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5 Rules for Giving a Proper Curly Haircut

Because curls are in a class of their own, and not to mention have a mind of their own, one should pay close attention to the rules of giving a proper curly haircut. And who better than to instruct you on the caveats of curly haircuts than curl maestro Evan Joseph? With an eponymous salon that specializes in curly hair everything and an Instagram teeming with educational curly haircut tutorials, Evan is the missing link between good and bad curls. Ahead he shares his must-follow rules for giving your everyday curl girl her best curly haircut ever.


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1. A good curly haircut starts with the shears 

My favorite shears right now are Arc. I love them because they are 100% handmade of Japanese steal. It is really important that you are using a really sharp quality shear when cutting naturally curly hair. I really like them because they are accessible to all stylists.

2 . Cut according to client’s day-to-day style

So many stylists straighten curly hair before cutting it. This makes zero sense if our client will be wearing their hair curly. Curls are vastly different between straight and curly, and should be treated accordingly.  Why guess at what it will look like when curly again when you can simply shape it in its natural state? Our customers at Evan Joseph Salon arrive with their hair styled curly then we shape the hair as it is.


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3. Cutting curly hair wet vs. dry

I never cut curls wet. Curls expand and contract between wet and dry. Cutting curly hair wet is a sure way to remove too much length and leave holes in the silhouette. I have clients who come to see me who have entire sections of the back of their hair missing due to getting their hair cut while in another state as opposed to dry and naturally curly.

The benefit of cutting curly hair while dry is that you can see the shape and see the silhouette you are cutting develop in front of you and your customer. You can make necessary adjustments on the fly. It will put your customer at ease because no one is guessing as to what the final result will be. What you see is what you get! As for cons, I can’t think of any.

4. Don’t brush before cutting

I never recommend brushing curly hair. Curls are a beautiful, fine fabric. Brushing and combing rips and fractures the delicate strand that makes up curly hair. I recommend finger detangling when wet with a quality silicone-free conditioner or styler. Your fingers are the most high-tech comb out there because you can feel what you are doing rather than ripping through with a comb or brush. Plus it is one less thing to clutter up our travel bags and bathrooms. 


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5. Rules of thumb:

  1. Always shape and cut curly hair in its natural state. Not wet, straight or brushed out.
  2. Ask your curly clients to wash detangle, style and dry their hair before coming in. This way we can see their natural curl pattern and how they wear it when cutting.
  3. Avoid using raw oils, butters or silicone on curly hair.  A lot of stylists think they are sealing moisture in when in reality they are sealing it out. This can cause the hair to become very dry and brittle over time.
  4. Always use a zero lather cleanser on curly hair which means absolutely no bubble. Laundry clothing cleansers that contain lather will slowly wear away at the hair and cause the hair to lose shine and shape.
  5. Listen first before making any recommendation or picking up a pair of shears.  Curly clients want to be heard. Some of them have been burned by a stylist who thought why knew better. Listen closely to their needs and then make recommendations based off of their wants and needs.

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