Haircuts for Naturally Curly Hair

Today’s post is the last installment on how to take care of naturally curly hair and we are going to cover haircuts for naturally curly hair.

In the first post, I shared some of the tools you need for caring for your curly hair, (along with grocery store products that work).

The second post was all about how to style your hair.


First, let me just say that I’ve probably seen many different hair stylists and tried to achieve a cut that was compatible with my long curly hair.  I’ve had 2 who cut my hair just right and all the others left me with a similar problem:  Triangle Head Hair.

What’s the Dealio?

Triangle Head Hair comes from a misconception about curly hair…

There seems to be this belief among stylists that when dealing with out of control curls, you want the weight of your hair to tame your hair

Nope – that’s a lie.  You don’t.  Don’t believe them, but don’t call them liars.  That will likely not go over well. *smile*

The reality is you want to lighten your hair up and to do so you need layers.

If a stylist understands the need for layers, many I’ve dealt with insist that they should be LONG layers.

Nope.  You don’t want long layers, (long layers will give you Triangle Head Hair).  See my triangle head below…


Not Just Any Layers


I know it’s rude to write in caps, but I am saying this with as much emphasis as I can.


You need short layers. You need short layers. You need short layers.

So in case you missed it, short layers are where it’s at for curly hair.

It doesn’t really matter if you have medium or longer curly hair, my experience is that haircuts for naturally curly hair must have short layers.

I’ve had stylists TRY to give me short layers but I still got long layers.

It seems that it must go against every fiber of most stylists being.  But if you have to take your stylist out for coffee and have a heart to heart with them about how short layers REALLY are what you want, then do it!

My stylist up in Rapid City sent me with these instructions for the next person who cuts my hair and I plan on quoting her exactly as follows:

“Increase layer and let the bottom drop out.  Slide cutting from the top down to take out the bulk, or you can thin with shears. Top layer should be 6-7 inches long.  Frame face.”

Those were her instructions on how to talk to a stylist about a long curly haircut.

If you look at the photo above (the non-triangular head hair one) you’ll see that I have short layers.  This is really what you want if you want to have long curly hair and be able to wear it down.

So that is how to party curly hair, you have to have short layers that will enhance your curls.

I’d love to hear if you have some product you love to use for your hair or if you have a tip you’d like to add, please comment below.

*UPDATE #1*  I had a stylist in Fort Walton Beach, FL who did an amazing job of cutting my hair.  She cut it dry and have me the short layers I need.  She also said someone with naturally curly hair should NEVER have their hair thinned with thinning sheers.

240 thoughts on “Haircuts for Naturally Curly Hair”

  1. Love your posts on curly hair. I do a lot of what you have written in parts one and two. Here’s my question about part three…I do NOT have a lot of thick hair. I don’t have much and so short layers make it seem even thinner and stringy. Do I need it to be longer? I’ve kept it shoulder length or shorter and I’m trying to grow it out…but it’s getting to the stringy thin stage that makes me want to cut it. Should I have short layers put in now? Wait until it is longer? Any suggestions? Thanks! Oh and thanks for putting pictures in of the styling process for day 2 and 3 …those can be tricky and the pics are very helpful!

    1. Hi Marybeth!

      Without seeing your hair, (and without professional experience as a hairdresser) I don’t feel like I can properly answer your question.

      I will tell you this though, I have a close friend with curly hair and it is quite thin. She also gets short layers in her hair and it looks beautiful! Once her hair is styled and dry, she separates her ringlets more than I do and it looks fuller. The short layers are good for both thick and thin hair.

      I would think that by getting the short layers now and possibly trimming the bottom up a bit, you’d have a fuller look. (all this said without having seen your hair) Hope this helps you! Thank you for your kind comments!


      1. Thanks for the reply and I’m happy to say that I had a few short layers added to my hair and I like it. I think this will get me over the hump where I normally hack it all off to short again. I’d really like to have long hair and I think if I make sure to have short layers I’ll be good! I also want to report that your second day fix up instructions are spot on and have really helped. I’m going to check out some of the products you use. Thanks again!

        1. Great! I’m so glad you gave layers a try and hopefully this gets you where you want with your length. 2nd hair is my favorite timesaver. Thank you for the sweet comments!

          1. I also have thin curly hair (type 2b) but with some straight pieces throughout and tighter ringlets underneath. BEHOLD the dreaded mixed hair! I just had my hair cut to about collar bone length (i needed a fresh start), and am going back to have shorter layers put in to experiment but im wondering how short i should tell the hair dressor to cut them? Jaw? Ear lobe? My hair doesnt bounce back to much when cut. But i basically want to be able to style i occasionally; will it look funny with short layers when straight?

          2. I’m sorry Jenna…I’m not a professional nor am I familiar with your hair. (so take this personalized advice at you own risk) It really depends on how curly your hair is for how short your shortest layer should be. I’d guess ear lobe but I can be aggressive on the short layers. Can your stylist cut it when it’s dry so you can see how it will lay?

      2. Thank you so much for this post! I found it through Pinterest and I’m so glad I read it. I have longish curly hair… very similar to yours it looks like, and I have been trying to find a good stylist for… well forever. I keep telling them I need CHUNKY layers… not smooth ones. They never know what I’m talking about. I usually go home after a cut and take a pair of scissors to my hair to cut more layers into it. (Curly hair is pretty forgiving!). I wrote down the advice you got from your stylist and will take it with me to my appointment this week with another new stylist. Hopefully she will understand and know what to do! I would love to loose my triangle hair!

    2. Marybeth ~ I have super fine, thin, curly hair. It’s about to the middle of my back. I always insist on a few short layers, otherwise my hair gets all tangled at the bottom. I’ve used the same “hairapist” for a couple years now because she has curly hair, so she “gets it”. We had to experiment a couple times to find just the right ratio of layers to long hair so that my longest hair didn’t get scraggly. But for me, a few short layers is a MUST. BTW, Julie, great info!

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I to have thick curly hair, and my hairdresser never cuts it how I tell her to. It is very stressful! Short layers are a good idea, maybe I’ll try that next time.

    1. I’m sure you’ll like it better Rachel. I’ve found it to be key to getting curly hair to actually lay properly. Many hairdressers just don’t know how to handle curls (in my experience).

  3. Julie. I loved your instructions! You are very funny. 🙂 I just would like to ask you one question. I noticed that your conditioner has a silicone, dimeticone. Do you get any build up?

    1. Thank you Witalla! I honestly haven’t noticed buildup in my hair. When I first transitioned to not shampooing, I would do an apple cider vinegar/conditioner rinse but I gradually stopped doing that (for some reason unknown reason now).

      I’d love to find a conditioner that does not have silicone and works with my curly hair. Do you have one you’d recommend? I’m always scoping out new products!

      1. Hi Julie! Sorry for taking so long to reply. I understand you live in the US, if so you are in paradise! I am from Brazil but live in Australia and here we lack of products for curly hair. And without silicones is purely a dream! I read a lot about Matrix biolage conditioning balm. We do have it here, but it very expensive. In the US you have the generic value product from Sally’s which is the same exacly thing as matrix. I have been harassing Sallys to export it or even sell to iherb… I use some local conditioners or tresseme naturals. I relay a lot on iherb to buy my products. I bought a bunch of giovanni conditioners but was not impressed with any of them. I just ordered Aubrey Organics huney suckle rose but I have not used it yet. For leave in I have been using kinky curly knot today and I love it! My hair looks a lot like yours, but curlier I think. And I also have a loooooooooooooooooot of hair. 🙂

          1. I use Suave tropical coconut conditioner – available at target or anywhere, less than $2, and it has no silicone. I haven’t used shampoo since march and I’m loving it!

        1. I know this is an old post/comment, but for any other Aussies, Tresseme naturals conditioner is silicone free, and at <$10 for 1L it's good value. However I can't use it because there's an ingredient that irritates my scalp 🙁

          1. just adding my 2 cents… there are tons of no silicone product out there. My favorite brand is Curl Junky- my hair is 3a when long, thick med density.
            other brands: Kinky curly, Miss Jessi, shea moisture…

          2. I’m ridiculously late to this part, but I wanted to mention WEN. I admit, I have had issues with some of the strong scents (if you’re sensitive to smells, I recommend ordering samples) but the WEN 613 has been wonderful for my hair, leaving it soft and holding my red hair dye for many months without much fading. I only order WEN on QVC as I’ve read that the WEN website is an auto ordering service and can be difficult to cancel. I personally use the WEN 613 cleansing conditioner, mousse, and serum to style and moisturize my hair. The WEN 613 scent is strong, but tolerable for me. A bottle lasts me a few months, which helps keep costs down, and I do have very long curly hair (to my mid back.) Hope this helps someone. <3

  4. Hi! i loved your advice about curly hair, i have a question,
    my hair hits at just above shoulder length when dry, will short layers still work for me?
    and do you believe curly hair should be cut dry?

    1. Thank you Kenzie!!

      I’m not a professional but in my opinion, unless you have a stylist that REALLY knows what they are doing, curly hair should be cut wet. I think it helpful for a stylist to see what your hair is like dry before they wet and cut it so they have an idea with what your curl is like when it is dry.

      As far as length of layers… of course you want to get your hair to lay nicely if you are wearing it down so I’d say short layers would still apply but I think the shortest layer should not be less than 3 inches long. There will not be as much of a tapered look so you’ll want to adjust from there.

