The relationship between a curly client and their stylist is sacred. Talk to anyone with curly hair who has found someone who understands how to cut their hair and it’s instantly clear—they will never stray. That’s because cutting curly hair is an art like no other. Mastering the art of cutting curls properly will change your career and bring you clients more loyal than any you’ve ever cared for.
Chadwick Pendley, Ouidad Master Artistic Educator, @chadwickpendley, is a curly cutting expert. He shares these tips for understanding the ins and outs of cutting textured hair.
1—Understand the Difference Between Cutting Curls and Cutting Straight Hair
“When cutting straight hair,” Chadwick explains, “the goal is likely to produce texture, volume and movement. These three things exist naturally in curly hair. Cutting curls and texture, on the other hand, is all about controlling and organizing volume and movement. When you understand that the goals for these two types of hair are opposite, you’ll understand how to change your cutting techniques.”
2—Every Texture Needs Its Own Approach
The needs of each curl type are different, notes Chadwick. One technique does not fit all. “For example,” he says, “wavy hair will often need encouragement for formation, while with tighter curls the focus should be elongation and organization.”
3—Toss Your Straight Hair Layering Techniques
Layering curls with techniques used for straight hair is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. “This causes so many challenges,” says Chadwick. “You’ll create shelving, triangles and unnecessary weight lines among many other problems.”
4—Repeat This Often—With Curls, Less is More
“It can take someone with curly hair up to two years to recover from a haircut that is too short,” says Chadwick. “So always err on the side of cutting too little rather than too much.”
5—Internal, Not Length
“An ‘aha moment’ for me when cutting curls was understanding most issues with curls happen internally,” Chadwick notes. “It’s very rare that the challenge is length. You have to go inside the strand to resolve most curly hair issues.”
6—Products can enhance a curly haircut
For example, Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner preps hair for cutting and styling. Ouidad’s Advanced Climate Control Collection helps keeps curls defined and organized in humidity. “I give 20 thumbs up for Ouidad VitalCurl+ Soft Defining Mousse because it defines, volumizes and moisturizes curls,” says Chadwick. “And my all-time favorite is Ouidad Finishing Mist. It’s a setting and holding spray that doesn’t leave curls stiff or crunchy.”
Learn more about Ouidad and the Ouidad products made expressly for curly hair.