How to Safely Trim Your Natural Curls at Home, According to a Pro
When it comes to textured hair, less is more.
If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That’s why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.
Many of us have become our own beauty professionals during quarantine, especially when it comes to our hair since salons have been closed. However, not all of us have mastered at-home cuts, and that rings extra true for those with curly hair. While there seems to be an abundance of how-tos on how to clean up the ends of straight hair, coily textures have had a harder time mastering those DIY trims. At-home curly cuts are more challenging, which is why extra attention, care, and time is required.
In fact, Candace Marino, the owner of her eponymous salon in New York City, says that people with curly hair should avoid cutting their hair if they can. "The possibility of doing a bad job is high, especially with regular scissors," she explains. "If you must trim, I recommend only snipping off the very ends of the hair, and absolutely no more.” So if you’re a curly girl who’s sick of looking at split ends, but can’t get a salon appointment quite yet, check out the expert-approved tips to mastering it at home.
1. Trim your hair in small sections.
Don’t attack all your hair at once since you may overwhelm yourself in the process which could lead to a botched job. “I would recommend trimming in small, clean sections,” Witherspoon says. For best results, split your hair into four sections starting with the front two sections then transition to the back.
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2. Invest in a good pair of scissors.
Whatever you do, no not reach for those kitchen scissors. You need to have the right tools if you want the closest thing to a professional cut while at home. “I recommend investing in professional shears,” Witherspoon explains. “There are no specific shears for curly hair, but [use] one that is sharp and made for cutting hair.”
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3. Trim, don’t cut.
Witherspoon completely advises against anything past a trim. Therefore, if you’re looking for a new shape or layers, wait until you can get an appointment with a professional. Witherspoon explains that you'd have pay attention to your different curl patterns to achieve an even cut, which is much easier said than done. So for now, stick to just a small trim.
4. When trimming bangs, underestimate how much hair you should cut.
Trimming curly bangs is no walk in the park, and it’s easy to accidentally take off more than necessary. With that in mind, cut even less hair than you intend to. Witherspoon suggests keeping bangs half an inch longer than you'd like it to be, explaining that there will inevitably be shrinkage after cleansing your hair.
5. Only cut dry.
Unlike non-textured hair, shrinkage—the process of the hair drying much shorter than is it when wet—can make it easy to unintentionally cut too much. That said, only trim your curls when they're fully dry. “Trims should be cut on fully hair,” Witherspoon says. “In my experience, curly hair is best when it is cut dry in its most natural form.”