      My biggest advice is, once you find a stylist that gets curly hair, stick with him/her.

      I know I didn’t give you straight answers but I hope I helped you think through what your specific hair needs. Take care!

  5. Love this! I have been struggling with my hair for over a decade and I cannot wait to try some of these tips. Also- when I went in for a cut about 6 months ago, I asked for layers and the woman straight up told me no. She said it would look TERRIBLE and listen to her- she’s a stylist. She also berrated me for damaging my hair by blow drying and braiding too tightly (I have never owned a blow dryer and I’m a fan of the loose long braid and that’s not all that often). Needless to say, I never went back there…

    1. Frustrating! I have had so many bad haircuts! I think some stylists are just scared of curly hair because it seems like it “misbehaves”. There seems to be a predominant approach of one-size-fits-all and many treat curly hair the same as straight. Hopefully you found one who will listen to you.

      1. I have too. I part my hair to the side and if they don’t layer it correctly, when I wear it curly the one side it’s parted on will look like stairs it doesn’t blend. It’s so frustrating to find someone that can cut curly hair. And my hair is fine, but the hair dresser always wants to texture the heck out of it. Leaving me with one strand wrapped around my whole head lol.

      1. I live in Phoenix, have long curly hair & am looking for a new stylist. Please pass the name & salon along. 🙂 Getting a fall update in the next couple of weeks.

      2. I am in the Phoenix area and would love to get the name of your hairdresser who knows how to cut curly hair.

      3. I live in Mesa (near Phoenix) and I desperately need a stylist for my daughters thick, curly hair that she won’t let me have cut! If Mariane would please share her contact for a PHX based stylist, I’d be so happy! Thanks.

  6. I live in rapid city and am looking for a hairstylist that can deal with my super long curly hair! Anyway you could hook a sister up?

      1. do you know of a stylist in the phoenix arizona area that can cut curly hair well? i’m in need of a new one and i’ve experienced a lot of bad haircuts

      2. I know this is an old post and a long shot- but I live in Rapid and would love to see if said stylist is still around. Just got a haircut this afternoon and have the dreaded triangle

        1. Hi Mary!! Yes, I have an awesome stylist here in Rapid City that I adore. I’ll email you her contact information.

  7. Hi! Are you in Rapid City, SD? If so, I would love your stylists info for my daughter who has super thick, curly triangle hair…

  8. I have naturally curly long hair as well, and I have found the short layers work best too. I use Loreal’s EverCurl shampoo and conditioner for my hair. I do not have overly dry or oily hair so I shampoo and condition daily. I also blow dry daily. To achieve maximum controlled curl, I towel dry for about half hour, then I use a diffuser on low heat, low blow to dry, and then I follow up with BioSilk Serum to control frizz and define curls. Rarely do I need hairspray.

    1. Thank you for your comment Marie! Thank you for the reminder about BioSilk, I had forgotten about it but used it back in the day when straighten my hair and had major fizz issues. It helped for sure!

      1. Hi Julie! I just want to say that I like the triangle cut as well as the others! That being said-😐- am I that out of touch with haircuts and styles?? Geez Idk if I should send this or not (?) …. Oh well … God Bless!!!

        1. Ha! Thank you for your comment Rose! I guess we all have our preferences. My dislike for the triangle cut was exacerbated by the fact that I couldn’t get find someone to give me a non-triangle cut. Blessings to you as well!

  9. Hi. Found the post on Pinterest and agree with all you say here. I plan on ditching the shampoo now from what I read in your post nr 1, I already do the tricks in post 2 and 3 especially the haircut. I cut my own hair sometimes just to correct the layers the hairdresser give me. It is absolutely true, for better curls the layers need to be short.

    1. Lo – I, too, have cut my own [wavy/s’wavy w/bracket cowlicks at hairline] hair…but always in such short layers that the wave pretty much disappeared. I have now grown out my hair to longer than shoulder length and want to cut my own short layers, but keep the total length long enough to updo. Any advice on how to do this?

  10. Thank you for your wonderful advice!! Most of what you posted is helpful but for me, unfortunately, I too have dry hair but only on the ends, my roots and scalp are very oily! I can skip one day then I have to wash my hair or it looks very nasty and my scalp starts to itch. I have found if I use a paraben free or a vegan shampoo (I find them at Sally’s) that I do not have the problem with frizz or unruly hair. Also, I for some reason can not stand the feel of gel in my hair!! I have found Infusium moisture replenishing leave in conditioner works just as well as gel, I find it at Wal-Mart. (Has to be the moisture replenishing, the others do not have the same affect) I spray a good bit in my hair and make sure it is covered then let it dry or use my diffuser and it looks as if I used gel, (I need to try the ringlet method). If my hair starts to dry and I notice a frizz or problem spot I just give it a spay and gone! Day two I just spray a little more leave in conditioner in my hair and off I go. The conditioner comes in a regular bottle with a squeeze top so I just use an old spray bottle and pore it in! If you have any advice or come across any for oily/dry curly hair I would love to hear what you have! My hair is very thick as well!

  11. Hello,
    I just read through your three parts here. I have shoulder length, short layered 2c/3a-ish curls and I love them…sometimes. I also have very oily skin, so I wash my hair (with “extra moisture” shampoo) almost everyday… I know it’s bad to do, but when I don’t wash, I get flat and oily on top with dry and frizzy ends. Is there a shampoo that is okay to use? Or does washing with just conditioner work? My skin (including my scalp) is SO oily; I don’t understand how my hair can be so dry!
    Love your advice!

    1. Hi Audrey! Have you tried doing a vinegar rinse for your scalp and hair?

      Possibly you have buildup that is causing excess oils? I’m getting ready to share my clarifying rinse but it’s essentially a mixture of apple cider vinegar and conditioner. Also, I’d recommend you avoid putting conditioner at your roots and just focus the added oils/conditioner to the length of your hair.

  12. Where can you get the curly handbook? And thank you for all the advice! I have shoulder length curly hair and I love it when it cooperates. However, the underneath layers of my hair curl really nicely, but the top layer is a bunch of frizz and some pieces are completely straight. Do you have any advice? I wash my hair about every other day (I am in sports, but if I’m not then I go 3-4 days) and when I dont wash it I just condition it. I use the loreal evercurl gel and Moroccan oil every day. My mom won’t let me not wash my hair (I tried the washing with conditioner and loved it, but when my mom found out she told me I was disgusting) and she won’t let my try the AC vinegar rinse. Do you have any advice on how to convince her?

    1. Hi Karli, you can request the Curly Girl Handbook at your local library if you don’t want to buy it. It is available on Amazon if you want to have a copy to keep. There is a ton of information in the book about why shampoo isn’t necessary, and can be damaging for curly hair. I’d start with trying to get the book and show her the reasons to not using shampoo. I’m just a blogger and I think my advice may not be as helpful for her as an author and hair expert. Hope this helps and best of luck to you!

    2. I just downloaded the kindle version for $2 from Amazon. It is very helpful! Starting day 1 of embracing my curls. 🙂

  13. Thank you so much for creating a blog for REAL curls. So many pictures/blogs show heat styled curls that takes hours to achieve. I cant wait to try short layers, everyone always says long layers. There is a brand out there called Deva Curl. What do you think about them? They have a lot of products and even certify hairdressers. Im just not sure if I should trust them.

    1. Hi Lizz, thank you for your nice comments! I have heard of Deva Curl but have never tried the products so I can’t speak for them personally. Another curly-haired friend of mine tried one of their products but she did NOT like it. I can’t remember what she used, but she was disappointed. Everyone is different so I’d say give them a try. You may like what they have to offer. You could try one of their stylists, it can’t hurt. The key is to find a stylist who will listen to you and give you short layers. It’s an adventure finding the one who will take a risk and give you short layers. 🙂

      1. Deva Curl is a lovely product. It really helps keep the curl. Just weird when shampooing, no suds!!! Have enjoyed using the gel they offer, too

  14. Great blog. I have long 3B hair, what Massey calls ‘corkicelli’. It’s also very porous, something that I have come to think is almost more important than type of curl pattern. I’ve done no-poo for 8+ years now & it has improved my hair greatly. However, I still struggle with frizz & curl definition.

    I have tried Devacurl – their One Condition is truly great, gives a slippery seaweed detangling feeI. live in a cold, misty climate & the products just don’t combat humidity well enough for me. I have had several cuts from Deva trained stylists. They always cut dry, like a bonsai tree basically. I am not comfortable wi wet cutting, ever. In my experience the vast majority of stylists do -not- grasp how much shrinkage curly hair can have. That said, your cut is amazing! I’m wondering what your curl type is though, as you seem to have no issue with frizz. Is your hair 3a perhaps? My 3b curls are fine & dry, but lots of hair. Basically I need some weight from a cream, in addition to gel, or I get puffy frizz. I do agree in the shorter layers though, as long as as I can get enough weight into my hair. Ouidad, the other main curl guru is a huge believer in protein & thinning the hair, while Massey believes in moisture & cutting individual curls to make them fall better. Neither one seems to be the real answer for me.

    1. Hi aLicia! Thank you for your comment and recommendation of Devacurl! Your description of it sounds perfect for my hair and I need to try it soon.

      I recently had my hair cut dry and I have to say it was the best cut I’ve ever had. She cut my hair similar to how you described it, like a bonsai tree. I’m not kidding when I say it was revolutionary. Best haircut ever! This stylist also was adamantly against thinning with sheers which makes sense given the different weight that results from the shorter hairs.

