve a great result. Cutting your curly hair ends should be something you do on a regular basis, especially because this hair type has a higher risk of breaking and becoming damaged.

How to Cut Curly Hair – Trimming Your Curls at Home

The first method I want to present you with is the simplest one because it only requires you to follow three main steps. You will need the following tools:

  • A pair of hair scissors – make sure to opt for a high-quality tool;
  • A big-enough mirror (preferably, one that you can also pick up and hold it yourself) – the size of the mirror is important because it will allow you to see the way your hair looks at the back;
  • Tip! To see the correct and real shape, size, and silhouette of your hair, you must be in a room that has very good lighting and place the mirror against a plain wall.

Step 1 – Dry Your Hair Before You Start Trimming It

Although many people with curly hair trim their locks while they’re still wet because it’s simpler that way, the best method to follow is to wait until your curls are completely dry. Some hair experts might even suggest trimming your curls after 2-3 days since you last washed them so that they have enough time to settle and position to their natural state.

Once you cut curly hair, each strand will move and curl differently. So, it’s important to cut it in its natural state instead of curling or straightening it first.

Step 2 – Figure Out the Way You Must Position the Hair

Sway your curls back and forth. Do this gently. This part of the process will enable your curls to position themselves in their natural shape. Then, notice the length of each curl. If you have long hair that passes below your shoulders, you should part it in the middle and bring both sides to the front. Place the sides in front of the shoulders just like you would when you want to make pigtails.

Look at the hair’s ends and establish right from the start where and how much you want to trim. When it comes to curls, even a small trim can go a long way so make sure to cut just a bit at first and go from there.

Step 3 – Start Trimming Your Hair

You must imagine that your hair is placed on a clock, regardless of the type of your curls and the length of your hair. Take one curl from the top part of your head and place it upwards. Hold it straight up and catch it between the middle fingers and the index. Do this at the exact area where you want to start trimming from.

Use the tip of the scissors to cut your curl’s end but remember to pull it forward before cutting it. Then, continue doing the same with the next curl strand. Do the same with all the curls that are placed on your head’s other side.

In the end, you should shuffle your hair at its roots so that you can see the overall shape.

Cutting Curly Hair – Effective Methods of Cutting Your Hair vs. Another Person’s Hair

Not many people know that, before cutting curls, you must first assess each curl individually. The cutting process isn’t done in a uniform way like in the case of straight hair. If you don’t use specific cutting techniques that are suitable for curly hair, the end result won’t be the one you want or expect.

Getting Started

Prepare your supplies and tools. With the risk of repeating myself, you should always use shart scissors to cut hair. I cannot stress enough the importance of this aspect. You will also need other items such as hair clips, hair ties, hairpins, and a comb with wide teeth.

Once you’ve gathered all the tools, you should detangle your curly hair as well as you can. Curly hair is easier to detangle when it’s still a little damp but not too wet. Avoid using regular combs and hairbrushes and opt for a wide-tooth comb instead. This way, you will prevent frizziness.

Before cutting your hair, you must first check if your curls are dry enough. You shouldn’t trim curls while they’re still wet. That is necessary because the shape, position, and size of each curl change when the hair is dry.

Cutting Your Own Curls

Here are the most effective ways to cut your curly hair by yourself.

a. The 2-Cut Bob

This is suitable for those who want shorter hair, in the shape of a bob. Wash and dry your curls before you begin. If you want, you could even apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner. Detangle your hair with a comb and tie your curls at the back in a low ponytail. Avoid getting it very close to your head, though.

Make sure the hair is as straight as possible and pull the hair tie down a couple of inches, no more than two. Take the scissors and cut your hair ends below the area where the hair elastic is placed. Undo the ponytail to check the results.

b. The Search & Destroy Method

This method requires the use of a magnifying mirror to help you see all the small details you need to notice. The purpose of this dusting method is to only cut those hairs that are split or damaged. The dusting process is a bit lighter compared to the trimming one because you won’t cut as much hair as you normally would.

