Cutting naturally curly hair is a task best left to the professionals. While curly hair is easy to cut, since its texture hides a lot of mistakes, curly hair is very difficult to cut correctly. When curly hair is cut perfectly, the curls appear full of life and bounce, and the cut falls perfectly into style with minimal effort. However, when cut incorrectly, the hair will be unruly, unmanageable, and difficult to style.
Most experts and master stylists agree that curly hair should almost always be cut dry. In order to give an accurate and precise cut, it must be possible to see exactly where each and every curl lies, and this is best achieved on dry hair. Another benefit of cutting curly hair when it is dry is that it eliminates the problem of “shrinkage”. We all know that wet hair is longer than dry hair, but most of us don’t realize that curly hair can lengthen a considerable amount when it is wet, which means that the hair can and will shrink a great deal once the hair is dry. Therefore, in order to prevent a haircut from being entirely too short, it is much safer to cut the hair dry.
When cutting curly hair, special consideration must be given to the amount of tension with which the hair is being held between the fingers. Professional stylists hold the hair in their non-cutting hand between the index and middle fingers. The natural instinct is to pull the hair down taut with the non-cutting hand. This is a very big mistake when cutting curly hair, since it will stretch out the hair and give a distorted impression of the hair’s length. Expert stylists will always relax their grip on curly hair in order to eliminate tension. This provides for a much more accurate cut.
Some stylists, myself included, prefer to iron the hair completely straight before cutting the hair. Straightening the hair will eliminate all of the concerns about tension and shrinkage. When all of the curl has been ironed out of the hair, it is possible to work with hair that is uniform in texture. People who have naturally curly hair seldom, if ever, have the same degree of curl throughout their head. For instance, they might have a tighter curl in the nape or in the front of their hair, and less curl on the sides or in the crown. Straightening the hair prior to cutting helps eliminate the guesswork when dealing with hair that has multiple and varied textures.