      I *think* my curl type is somewhere between a 2C and 3A. I do have some frizz issues but that’s where Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie comes into the picture. I LOVE that stuff and it really does reduce the frizz.

  15. Pingback: Curly Hair Styling Tips - Part 2 of 3

  16. I love the tips you give about drugstore hair products – no sense in spending an arm and a leg! I “wash” with conditioner as well – I use Suave Naturals everyday. Only $2 for the family size and I go through it quick! I also love John Freida Dream Curls, Curl Perfecting Spray. I have fine hair that is weighed down by most gels – the Curl Perfecting Spray gives just enough hold and lasts through the whole day. I occasionally use the Suave Naturals conditioner as a leave in if my hair is feeling dry. Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you for your comment Mallory! I love finding budget-friendly solutions, and haircare products should cost an arm and a leg. 🙂

  17. Hi there!
    I came across your post and I am so glad I did! I am having such a hard time finding a stylist where I live (which just so happens to be Rapid City) that can cut my curly hair! What stylist did you see while living here?! Thank you so much!

      1. patricia edmond

        Omg 2017 and just found this blog: love it ….But am more in the Baby Boomers curly hair night mare Cuts!!! age group, 58 years young 🙂 and live in apple Valley Ca. Any! Stylest you can refer my way. Will travel up to hour if necessary. Really need help.
        Smiles Patricia

  18. Thanks for all the great tips. I know yoh said you went to a stylist Ft. Walton Beach. Could you send me the name or anyone else anywhere from Pensacola to there. I live very close by and need help with a proper cut. Thanks so much.

      1. I realize this is an old post. I found it on Pinterest. Could you please send me the same info re: FWB and P’cola area stylists? I live in Destin but would be willing to drive. Thanks.

  19. Hi Julie,

    I have long curly hair without any layers. I have had long layers but I didn’t think it added much to my hair. I am nervous to do the short layers because I have always found when my hair is shorter it is frizzier. I wash it daily because when I wake up it is a mess, (I wear it down to sleep – I guess that is my mistake) it never occurred to be to not wash daily! (when I blow it straight I can go 2-3 days without washing it). I feel because I use so much product in my hair, I want to wash it as well. I am certainly going to try skipping the shampoo! I do some of the same techniques that you do (never brush my curls, hand brush in shower with conditioner, towel dry etc). My current ritual for styling is to use a large palmful of mousse and then seal it with hairspray. I use cheap product because I use a lot and haven’t found that it makes much difference to use more expensive product. I just wanted to share my process and thank you for sharing yours. I am going to try some of your tips! Like you, I used to blow my curls out on a regular basis and it took a long time for me to embrace them – but I love them now! thanks for your blog

    1. Hi Julie! If you can take the plunge and go for short layers, I really think you’ll love them. 🙂 My understanding is that most frizz is from dryness or lack of product rather than the length of the cut. Without my gel, my frizz would be out of control.

      Thank you for sharing your tips as well! I’d love to hear if you get short layers and what you think about them! Take care!

  20. Hey,
    So I have curly/wavy hair. It is a pain, but you know you get what you get haha. I love the tips from parts one and two. However I have a bit of a problem with this one. I can’t have short layers. I dance and my hair has to be at a decent controllable length in order to be styled how I need it. Do you have any suggestions on what to do..other than getting it layered short anyways

    1. I’d suggest you get your shortest layer cut so you can still style it how you need to for dancing. My hair can almost always be pulled back completely, as long as I don’t do a low ponytail. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  21. Thank you so much for this post! As someone who has also been fighting my curls for years, I’m excited to give some of these a try!! Also, your comment about the triangle hair made me laugh quite a bit, my sister and I have nicknamed it “Vader-head” (in reference to Darth Vader’s helmet). 🙂

    1. It really depends Lisa. If you still need to pull your hair up, have your shortest layer cut to allow for that. I actually have very long pieces that do stick out when I do a low ponytail but I prefer that look.

  22. Great blog! You mention seeing a stylist in Fort Walton Beach, any chance you still know thir contact info?! My husband is stationed here and I would love to find someone who can cut curly hair 🙂 Thanks!

      1. Hi there! I know this is a very old post, but I to am a curly headed lady who can’t find anyone to cut properly in the Pensacola, FL area. I would love if you could recommend someone still! 🙂

        1. I’m sorry, I don’t have a recommendation but maybe someone else does. Danna is worth the trip to Fort Walton, (I’d thought about driving there from Texas – I’m not kidding).

        2. If you’re willing to travel (depending on how often you get it cut), I can recommend someone in Tallahassee! Sorry I can’t get you any closer. My stylist moved to Orlando and since I loved her and I don’t get mine cut often, I actually considered still going to her, but luckily the woman who took me over at the same salon does an excellent job, as well.

  23. Hi, could you tell me the name of the person who cut your hair in Rapid? She may not still be there but it would be nice to contact her. I mostly cut my hair myself because of the frustration and disappointments from years of bad haircuts

  24. I have extremely thick curly hair and I am going to ditch the shampoo! My hair is very dry and I am always fighting the poof! Excited to follow your advice!!

  25. I have long curly hair in Michigan so our weather never helps…it’s either so hot and humid I have a legit poofball or it’s so dry my strands get dull and flat. I haven’t found a stylist yet who hasn’t given me triangle head. One flat out refused to cut it when I showed up to my appointment! I’ll try asking for short layers and see if that works.
    For frizz control I recently found SmoothN’Shine curly hair mousse (it’s in the ethnic section of my local store). It smells great and makes my hair soft, bouncy and shiny without being greasy. I can go 3 days without washing my hair, and plus it’s only a few dollars per can. If I need to tame any flyways or moisturize the ends I use some coconut oil, which adds shine and also smells amazing.

    1. Oh I’ve been there Kelly. It’s so frustrating when a stylist refuses. One that will work with you is out there…just gotta keep looking. Thank you for the suggestions, I love hearing what other curly heads find useful!

  26. Hi Julie,
    I’m 32 and like you I had issues growing up with a mom who simply didn’t know what to do with my curls since she herself had straight hair.
    I fought for my long hair at 13 and painfully waited for it to grow. But like any curly haired teen I feel in love with a flat iron. In college my very complimented long curly hair fell victim to DIY straightener. It was death my hair brittled and fell out it was a mess! I started cutting it shorter and shorter hoping for new heathy hair. Its been 10yrs and I’ve embraced my curls! Baby hormones and time have changed the original texture but the curls are back and heres what I use:
    To wash I use a picnic ketchup squirt bottle with 2tbsp of baking soda/8oz water mix I apply slowly on my scalp rubbing circularly then I grab the length and douce it. I rinse then apply my “Rinse” with is 2tbsp apple cider vinegar/8oz water and 8 drops of vanilla essential oil. I rinse that off pat dry and while my hair is air drying I apply either almond oil or jojoba oil to tips and length.
    I haven’t used styling products in over 2 yrs but your curl twist is def something to try so Thanks!

  27. Hi, i really liked everything i read about curly hair on your blog. And i have to say it sounds very interesting! I’ve heard about no poo but never of conditioning instead of shampooing and i can’t wait to try it. I have a question though, and i really hope u have something to help me! My natural hair color is dark brown, i dye my hair to look like a natural red and i have to say, boy do i love it. But, even though i dye it just once a month or every other month, sometimes my curls get loosen up a little and that i don’t like. Is there any way i can keep my curls looks bouncy and healthy even after dyeing it?

  28. I have the whole angled bob going and I have very thick, cours, curly hair. I love my cut. I get compliments daily. The key to this cute and trendy cut is to tell the stylist you don’t want a shelf look in the back. It’s a great cut but the person with scissors in their hands can mess it up quickly. She thins “pieces” with a razor. It works. Also I use wen on my hair for “poo”. It’s pricey but I only wash twice weekly. Thanks for your post

  29. I love your tips. I can’t wait to not “shampoo.” I have very itchy scalp especially on the second day. Do you think not “shampooing” will help with this? Thanks for your tips. I’ve had short cuts growing up to tame my curls. My mom even gave me the dreaded perm which caused my hair to Afro. My mother was a hairdresser & I started running from her in middle school. I can’t wait to try this method!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    1. I’m not sure Kellie but you sure can try it! I scrub my scalp with the conditioner and that may be just what you need. Hope this helps. Oh and you cracked me up about your mom. God love her, I’m so grateful my mom didn’t have more tools! Haha!

  30. Yes, never ever use thinning shears or razors on curly hair. Ask me how I know…uuggh. This is what I have finally found works to tell stylists, no matter who it is they seem to get it, after many years of trial and error. “I need lots of layers, some call them round layers others call it 180 (as in 180 degrees from crown). The first layer needs to start at my jaw line. I don’t want any definite lines between the layers, and no point at the back, just a nice smile line along the bottom.” Always check it before you leave and if it’s not enough layers, they can always go back and cut in more.

  31. Hi Julie,
    I came across your blog randomly on an internet search of curly hair tips. Thanks for your insight!
    Also, incredibly, I recently moved to Fort Walton Beach, FL and am in search for a hair stylist. I saw that you had a favorite stylist here. Any chance you can get me the contact info for that stylist?

    1. Will email you her information Melissa! Really miss her as I haven’t been able to get a similar cut here in San Antonio.