Work your way through the curls, one small hair section at a time, by holding each curl up and in front of the mirror to see if it’s damaged. Just snap the ends of those curls that need trimming and pin back every area that you’ve already finished dusting.

c. The Twist Method

This is similar to the search and destroy method but there’s a difference. After detangling your curls, you will divide them into small sections and then twist each section before trimming the ends. Twist your curls by wrapping your fingers around them till you notice any damaged areas. This process can also be done when your hair is styled in small braids.

Again, you should tie back all the sections you’ve already trimmed.

d. Using Your Fingers

Run your fingers through each hair section and straighten each curl in front of your eyes to look for damaged areas. Every time you find a split or damaged end, take the shears and cut them off.

Trimming the Curls of Somebody Else

Here’s what you have to do if you’ve decided to trim someone else’s curly hair:

  • Part the hair into small sections and twist or braid each section;
  • Check the sections, one by one, by undoing the hairclip. Comb the curl and run it through your fingers. Stretch each curl to straighten the hair but stick to a comb with wide teeth and avoid using a regular brush to avoid frizzy hair;
  • Dust or trim as much as you consider necessary. Through dusting, you will only cut a small amount of hair, focusing only on those ends that are damaged. Trimming requires you to cut a bit more hair;
  • Move across the other person’s head and, as you go, make sure to tie those sections you’ve already trimmed;
  • Check again to see the final result by undoing all hair ties and shake out the curls.

Cutting Curly Hair on Another Person

  • The other person must lean her or his head back so that you can pull the top part of the curls up while allowing the edges to hang out. This technique helps you achieve immediate light layers;
  • Start cutting the hair at an angle towards the hand you’re working with. Snip off the hair ends and thin the hair a bit in those places that look bulky;
  • Create some layers to offer more shape to curly hair. The flipping method is the best solution for hair layers that will look natural.

How to Layer Curly Hair

I admit that cutting your curly hair in layers is a bit more complicated than just trimming the ends. But this method will make your curls bouncier and more vibrant. Here are the steps you must follow to layer your curly hair.

a. Prepare the Hair for the Cut

Always use proper trimming and layering tools such as a wide-tooth comb and sharp shears. Use only scissors that are made for hair-cutting because they are sharp. Blunt shears could damage your hair. With curly hair, the wider the comb, the better the result will be. It will detangle your curls without creating frizziness.

If necessary, wash and condition your hair before cutting it. The conditioner is an essential step because it will be easier for you to detangle your curls when you dry the hair. You can also cut your hair after a couple of days since you’ve washed it, but some specialists seem to believe that freshly-washed curls are well-hydrated so it’s easier for you to notice what hairs are damaged and need trimming.

Dry your curls but do it gently, using a head towel. Don’t rub it against your hair; just use gentle movements. Another way is to leave it as it is and allow it to dry on its own. It’s best to cut your hair after it gets completely dry but if it’s damp, that’s ok, too.

b. Remove the Overall Length

Divide your curls into two equal parts and bring the sections to the sides of your head. Place hair ties around each of the two sections right where you want to trim the hair tips. For those of you who have shorter curls, using hair clips and parting the hair in at least two sections or even more will be even more suitable.

Start by trimming no more than one inch of your hair. If you’re pleased with the result but you want it even shorter, you can cut more as you go. Make sure to chop your curls by following an imaginary straight line underneath the hair clips or ties. Now it’s time to let your hair loose and style it to check the final result and see if the ends are about the same length.

c. Cut the Layers into Your Curls

Now, for the most exciting part of the layering process, you must part your curls into 4 separate and equal sections. First, separate it into two sections just like I’ve described above. Then, take each side and divide it into two smaller sections, one being the hair that’s placed under the ear level and a second section above the ear.

Pull the upper sections in front and keep the curls as straight as possible over the head. If you want to create short layers, you should hold the hair straight right over the head. If you want to achieve longer layers, you must pull the hair away from your head and keep it parallel to the floor.

Place the ends of your curls between your middle fingers and the index and start trimming a very small amount of hair in the beginning. You can adjust the hair you want to cut as you go. The hair should be trimmed above your fingers. Repeat this exact process in the other section.

