Expert Advice

Texture Techniques: Cutting and Styling Curls

Jamie Newman | March 2, 2016 | 2:20 PM
Hair: Ouidad creative team // Makeup: Ingeborg Makeup // Fashion styling: Bex Sheers (photo credit: Jessie English (Remedial Media) for Ouidad)
Photo By Jessie English (Remedial Media) for Ouidad

The industry is fully embracing curly girls rather than resigning them to a flatiron or blowout. Don't shy away from curly cuts and style. 

Before reaching for shears, the most important part of cutting curls is a consultation. Assess a client’s texture in its dry, natural state first.

“Look at the shape and texture, and identify the curl type and pattern,” says Melanie Fahey, Ouidad VP of education. “Ask your client what their curl goals are. Always ask your client to show you exactly where they wish for their length to sit after it has been cut.”


No two curls are identical. Both Fahey and Cal Ellis, DevaCurl technical training manager, stress the importance of cutting curls individually rather than in a uniform manner. Also, remember that varying texture types—loose curl, spiral, coil, etc.—behave differently.


“The tighter the curl, the tighter the spring factor—how much the curl springs up,” Ellis says. “Cutting the hair dry, in its natural form, allows the true curl pattern to be seen and helps the stylist and client see the shape transform during the cutting process. Also, the length of some curls appears longer when wet.


Ellis also considers existing hydration levels before a chop. Cutting curls dry with loose to minimal tension using sharp shears ensures you’ll glide through the hair, not shred it.



Once the cut is complete, the right styling products are essential for a  awless  nish. The key is to achieve moisture, definition and hold with soft, touchable results.


“Choosing the best cleansers and stylers depends on the curl type, level of hydration, aspirations and lifestyle,” Ellis says.


Fahey focuses on products that will complement the curl she’s working on; Ouidad identifies curl types as loose, classic, tight or kinky.


“We have a portfolio of products that work prescriptively for each curl type,” Fahey says. “When used on the targeted type, breathable and layerable products in each line create ultra-hydrated, shiny curls with the style memory that lasts for days.”



Once you master curly cutting and styling, you can impact your clients’ lives for the better.


“Curly girls can finally have the shape they’ve always dreamed about,” Ellis says. “Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing their hair inches shorter than what they asked for, our clients burst into tears of joy.”



“When I was 11, I made the dreadful mistake of chopping my long plaits short. I spent the next three years growing my hair long again, wrestling with the torture and trauma of trying to style my curls. I refer to this period as the lost years. Every morning, I would allot two hours to style my locks before school. Most days I arrived at school feeling messy, massive and moppy, my head piled high with crunchy curls that I had stretched, ironed (literally!) and twisted. I was miserable. My mum, a hairdresser, tried to explain the importance of a good haircut and the right products, but it was the ’80s, everything was teased, sprayed and stabilized to an untouchable degree.
“It wasn’t until I took a part-time job sweeping salon floors and shampooing after school that I could afford to invest in my hair and finally embraced my curls. I got the perfect cut to enhance the natural pattern in my hair, and for the first time, I used good products that promoted my classic curl. My morning ritual went from two hours to 20 minutes, and my teenage self-consciousness began to subside.” -Melanie Fahey, Ouidad VP of Education


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