      1. did I just read you live in San Antonio? Any luck on someone who knows how to cut curly wavy hair in sa? I sure haven’t. Sooooo frustrated.

  32. Natalie mcdaniel

    ive had really thick wavy / curly hair my whole life but the hairdresser never cuts it right and theres never alot to do with my hair what is your opinion on haircuts for dark brown hair thats thick and is naturally wavy / curly

  33. Hello!
    I just found your blog via a link on pinterest. Great tips! I’m definitely going to try some of them. I am wondering something though…. My hair is long and curly and I get the “triangle effect” because there are no layers. I had never thought about getting short layers but it actually makes a lot of sense and I kind of want to try it. However, only the top section of my hair is curly…. the hair underneath is straight. Would getting short layers in the top section of my hair me a bad idea (because it would expose the straight hair underneath)? Do you think it stays straight underneath BECAUSE there are no layers? I’m just scared that I’ll end up with something like a mullet if I get it layered. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks again for the post! 🙂

    1. Hi Emily…I have straight hair underneath too. I usually have them cut that hair shorter so it stays relatively hidden underneath my curls. Hope this helps!

  34. Interesting…I have wavy/curly hair and recently got a dry cut with lots of short layers, but am unhappy with it. The stylist said he did it to take off all the extra weight and the “triangle head” effect, which I totally understand. But now I feel like I have a mullet — short & thick on top, and long & wispy down the back. It sticks out in weird places. It’s even refused to curl since I got the cut, and I really don’t know why. Sigh. The hunt for the right cut continues.

    1. Sounds like maybe he didn’t do enough of a gradual layering down to the longest layers. There should definitely be a cascading effect from the short layers down to the longest length.

  35. Ok so I just read your blog and loved part 1 and 2! Um but I’m in high school and I have very long thick curly hair, and in middle school my mom had it cut to my shoulders got 3-4 inch layers and it was a poofed up mess! I’ve been growing it out since and it’s now super long! (Almost waist length) But now I want it like shorter and even after reading and rereading this blog, I’m not sure if short layers are the right thing? I don’t know! Help please?

    1. Short layers are still a great thing for curly hair. Even shoulder length, short layers would be appropriate! I have a friend who did that recently and her hair is still gorgeous and lays nicely. Best wishes!

  36. Lindsey hillyard

    Hi Julie! I live in Fort Walton Beach and I got excited about your post even more when you said that someone here gave you a great cut for curly hair! I’m so overdue for a haircut for my curly hair but am always afraid when trying someone new. Anyway you could refer that hair stylist to me? I’d love to get it cut before I do some maternity pics (due August 27 with my first. So excited!) Thank you for your awesome blog. I’m going to try doing no POO 🙂

  37. Love the blog! As a fellow curly head, I recently had a life-changing experience with a Deva cut! I had it done about six weeks ago and have never, ever loved my hair so much. I NEVER wore my hair down before (it resembled sheep’s fur, IMO) and now I wear it down almost every day. I actually uttered this sentence to my husband a couple of days ago while looking in the mirror, “This haircut is the best thing I ever did.” Exaggeration? Perhaps, but it is life-changing (*I say this because it’s made me feel prettier and, frankly, that’s important to a woman). A Deva cut is done with dry hair, which is very, very important. They also teach you how to wash and style and for me it’s worked so well – I personally love the products. A lot of the techniques are similar to yours 🙂 I wash with the Low-poo shampoo once a week, leave 1/2 of the conditioner in, then put in a a lot of the Ultra Defining Gel when it’s wet, let’s air dry and separate girls a bit once it’s dry. I also usually set with the Set it Free spray (made with bees wax) which, again, I LOVE. I would definitely suggest all curly girls look into this haircut!!!

    1. Hahaha! Love it Jen! The stylist who cut my hair in Florida actually did something very similar sounding to a Deva cut. She cut my hair dry and it was pretty amazing! Thank you for the product recommendations! I’m always looking for new products to try and improve on.

  38. HA HA so funny that I have finally found someone that shares my problem. Although, I call it “Christmas tree hair”. Beauticians think they know best, but if they do not have naturally curly hair, they haven’t a clue!!!

  39. Hi Julie, I just read your 3 part blog and I’m going to try the no-poo trick. I suffer from seborrheic dermatitis so I do worry about build up of dandruff without the use of a dandruff shampoo. I have tried ACV rinses before to get more shine and it makes my my scalp burn so I will try the sugar scrub. I also have used baking soda mixed with my shampoo to remove build up so I want to try that with the conditioner too. Also, I live in fort walton beach and was wondering what the name of that stylist is and if you know where to contact her. Thanks!

  40. Hi, my names Shaylah. I’ve always hated my curly hair. If I have it down, it has to be braided or half up half down and even then it bothers me. The thing with my hair is I don’t have a load of split ends, but I used to straighten my hair a lot, and I mean a lot. But I didn’t use any heat protectant. My hair used to be really healthy with loads of ringlets and I think the heat damaged it a lot. It seems to be really poofy and the top layer of my hair never seems to form ringlets. A lot of it doesn’t define into a curl, if that makes any sense. It just poofs. Any advice on what I’d need to do to fix this?

  41. I find it easier if I straighten my curly hair BEFORE I get my hair cut In short layers. It always comes out beautiful! And also I have stopped using shampoo, I use Wen, and other Co – washes that I have found that are much cheaper and I use Garnier strong spray gel..really pumps up my curls right after towel drying. 🙂

  42. Great article! I have long, very curly and fine hair. I definitely keep short layers but I can not use treseme’ it gives me a terrible rash, the only thing I’ve been able to use is Biolage Balm, or the knock off from Sally’s when I can get it. I use the Biolage gelee’ for my gel. Yes its spendy but you don’t need a lot (of the gelee) so it lasts me almost three months. I have recently tried sea salt spray and love it! I only use it right after I gel my hair from the shower..otherwise I get the crispy hair that most of us natural curly girls hate!
    I have three girls, two of which are on track to have my hair….I have sworn an oath to make sure they know how to manage the curls! I, like you, went most of my life looking like a boy or a wild amazon woman. Here’s to the next generation of curly ladies!

    1. Thank you for the product recommendations!! I love having options! 🙂 I recently switched to Costco’s conditioner and love it so far!

      Yay for little curly girls that will not suffer as we did!

  43. Thank you Julie!!!!!! I’ve maybe had one good haircut in my life. I wrote down what your stylist said. I was doubting the thinning sheers thing, then you answered my question with what another stylist said. So it does need to be thinned with slide cutting or does it need to be thinned at all?
    Thank you again!
    Vanesa 🙂

    1. Thank you Vanessa! The last person who cut my hair, did NOT thin at all. But she cut my hair dry and made sure it laid nicely. I’ve had it done both ways, (thinned or not) it really just depends. Purists will say NEVER ever thin curly hair but I’ve had it done in the past with good results. (how is that for being vague – LOL)

  44. Every head of hair is different and every amount of curl is different. There are no ‘rules’ for haircuts for curly, or for that matter, straight hair. Things like humidity, highlighted or virgin hair, medication, your water, hormones and products you use make your hair act in very different ways. I was a stylist for 25 years and can tell you that you need to find someone who can understand your hair and cut it for your face shape and amount of work you want to put into it.

    1. You are right eILEEN, there are MANY factors to consider in determining the care and style of cut for ANY hair. However I don’t think we need to overcomplicate the matter either. 🙂 While what you say is true about finding someone who understands your hair, I believe that you understand your own hair far better than any stylist. I’ve also found that not many stylists are skilled with curly hair, just my experience and hundreds of readers who’ve emailed me and commented.

      But thank you for your comment. This is not meant to be a one size fits all post but rather a starting point for those who are struggling with their natural curls.

  45. Julie,

    After over 50 years of shiny, sleek absolutely straight hair I suddenly found myself the owner of naturally curly hair! (What the heck right?) I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. A lot of reading and asking perfect strangers with great curls got me halfway there. My hair was a little better and less frizzy but I still had serious triangle hair!

    Just two week before reading your post, I had driven a 5 hour round trip to my nearest big city for a “good haircut” at a well known salon but I was still not happy at all and seriously frustrated. I was about to give in to age and cut off all the length that my husband loved when in one last ditch effort for an answer I hit Pinterest and found your post. You were so convincing that I took the 5 hour drive again, this time insisting on short layers.

    I LOVE IT! Short layers is exactly what I was looking for!! It was the final piece to the puzzle for really pretty, well-behaved, bouncy, soft, natural curls! Listen to her ladies–SHORT LAYERS! (That and DON’T touch it AT ALL while it dries–tough for a girl who spent 50 years running her fingers through her hair all the time and brushing it 15 times a day!)

    Thanks so so very much Julie for taking the time to write your posts on the care and feeding of naturally curly hair. Even the photos made a difference! (I showed them to my stylist) Now I actually love my new curls and am very much looking forward to the second half of my life, this time around as a curly girl! You put a huge smile on my face again! Thank you thank you!!!

    1. Thank you!!! Your comment brightened my day! I’m so very grateful you got the cut you were looking for and I got to be a part of it!!

  46. Thanks for all the info. My stylist always told me long layers!!!!! I am inspired and takin the plunge for short layers ASAP!!!!!! I have long thick curly hair. Excited to see the difference.

  47. I love the curly-crowdsourcing going on here. So true about short layers. I’ve been using Curls Rock + Biolage Gelee for years and am a big fan. Does anyone know a curl-friendly stylist in the Kansas City area?