How to Cut Curly Hair – Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are some other useful guidelines you should consider when cutting your curly hair:

  • You could try to cut your curls using a large mirror or two mirrors, or, you could get help from someone who’s more experienced at trimming curls;
  • Think about length and texture and use caution when cutting your own hair because curly locks show mistakes a lot easier than straight hair;
  • Start small and continue from there. Don’t snip too much of it right from the start;
  • Avoid horizontal lines when cutting curly hair. Do this by holding your shears straight up or down your hair’s length rather than keeping them across it. This tip is essential, especially when you’re cutting bangs.

Cutting Curly Hair – Top 3 Best Curly Hairstyles

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best and most popular curly hairstyles that are both trendy and beautiful.

a. Long Layered Haircut

This look can be achieved with a gorgeous blonde balayage and a layered haircut. For an even better appearance that looks very natural, you should tousle your curls a bit. This is a low-maintenance hairstyle that will complement any complexion and face shape.

b. Medium-Length Combover Hairstyle

When you’re tired of taking care of your long curly hair, you should opt for a medium-length haircut. Once the cut is done, you should part your curls on one side which will make your locks appear bouncier and more lively than they’ve ever been. This way, your curls won’t be weighed down anymore.

c. Curly Bob with Side Bangs

If you want a cute hairstyle for your curly hair that also looks natural, you should give this curly long bob a try. It suits those people who don’t have very tight curls. Both the loose curls and the side bangs will frame your face perfectly. To achieve a more casual appearance, you could tuck one side behind your ear.

How to Cut Curly Hair – Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How Often Should You Trim Your Curls?

Answer: Curly hair should be dusted or trimmed as often as possible because it tends to develop split ends way quicker than straight hair. It may look amazing but this hair type is more prone to split tips and breakage. Another sign that shows it’s time for a new trim is tangled hair and hair knots.

Question: Should You Cut Your Curly Hair When It’s Wet or Dry?

Answer: This varies based on each person’s preferences but, most experts suggest you cut your curls after you have dried them. Otherwise, the final result might feature mistakes because curls don’t become bouncier and position themselves naturally until they’re completely dry.

Question: Should You Cut Your Own Hair or Should You Go to a Professional Salon?

Answer: If you’ve done it before, you could cut or trim your own curls. But, if you’re new at this, I recommend you to make an appointment with a specialist. Find a good hairstylist and stick with him or her once they get to know the way your hair type behaves.

Question: What Products Should You Use Before and After You Trim Your Curls?

Answer: You must use hair care products that were specially made for curly hair because this hair type has specific needs and traits. You should develop an entire haircare routine before and after trimming your curls. The essentials are represented by moisturizing shampoos, hydrating conditioners, and other nourishing products.
All these will prevent dry scalp and hair breakage. After the haircut, you should pamper your curly hair with a special cream. Curl creams are for touch-ups and they’ll keep your locks well-hydrated, frizz-free, and well-texturized.

What Are the Most Important Styling Tips for Curly Hair?

  • Don’t wash your curls right before trimming them. Or, if you do wash your hair, make sure to use a shampoo that also works as a conditioner and moisturizer, one that’s appropriate for your hair type;
  • The best way to cut or trim curly hair is in layers because this style will allow those curls to become bouncier and move naturally;
  • When trimming curls, don’t texturize the hair too much and avoid shredding the ends because these techniques might damage your locks;
  • Pay attention when cutting curly hair because the length will change once you let those curls loose;
  • Finally, curls are prone to frizz which is why you should always re-wet the hair a bit before any touch-up or before styling it. Otherwise, the pattern of the curls will be disturbed.

How to Cut Curly Hair – Final Thoughts

Cutting curly hair isn’t easy but it’s doable if you follow all the steps and guidelines I have described above. While trimming curls can be a tad complicated, I am confident you can get the hang of it as long as you follow the tips and rules I’ve detailed in today’s article. Curly hair is special so trimming, caring, and styling it also require special attention and well-defined guidelines.

There are a few different methods to cut curly hair, but there’s a proper way of doing it, regardless of the alternative you choose to follow. That was all for today. Long live those curls!

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