  48. Thank you for this blog. Finally…a solution to the triangle. 🙂 I’m going to try the short layers as I’ve tried long and still ended up with the triangle.

    Does anyone know a curly hair expert stylist in Austin, TX

    1. Thank you for the tips. I always went with the longer layers because I need to be able to put hair up. Due to triangle head I end up always wearing the pony tail:( I do stay away from the thinning sheers and have to pay attention or stylist will thin away, that makes the frizz worse.

      I would love to find a stylist here in FWB/Pensacola area that is comfortable and knowledgable with naturally “frizzy” hair. I did the Brazilian blowout the first yr in FL, then the Keratin treatment (not as impressed), & this yr I had a hard time finding someone in area to do Brazilian blowout.

      I would love to embrace my curls and go without the time it takes to either straighten my hair or do a pony tail with wispy wings.

      1. Hi Debbie, I just put UPDATE #2 at the bottom of the post with my stylist, Danna’s information. Danna is so talented and I’m sure you’ll love her!

  49. My stylist gives me long layers, but cuts so that the bottom appears to angle in, not pyramid out. Maybe because she uses thinning shears on the ends during the cut instead of to actually thin out all over, like a stylist I had when I was a kid. She also gives me three layers, not just two, so I get more body out if the cut.

  50. I’m offended by the first paragraph you wrote and I saw, a lot I found offensive. I am a hairstylist . You basically said no stylist knows how to deal with your type of hair. That statement is false. Obbiously you must have went to a great clips or hair cuttery with someone less experienced and dubbed all hairstylists unknowing of their job that they pay a lot of money for education and work hard for many hours to receive their licenses. With any job each individual gets back what they put into it. If they would like to know about curly hair or whatever kind it would be in them to teach themselves. Maybe instead of assuming you should have asked questions first, like idk maybe do you know how to work with curly hair and not assuming. We know what we say about people who assume things. Second off drugstore brands are not good for your hair you should use only salon professional product or natural remedies. Ones you do get from drug stores are tampered with or old and many stylists are fighting with this right now. Idk what your other two stories were about but I can’t imagine the advice you gave when I couldn’t even get through two paragraphs of this with biased comments. Not a blog I would follow or read again. And I’m deff sharing this and your story. Ridiculous

    1. There is a belief among stylists that when dealing with out of control curls, you want the weight of your hair tame your haIr….this is the comment I meant that it’s false and insulting and untrue.

    2. You are free to have a different opinion from mine Rachel and that is a beautiful thing. 🙂

      You made a BIG assumption about me…you assumed that I went to a cuttery or Great Clips (which is certainly NOT the case). I asked those questions you brought up such as, “Do you have experience working with curly hair?”

      You concluded that I said EVERY stylist believes the weight of hair is what will control curls. I don’t believe this as I’ve had several amazing stylists that knew exactly what to do with curly hair and knew to not weigh it down. Mind you, one of the worst haircuts I got was from a very experienced stylist who said she knew what to do with curly hair. Fact.

      I’m not sure how you could be so offended by my personal experience. Truly, I’m offended by how many bad (and expensive) haircuts I’ve gotten through the years. 🙂 But the internet is mighty big space so feel free to explore other websites. I take no offense and I wish you well in your career and life.

    3. Rachel-
      I think u took this site completely wrong!!! I was raised by a hairstylist and spent my childhood in a salon… So I have the utmost respect for the hairstylists. But as my grandmother would be the first to admit- not all hair is the same. A lot of people look at other peoples hair and styles and of course…. Want to look like that. She often had to remind me that most styles I like WILL NEVER happen with my hair. A lot of stylists (even high quality) have a hard time explaining that or don’t understand my hair and think it can be done. I was always afraid to do a lot of layers and thought long layers would work, when all said n done- disappointment yet again. Was it the stylists fault, no…. I got exactly what I asked for. Unfortunately I didn’t know what to ask for. Moving a lot makes it difficult to find a stylist u feel comfortable with, referrals are always nice (especially with someone who has similar hair to your own). So I learned a lot and appreciate the referral. I had nothing against my current stylist, but she didn’t impress me either.

  51. My hair is a little bit curlier than yours and I never can do second day hair…
    I was wondering about the layered hair cut you have. I have had 1 big layer of curl my whole life, but as it is still pretty I am bored and want to try something new, however, I do not want to thin my hair. Can I still achieve the same sort of look with out thinning and avoiding triangle head?

    Thank for all the info on products and how-to’s


    1. I’m not a professional, but yes, I think you could definitely achieve similar results without thinning. My stylist in Florida doesn’t thin hair at all. Hope this helps and thank you for visiting!

  52. I now live in the Rapid City, SD area – do you have a recommendation for a hairstylist here? I would love to see someone who understands curls!

  53. Just found your blog on Pinterest. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my curly hair my whole life. Decided in the last two years to quit trying to fight and control my curls and embrace them instead! Will definitely try your tips, especially about stylists and cuts! As far as products go, I found the Miss Jessie line at Target and fell in love!!!!! It’s on the pricier side ($22 for a tube of gel or cream, more for a container of the curly pudding). One container has lasted over a year though because a little but of product goes a long way. I live in south Louisiana where humidity is a year round problem. These products are literally wash and go! No drying or further styling required! I LOVE THEM!

  54. Growing up having curly hair and a mom that straight hair, (mom had no idea what to do with it) my head was ALWAYS a huge fuzz ball. I have finally learned the tricks to frizz free curls! After showering comb through your hair with a fine brush to tame all the frizz! Put your favorite mousse in your hair and scrunch your curls. Then use a flour sac towel or birdseye towel to dry your hair in. The trick to this is-laying it on the floor, and setting your hair in the towel so you can see your curls spiral into the towel. Tuck the ends of the towel so your hair stays put while you get ready for the day. Then take towel out, if your hair doesn’t dry fast (like mine) scrunch sections of your hair with the blow dryer to it on low/medium heat.

  55. Hi Julie,
    My hair is thin and I don’t have the big curls. I have the smaller curls. Like ringlets. Would you still recommend short layers? I’ve gotten the long layers and it looks pretty good. Just as you said my stylist told me to do long layers instead of short because it’ll make my hair poofy. My hair is really long now (down to my waist – longest it’s ever been!) and i want to get it cut. Don’t know what to do tho. I’ve always had the same haircut up until a year ago when i got the long layers. I’d say my hair is prob half the thickness of yours.
    Thank you!

    1. If you want to try something new, I’d still recommend the short layers for you. (keep in mind – I’m not a stylist) I have a close friend who has curlier hair than I do. Her hair is quite a bit thinner than mine and it looks beautiful with the short layers. She separates out ringlets out more after she’s done styling to give it more body.

  56. Hi Julie! My hair is literally just like yours. When I see the pictures of your hair, it can look exactly like mine (except mine’s a different color). Every day I shampoo and condition my hair, then I use mousse, curling cream, hydrating oil, and hairspray. I know. Worst combo ever. I really like the shampoo/conditioner I have. It’s Frizz Ease Curl Defining Shampoo and then the Conditioner. I can cut back to shampooing only every other day, which would probably help a lot. The brand of mousse I use is Got2B Kinkier. I’ve really liked it a lot, and I’ve been happy. I’m going to use my wide tooth comb more. I also use Johnson’s Detangler. What other products should I use? (That I can get at CVS). I definitely want a hydrating oil of some kind. I also want a gel, I’ve been thinking the one by Got2B (I like the advertising and commercials). What else should I do? I’m 15 years old, and I try to wake up at 5am for school everyday, and I leave at 7. I get out of the shower by 6 (no I don’t take an hour shower, I just don’t wake up) then have breakfast and start getting ready at 6:30am. In that half hour I take my hair out of my turbie-twist, and completely do hair, make up, and get dressed. I don’t use a diffuser, or blow dry my hair. What do you suggest? Also I’m wondering, does dry shampoo work for the curly haired? It would help, especially on the many days I oversleep (until 6:40) and don’t have time. Thank you very much!!!!

    1. Hi Jackie, I can really only recommend the products that I’ve outlined in this post since these are the products I have experience with. That post should answer many of your questions.

      My thought on dry shampoo for curly hair is that it would be frizzy or very goofy if you combed the dry shampoo through My best recommendation is that you buy a diffuser. Think it’s be best solution honestly. Hope this all helps!

  57. Great tips! I already do nopoo and it works nicely with my “way too thick” hair! I’m going to try the short layers, using the exact quote from your stylist. One question though: how does the whole effect look with short layers if you straighten your hair? Not that I would let this be a deal breaker. Let’s face it, I really only straighten my hair a handful of times each year anyway.

  58. For those looking for products that work, I can recommend the Marrakesh line from Earthly Body ( I’ve had great success with it over the last two to three years. I started using only the oil (I was the guinea pig for my stylist because it was a new product then) and was really happy with it; then I tried the shampoo and conditioner (now called Marrakesh Nourish) as well and fell absolutely in love with it. After almost 30 years, or the first time since my curly hair appeared (when I was 10 and decided I wanted my string-straight waist-length hair cut short . . . and yes, I was absolutely distraught because I like my straight hair and, unlike most girls, never, ever, ever wanted curly or even wavy hair), I don’t have frizz and I don’t have to fight with it. It also works great on my crown, where my hair is damaged from a childhood accident and I have almost twice as much hair that can be very wiry. It can be a bit pricey, but the oil lasts quite a while because you don’t need much, and if you watch the website, you can take advantage of the 2-to-3-times-a-year bo-go sales, which is when I stock up.

    For reference, I have 3b hair–thick, coarse, and tons of it!–currently cut in a style very similar to the cover image of the /Curly Girl Handbook/ in post 1–in fact, that’s what my curls look like too–modified bob with a slight angle toward the jawline, lots of layers, and a stacked wedge in the back because my hair is too heavy and bothers me so it ends up in a ponytail otherwise. My stylist uses the thinning comb–not shears–on the last inch or so every 2 to 3 cuts just to lengthen the life of my cut (otherwise, I’d be in every two weeks). I wash it every 3 days.

    From my experience, work with your (trusted!) stylist to create a cut that works for you. Start with what you think you want; then, when you go the next time, let your stylist know what does and doesn’t work about the cut, because he or she will probably have ideas about how to adjust it. My stylist (I should say stylists because all the stylists at the salon I go have cut my hair and each does great work with wavy/curly hair–shoutout for the stylists at Hair Express, Lancaster, PA!) and I have tried lots of tweaks and even if a cut didn’t work the way I’d hoped, it always looked great.

    And keep changing stylists until you find one you trust!! I can’t stress that enough. The same stylist who cut my hair when it decided to curl took care of me for about another 10 years. After moving to Lancaster, PA, I searched for 4 or 5 years before finding a salon I felt safe at, and that was after a $90 cut that was an inch shorter on one side because the stylist didn’t believe me that the left side curls much more when wet than the right does, cuts that had long layers when I’d ask for short, and a stylist who was so uncomfortable at the thought of cutting my hair, she told me up front, “If you had ethnic hair, I’d know what to do with it, but this . . . this curl is baffling!” What a relief her honesty was! I thanked her, tipped her, and went on my merry way.

    Above all, have faith. If I can come to a truce with my curly hair, anyone can! 🙂

  59. I live in Augusta Georgia, I have thin natural curly hair….can anyone recommend a hairdresser that REALLY understands how cut my hair….frustrated!

  60. looking for someone for cutting & coloring thick curly hair in phoenix scottsdale. i have been letting hair grow and have shoulder length triangle head!

  61. You have NO idea how excited I was to find this via Google! I live about 2.5 hours south of Rapid in a small, rural area, and have been scared about my next hair cut. I just finally got the best curl cut of my life last October (while on my honeymoon 6 hours away) and don’t want to go to anyone in the area and get the traditional “straight cut” I’ve had for 27 years. Just getting my layers fixed and my hair amazing, and then the threat of having to return to the same routine broke my heart. Knowing there’s someone who understands curls that is so “close” is a lifesaver!

      1. Do you have a recommendation on how long you should get trims for curly hair? I have full blown, type 3 Botticelli curls and used to be able to go about 8 weeks before the ends were toast. I started using JessiCurl products and so far it’s been 6 months and I’m just starting to notice a few dry, split ends. Was kind of thinking of getting a trim in March…any personal preference on how long you can go to get the maximum growth out of your hair without losing quality? 🙂

  62. I’ve been told to NOT have a stylist take thinning shears to my curly hair it ruins my hair for the next hair cut and can cause split ends. This was what my hairdresser that I’ve had for the last 7 years told me. It must be true for my hair because it hasn’t seen thin shears in 8 years and it’s growing like a weed. I’m going to try talking my hairdresser in to short layers she is stuck in that long layers makes the curls look better if it’s long and a round shape makes short hair styles for curly hair look better, the short round shape makes it look like helmet curl head. Ugh!

  63. I’m hoping someone will happen to see this and answer my question. Whenever I cut my hair above my shoulders it poofs up. I would really love a pixie cut or long bob, can I get layers with these cuts? How would I be able to maintain these cuts and not have an afro or triangle hair if I cannot have layers?

    1. Mine isn’t so thick, but I have had shorter styles with layers and it works perfectly. Just remember that if you want it to fall to your shoulders, you probably need it cut (when straight) to a couple inches longer than your shoulders and it will curl up to that length. I lose a good 6 inches to my curl!

    2. As a retired hair stylist who also has naturally wavy/nappy/curly hair depending on humidity level that day, I must say I really sympathize with so many of these ladies who yearn for a stylish cut from an intuitive, or at least understanding, hair stylist.
      But I especially want to address Jillian’s question: Yes, you can have layers – in fact, WILL have layers in both Pixie or Bob styles. Both styles have some degree of layering, in fact, I would say that the Pixie is nothing BUT layers! Which gives it that tousled, impish look. A nice rounded Bob will have subtle layers in it that don’t show in the final style.
      The problem, as I see it, having had quality training by hands-on teachers and oodles of continuing education over those past decades, is that lots of newer stylists don’t seem to be taught how to layer very well, nor made to understand that they are actually SCULPTING a moving, pliable medium that grows. (Your hair)
      With Jillian’s hair, I suspect her hair is fine (thin, delicate hair shafts) and when it was cut, it may have been too drippy wet. Consequently, when it dried, and if it didn’t have enough moisturizing product on it…Boingg! It contracted up and out.
      Keep in mind, besides many types of curly hair, we also need to know whether each of our hair shafts is extra fine, fine, medium, medium-course, or course! This is called our hair’s TEXTURE, and it’s very important in the care and feeding, and ultimately the success of our hairstyle, to understand what hair texture WE own.
      For a reference point, since she took such good photos of her hair, but without having felt it, I think Julie’s hair is medium-course to course. Hence, she can successfully pull off that lovely many layered, long curly hair. That is also why she can ‘NoPoo’ it with a cheap conditioner (sorry Julie, but it is!) and the hair strands hold up like little mini Herculie’s under all that build up of waxes, etc. Plus, Julie looks to have tremendous hair density (hairs growing per square inch of scalp) She’s truly got the perfect hair for that long curly look.

      Not all of us have all these biological factors on one lucky little head. Sigh.
      Me, my daughter, and one granddaughter (poor us) have very fine to medium-fine curly wavy hair with low density that cannot be left to grow that long. Also, too much product of any kind turns our hair into a limp, gunky, flat mess! Us skinny-haired gals must have frequent high protein deep conditionings, using a good, i.e professional, product, that’s left on for 20 min. under a plastic cap, finished off with a light moisture creme rinse, and light mousse or gel.
      So learn your hair texture, plus density, plus type of curly-ness and make sure you find a hairstylist that clearly understands these factors as well. (Hey, did anyone promise you that life would be easy?) Any hairdresser worth his/her tip should be able to diagnose these things. Good Luck & God Bless.

      1. P.S. One more thing; When your hair cutter is cutting those layers, they should be taking little, THIN sections of hair at a time, not large clumps of hair between their fingers.
        They should be slow and meticulous, working around the head. Good layering can’t be rushed through.

      2. Sharon! You are amazing!! Thank you so much for your extremely helpful comment!!!

        You are right…my conditioner is cheap, my hair is medium-coarse, and it is very thick!! Spot on!

        You’ve added so much value to this post and I’m going to take a picture of your comment so I can edit this post! Truly a huge help to Jillian and others navigating curly hair. Blessings to you!

  64. Hi I have really thick curly hair which is always frizzy… I asked my hair stylist for the hair cut that u suggested and she did it and it feels so much lighter and better I just wanted to say thanks!

  65. Julie, thanks for the specific directions on cutting curly hair. I have very thick curly hair and have been arguing with my hair stylist for 3 years. I keep asking him to cut my layers shorter and he says it’s going to make it more full. I’m getting my hair done tomorrow and I’m going to use your instructions. As far as products go, I have used most of the products listed above. The Marc Anthony strictly curls line is the best product I have found and it’s inexpensive.

  66. Pingback: Curly Hair Tips and Tricks! - Our View Through BlueOur View Through Blue

  67. Hey there! I read all three of your parts to caring for curly hair, and I appreciate them all so much 🙂 I have curly hair that sits in a bun most of the time because I get so frustrated with it. This advice is awesome! Thank you!! Also, I was shocked to see your bit about Rapid City… I am a native of South Dakota and love meeting other people who know it too!! 🙂

  68. Hi Julie,
    I love all your advice about washing, styling, cutting and products for curly hair. – I have some layering in my VERY thick, medium-length curly hair, and would like to give the shorter layers a try. However I am very afraid of ending up with what I call “poodle ears”- too much bulk on the sides. Would you be so kind as to send me a contact # of a hairdresser in Scottsdale/Phoenix area that is competent in styling curly hair? Thanks

  69. I am so grateful to know someone else shares my pain! (I was born into a family where the last person with naturally curly hair died waaaay before I was born, and therefore experienced a childhood hair saga similar to yours.) I happen to be in exotic love with Ouidad’s Moisture Lock leave-in conditioner and Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Creme. The only downside of the products is that they weren’t available when I first started trying to return my hair to its former spiraled glory. Then again, if they had been, I probably wouldn’t be as appreciative of them as I am. I’m pinning this post to my hair board so I can pull up your cut/style instructions at my next hair appointment. Thanks for putting it out there!

  70. Thanks for the great article. I have thick, naturally curly hair and had a hairdresser trek me the only way to tame my mane was to thin it with shears. Through luck, I found an *AMAZING* hairdresser in my hometown of Tampa, FL who cuts my hair beautifully with layers.

    As part of my hair care routine, I found that Johnson & Johnson detangler works well after I’ve been out in the heat and humidity. For shampoo I use TIGI Bed Head Urban anti-dotes level 2, and TIGI Bed Head Colour Goddess (for reds/brunettes) as conditioner.

    I’m NOT a morning person, so my routine is pretty simple. I wash my hair at night and wrap in a towel. In the morning, I spritz with water, add Tresamme flawless curls mousse, add a curl scrunch gel, and found that Tresamme curl locking spray (when i can find it) works best at holding my style in Florida’s high heat and high humidity.

  71. I read parts 1-3 & I can honestly say you’ve changed my life! These more than helpful tips are going to help rejuvenate my curls. No more triangle head hair for me!! Lol

  72. Julie,
    Please help me with this life long battle.
    My hair sits just over my shoulders when dry, right now it looks like the classic triangle.
    I’m going to get the short layers but I’m unsure of what to tell my hair dresser. where do the layers start, how far apart and how many?

    1. So I’m waaaay late in responding, but I’d ask your stylist to give you a haircut with your hair dry so you can see how it lays. Short hair is uncharted territory for me.

  73. Love your tips! I am definitely going to try the products you recommend. I am grateful to FINALLY have found a stylist near me who knows what to doo with curly hair because she has really curly hair. Here’s a video she made with her tips:

    She cuts my hair using a technique she calls bonsai. She had me chome in with recently washed, styled, and dried-curly hair and then cuts each ringlet individually, including short layers! She said cutting individual curls helps encourage those curls even more. I can definitely tell a difference.

    If anyone lives in the Owosso, Michigan, area, check out Smith and Voss Salon

  74. Thank you for posting this. I am a hairdresser myself and cannot get a hair cut in my own salon because know one wants to cut short layers. I hate it when people come in and have been thinned and razored. You cannot do that to curly hair. Thank you for posting.

  75. Hi! I really enjoyed reading your posts about curly hair. I have 3b hair, very fine, dry, and thin. I finally have a good “curly girl” routine down for my hair and I’m eager to grow it long like yours. However, I have not had much luck in finding an experienced curly hairstylist. In fact, my last cut created breakage near my crown because she combed the heck out of it (aaahh!!) while it was damp. not. good. So my question is how/where do I find a good stylist? When I call salons I tell them that I have very curly hair and they often say, “Everyone here knows how to cut curly hair.” We (aka curly-girls) are skeptical of that statement. Thanks for your time 🙂

  76. Thank you for this! I am dealing with a little triangle head right now, and I have an appointment Thursday so I want to be prepared. The only reason I have steered away from the short layers in the past was because I occasionally straighten it. Do you ever straighten your hair, and if so how do you like it with the short layers?

    1. I have my hair in a long angled bob right now so I can’t attest to how it is when it’s straightened. I imagine it would have looked nice straight with all the layers. 🙂

  77. Yes!!! I moved to a new city 8 months ago and this is only he 2nd attempt at a haircut because of all the issues you know about oh-so-well. Second stylist and second hack job :/ I have an appointment later for a different stylist to try to correct the cut from this morning. So sad 🙁 Looks like I’m ending up with super short hair. I hate moving when I FINALLY, after 25 years, found someone who could cut my hair. Ughhhhh. This is really helpful for my next attempt. I’ll be sure to give these directions to the stylist and make sure she agrees and understands before proceeding!!!

  78. This post ( and the other 2 ) are printed and placed in my beauty folder. I am 47 and just now embracing my naturally curly hair! If only I had known how to make it beautiful instead of going against the grain. Or curl I should say! This process began a FEW years back. NAd am now loving my hair. One thing that has helped me SUPREMELY is I take a pipe cleaner with me for my layers! lol Seriously! After a visit to my wonderful local hairdresser, ( I WILL DIE IF SHE EVER MOVES!! ) my haircut was PERFECT!!! I actually got a pipe cleaner out and took a lock of my first layer and cut the pipe cleaner to match. To this day, I yank out that pipe cleaner and its cut perfectly. If I dont yank it out fast enough, even my hairdresser asks for it! She loves the idea ~ says it takes all the guess work out. 😉 IT WORKS <3

  79. So glad i found this on Google. I live in Rapid City too. After 30 yrs of straightening my hair I learn to love my curl! I’m scared of getting a haircut in town. I even cut my own hair with the curly girl book technique! But I’m in need of a “real” cut and gray maintenance. I will be giving Shayla a try. Thank you!

  80. *applause*

    Stylists are so afraid to cut short layers into my hair. They think they know more about my hair than I do and insist that the shorter layers will curl too much. I was devastated when my current stylist moves 3 1/2 hours away, but I was lucky that someone just as good took over for her.

  81. Hi ! First of all, thank you so much for your 3 posts about curly hair ! I have curly hair myself (I have fine hair and the frustrating thing is some parts on the back are 2b, and elsewhere it’s just a mix of 3a and 3b), and I was thrilled to read all your tips to take care of curly hair. I just have a little problem with this third post… English is not my first language as you might have guessed from my message, and I have trouble understanding what you mean about short layers (that is worse with your stylist’s instructions but that’s pro language so I guess it’s normal). I want to get a haircut (God knows I need to do that…), but I’m always so scared about what I’ll get because most of the time it doesn’t really look good when my hair is curly. Would it be possible to explain it to me in other words ? If not, thanks anyway for taking the time to read this.
    Also, I thought about cutting my hair shorter too (right now the length is at almost half my back) because it takes so much time to dry in the winter without a blowdryer, but on most of the pictures of short curly haircuts I see it is obvious that they used curling iron for styling and in my experience naturally curly hair doesn’t look the same at all with those haircuts. Do you have some short curly haircuts ideas to share ?
    Thanks again for everything ! 🙂

    1. I am so sorry Sarah, but I’m not sure how else to word the directions (since I’m not a professional). Maybe someone else will chime in on what the terms mean but state them in a different way for you.

      As far as short curly hair ideas…it’s funny you ask. My hair is short now. Well not really short, but it is shoulder length and I have to be honest and say I’m not a huge fan. I’m looking for the right stylist to fix some of the layering that was done, (and I’m honestly missing my long hair). If I’m going out for something professional or a date with my husband, I curl it. Definitely not the low-maintenance I was looking for.

      But I do have plans to post some short curly hair style ideas in the near future. Thanks for stopping by (and your English was superb)! 🙂

  82. I wanted to thank you for your suggestions! I had the frizz head through most of my growing up and my mom (who had poker straight hair) would blow dry it out. Finally my senior year we discovered (completely by accident) that my hair was actually curly! Through a lot of trial and error, I began playing with different products, but never had layers, just the triangle head with bangs. LOL I did have hair that came down to nearly my waist and was cut straight across. One day, 6-7 years later, I decided I wanted to experiment with layers to give it a little fuller look. I went to a stylist and told her I wanted layers but to keep the length. She didn’t listen well and ended up taking off nearly 8 inches off my hair and giving me layers. At first I was devastated…but then, when I started to style it, I quickly realized it was the best “mistake” I had ever made! My hair was beautiful and full and healthy! And now, 15 years later, with hair down to almost middle of my back, I’ve got the short layered look for years and haven’t looked back!
    My latest discovery is using products (I personally use Suave) with Moraccan Oil in them! I LOVE Moraccan Oil!!! It have really helped with hydration! I use it in the conditioner as well as in the actual oil (and I’ve even turned to it in my skin lotions now!). My hair is much more healthy. I also use a light leave in conditioner (Suave as well). I also love volumizing mousse (but I use a lot of it) because it gives the curls a little lift with control followed by hairspray. But this technique doesn’t work for my daughter who has much tighter curls than I do, so I’m going to try your products and see if them help with the frizz.

    So glad someone is finally helping curly haired women find our place in the world of beautiful locks!!!

    1. Yes!!! So glad you had your “mistake”! 🙂 I think so many curly-headed ladies are walking around hating their hair when it’s really just a matter of finding product and style that works for them! Hope you find some help for your daughter and she can embrace her curls too! Thanks for stopping by!

  83. Hi! Nice to hear advice from other curly haired gals. ~ I just learned many of the things you mentioned Julie. My beautician has taught me all I know. I just wanted to add I also have highlighted hair as well as pretty thick curly hair and it never gets passed scapulas. I’m 47 and in menopause, I know, early. But my hair hasn’t really changed all that much. I know there are many grays in there as well. I have made some changes on my own though. Once a week Pantene moisturizing shampoo and Mane and Tail condition in shower and rinse but not all. I squeeze out excess water then dab with towel. Once air dried till just damp, not dripping, I add Paul Mitchell leave-in conditioner. Then I separate sections sporadically and apply foam root lifter Big Sexy Hair. I like big hair. I let my hair air dry mostly and then once a little dry I use my dryer with diffuser and pile hair into the diffuser gently. I start with warm setting and end with cold shot to keep shine. I stop right before it is completely dry. Sometimes though I don’t use dryer at all and don’t touch at all. Anyhow, once it is dry, I activate the roots with my fingers and circle scalp in circular motion and lifting at roots. Bam! My hair is big, shiny, curly and has volume. I do get my hair layered. Top layers are about 10 inches right now and I’m still good. But I know when it’s time to shorten the layers up. Which will be soon. I end sometimes with Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum for shine and cut frizz. Also I have been introduced to Rusk Shining spray for the ending. At night it goes up into that high loose bun. And next morning cloth hair tie comes out and I scruff up my roots with my finger tips and that root lifter just keeps me full all week. ~ I don’t use a comb ever, but do use a brush gently to get out any knots before showering. Although, my beautician told me not to use the brush because once in the shower I should be able to get my fingers through my hair. Also to not damage by using brush she tells me. So that is the one thing I guess I should stop doing. But I am happy with my hair. I am happy to hear all you gals sharing your methods and products. Thank you all and hope I helped someone as well. Oh, and I need to go and buy that Curly Hair book.

  84. Pingback: Haircuts for Naturally Curly Hair - Part 3 of 3 #LoveYourCurls - Urban Angels

  85. hi… i have like a messy hair is very dry and i never used layers as it adds too much bad triangle volume or thats what i believed, i dont understand very well the short layers my hair is a like 4 fingers under my shoulders i did understand about a superior long layer like the length of your face but the shorts one will be under this one? really appreciate your opinion i really like your hair and have always hoping mine to look like yours.

    1. I’m sorry Claudia…I’m not entirely clear on your question. Could you ask it another way? Shortest layers would be on top and longer layers will taper down.

  86. Hello there 🙂

    I’m almost embarrassed to ask but what exactly do you mean by ‘short layers’? I’m not native as you may recognize and I need a little support to understand it correctly…. and to have my hair dresser make it right.

    Does it mean one needs many almost equal layers? Or is it rather a few layers with different lengths?

    Thanks in advance for getting back to me

    Xo, Elisa

    1. No embarrassment allowed.

      If most people get a haircut there is very little layering which produces a very heavy angled out bottom. So you want your crown area to have a shorter layer and for the rest of the layers to be tapered down from there. You don’t want it to be choppy or blunt. Hope this helps!

  87. As a hairstylist myself, and ALSO having naturally curly hair similar to yours, I’d have to say that thinning shears aren’t the devil when it comes to our natural style. I agree with the quote that you posted from your stylist, as that is how I cut my curly haired clients hair as well. BUT, there is a proper way to thin the hair to help remove some weight and allow the curl to form without a heavy blunt or razored mess. Taking our sections at the top of the head and as if you were “slide cutting” and do about three snips with the shears vertically facing down p. This allows the curl to bounce up without w blunt end and give the client a fuller, better shoes, look.

    1. Ahhh…very good Katrina!! Yes, my latest stylist did not use shears but she did twist my hair (around my face) and did little snippets to remove some bulk. Thank you for chiming in, I really appreciate your expertise!

  88. Hi Julie. You are so right about getting a good haircut if you have curly hair. One question, in the first set of instructions your stylist says – “or you can thin with shears”, but in your update your stylist says “someone with naturally curly hair should NEVER have their hair thinned with thinning shears” So, I’m confused. Shears or no shears? I’m about to get my haircut and I’m seriously going to give them these exact instructions.

    1. Great question Heather!

      Yes, so my first stylist (and many others) have used shears and recommend it. My 2nd stylist had strong opinions about NOT using shears though. I honestly can’t say one way or the other. I did just get my hair cut (it is medium length and I need to do an update post) and my newest stylist does NOT use shears. She knew what she was doing though. Sorry…it’s not consistent but I can’t really say one way is perfect…I’d go with your stylist’s gut on whether to thin or not.

      1. And I just remembered that my last gal did twist my hair around my face and did a few snippets of hear to remove some of the bulk. I’m going to quote the comment for a stylist who just commented, hope you find it helpful for your upcoming haircut!

        From Katrina Goodin “As a hairstylist myself, and ALSO having naturally curly hair similar to yours, I’d have to say that thinning shears aren’t the devil when it comes to our natural style. I agree with the quote that you posted from your stylist, as that is how I cut my curly haired clients hair as well. BUT, there is a proper way to thin the hair to help remove some weight and allow the curl to form without a heavy blunt or razored mess. Taking our sections at the top of the head and as if you were “slide cutting” and do about three snips with the shears vertically facing down p. This allows the curl to bounce up without w blunt end and give the client a fuller, better shoes, look.”

  89. Thank you Julie for posting the Triangle Hair blog. I have extremely thick & wavy hair, so I decided to try the short layers. Loving it!!! I’m planning on getting the top shorter layers next hair cut. I actually received compliments. No more big 80’s hair plus the frizz is way less!!! I do use Renpure shampoo, conditioner, & deep conditioner as a leave in….great product!! Thanks again!!

  90. Would love to know if anyone knows of a good stylist in the Little Rock Arkansas area. I too have had triangle head one too many times.

  91. WOW! THE POST I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Lol, I have long thick curly Polynesian hair, I’ve had long hair almost all my life (besides the few trims and few short cuts I had as a little girl that ALWAYS ended up with triangle head smh). So for my birthday I’m looking to get a really short cut, but I was so skeptical of how to handle my ball of curly thickness, and most of all, “triangle head” lol. And this post has put my worries to rest. THANK YOU JULIE FOR SHARING ?

  92. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for all of the wonderful information on curly hair. It’s a Godsend really. I’m nearing 50 and my hair is much thinner than when I was in my 30s. Would short layers still be a good idea for my hair? It’s not consistently curly. Meaning I will have some weird straight pieces. It’s curly just with a mind of it’s own. Thank you.

  93. Ha-ha-ha, omg. This was so funny for me to come across your post!
    I have long curly hair, I remember YEARS ago (like 15 years ago) going to a mall stylist and asking for short layers. Whoah – BIG mistake!! The stylist was ENRAGED with me! She insisted that I was asking for a mullet. I tried so hard to explain what I meant, knowing that short layers would take the weight off my hair and let the curls bounce up more…but not long layers that yes, give you a mess of hair in the last 3 inches of your hair. The stylist got another stylist to come out of the back to prove she was right and that I would end up with a mullet if she was to give me short layers. I left yelling that she was an incompetent stylist.
    I was finally able to find a stylist who understood me…well she didnt really, but she said its my hair and she’ll do what I asked. I was never so happy about a cut in all my life.

  94. Nameer Aurangzeb

    3 years too late but I’m commenting to request articles/blogs about short curly hair. Especially hair styles. Thanks!

  95. Oh my gosh, your post echoed all of the complaints I have had about my haircut experiences. In the last year, I decided to grow my hair out, and because I hate it when my hair gives me that pyramid look, I told the stylist to give me layers. And JUST LIKE YOU, she insisted that she couldn’t go shorter than my shoulders otherwise it will poof out. So she cut the layers so close in length to each other that when they dried, they sprung up to basically the same length. No one could tell I had layers. And my head still looks like a pyramid. I was so disappointed. I’m doing extra research in finding a salon with a stylist who actually understands curly hair. I’m the only one of my friends with thick curls so no one can relate to my hair situation. It was nice to know others understand the struggle.

    1. Hey Shabana, look into DevaCurl/Deva Stylists. Seriously, they will transform your curly hair life! 🙂 Their website has a stylist locator, so that might be the easiest place to get started. Scott Musgrave Hair also a wonderful Facebook page and blog for additional research and help if needed. Best of luck!

  96. Annette Rubin

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you for your fantastic post, LOVE IT! I wanted to ask if you knew of any good hair stylists in the Boston area? I am willing to drive several hours for a good cut, as I’ve definitely spent may years of my life with 3A triangle hair 🙁


    1. Hi Annette! Thank you for stopping by! I don’t know anyone in the Boston area but maybe a reader will…best wishes!

    2. I LOVE the DevaCare products and stylists. If you go to their website, they have a stylist locator. Maybe that would help you narrow down to someone in your area that isn’t several hours away. 🙂 Best of luck!

  97. I just started to use the Deva Curl line for my curly hair & I have to say by far it’s the best product line I’ve used to date❤️ They have products for wavy, curly to super curly girls ☀️

  98. Hey Julie,

    My question is about separating the ringlets and hair loss. The majority of my hair is botticelli curls with a few corkscrews thrown in. I use my fingers and a super widetoothed comb to detangle in the shower while soaking in conditioner. I’m as gentle as I can be, but it feels like I’m losing heaps of hair. Is this just because I no longer use a conventional brush on my hair? No matter how much detangling I do in the shower, whenever I try to separate the curls, I have one of two problems. If I go from the ends to the roots, the hair knots up at the base. If I go roots to ends, the ends get tangled and need force to be separated, which rips and breaks the hair. What am I doing wrong?? I’m trying to grow it long, will the problem just get worse as it gets longer?

    I’m booked to get my hair cut next week, and I’ve screenshot your stylist’s advice to show him! Last cut has left me with triangle head. Anything else I can tell him other than I WANT SHORT LAYERS?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!


  99. Yes to Deva Stylists! If you have curly hair, then do yourself a favor and find a Deva Stylist on the Deva website. I don’t have curly hair but my daughter is a Deva Stylist and has undergone extensive training. The products go hand in hand with the specialty hair cut.

    1. Hi Eileen! I think the jury is still out on wet versus dry cut for curly hair. I’ve had my hair cut both ways successfully.

      For the most part, it seems that stylists do NOT want to cut hair dry and they also are uncomfortable with NOT combing out hair. If you’re a curly girl, I’m sure you know combing dry curly hair can be disastrous.

      In my opinion, the best option is to find a stylist who will cut dry and not comb out. 2nd best would be to show up to stylist with your hair freshly styled, (clean and curly). This way they can see how your hair lays and what your curl is like. Then if they cut wet they know how your curl will respond.

      Hope this helps! Best wishes!

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