Just over a week ago I got my hair cut! And not just a trim, I went for the big chop! I was so nervous, especially as I wasn’t going to a specialist “curly” hair dresser. But I’m so pleased with my results. This post is my experience with DIY trims, cuts and what to ask your “regular” hair dresser when going for a curly cut.
DIY Trims & Cuts
In January 2018, I did a DIY trim, following Curly Penny’s YouTube video. Even after doing it twice, it didn’t make any difference to my hair, curl pattern or definition. So a few weeks ago, I did a more dramatic DIY cut. I watched Lana Summers’ video on YouTube for the first half of my cut, before going freestyle. Trying to replicate what I’d seen my own hair dresser do over the years, when she would cut my hair. I actually took off quite a few inches, added lots of layers and got a really good shape! You can see what my hair looked like after that DIY cut in my recent posts on Hair Porosity and my Modified Rice Water Routine. I have to say, I was relieved it turned out so good! That relief turned to shock when I went to a “proper” hair dresser, and she said I’d done a great job on my DIY cut!
During my DIY cut, when I was adding layers to create shape. I cut a lot of hair off my top layers, the canopy of my hair. This is always where the hair gets most damaged from styling, heat, water pressure, weather, environment etc. In the days and weeks after, I was so blown away at how much my top layer was curling, clumping and going into gorgeous ringlets. I decided I wanted to take even more off the length! In the hope that I would get the same results on the longer, underneath sections of my hair. But there was no way I was feeling brave enough to do that myself! All the YouTube videos I could find were based around DIY trims, not big chops and total re-shapes.
After following lots of curlies on Instagram, and seeing amazing transformation pictures. I began asking them at what point did they see the most dramatic difference and improvement in their curls? They all said the same thing, after they got the “big chop.” Two words which, until recently, would put the fear of God into me, and most curlies! The second thing they said, was when they stopped using heat on their hair, even when diffusing. So that was it, my mind was made up, I was going to get my hair cut! Armed with a couple of pictures from some of my favourite curlies, I was going for the big chop!
Specialist Curly Hair Dressers
I’ve been following the curly girl method for almost a year now, and until my recent brave attempts at cutting my own hair, I’ve not gone near a hair dresser. To be honest, I didn’t go near one that often before I discovered the CG method! I would go once, maybe twice a year. Always insisting on a trim, only taking off the minimum amount of hair. Since embracing my curls, I’ve heard a lot about the specialised “curly cuts,” Deva cuts, or Ouidad cuts. Essentially getting your hair cut by a curly hair specialist, using a specialist technique of cutting the hair dry, and curl by curl. Also known as, ridiculously expensive hair cuts!
It didn’t always used to be like that. I got my first curly cut when I was just 18, by a hair dresser down the back streets of Paris. I didn’t speak much French, he didn’t speak any English! It was the most terrifying couple of hours of my life! But it was also the best hair cut I’ve ever had, and looked just as good straight as it did curly. And cost the same price as any other cut!
Anyway, I’m not here to diss curly hair specialists and what they do – I have huge respect of them and their skills. I do have issue with the amount they charge though, it’s excessive. Which is partly due to the time they spend on each cut/client. I know lots of curly girls say it’s worth it, but I cannot justify spending that much money on a cut, even if it is only once or twice a year!
So after discovering a “curly cut” was going to cost me between €90 and €130 plus travel and expenses. I decided to go to the same hair dresser I’ve gone to for almost a decade. I brought my own curly girl approved products with me, and guided her on what to do and not do. At this point, a lot of curly girls have had truly horrific experiences with “regular” hair dressers telling them they’ll never have curly hair. Or they should shampoo their hair because it’s dirty and unsanitary. But that wasn’t my experience.
My hair dresser, Kerrie from Hair Culture, was so intrigued! She asked me a tonne of questions about the curly girl method, what do I do differently? etc. Because I’ve been going to her for so many years, she’s seen my hair transform to such a state that I completely lost all my curl. So for her to see me walking into her salon, a year since she saw me last, with a head full of big, bouncy curls.
She was always going to see the change and ask questions of how and what I’ve been doing to get them back. I also know lots of curlies who’ve shelled out the big bucks for the curly cut, only to come home in floods of tears, hating their hair. So for me, I think it’s as much about the skills and attitude of the hair dresser, rather than purely knowing specific curly hair cutting techniques.
What To Ask Your Non-Curly Hair Dresser
- Take pictures of fellow natural curlies with a simlar cut and shape to the one you want to achieve.
- Book your appointment for day 2 or 3 curls. Or whenever your curls are at their best. So they can see what they’re working with, rather than a tangled, frizz ball mess that’s over due a wash day.
- Bring your own products, both for washing, styling and drying – cotton t-shirt/towel and diffuser etc.
- Ask for long layers and shape.
- Request they don’t use a razor or use sliding scissors – sliding the scissors down the hair.
- Re-wet your hair after your cut, and style and dry it yourself, as you would normally.
- If they want to check over your hair once it’s dry. Ask that they do it without combing it, but rather by looking at the overall shape and length. Doing any additional cuts curl by curl.
So that’s it! I am so, so glad I plucked up the courage for the big chop and didn’t chicken out last minute. I only wish I’d done it sooner! Apparently it’s taken years off me! I’ve immediately noticed my curl clumps and ringlets are much more defined than they were. And the underneath layers have sprung up as much as the rest of my hair. Just what I was hoping for!
But guess what…? I think I want more off. I want it shorter, properly above my shoulders and with more shape and shorter top layers! What do you think… should I do it? Or focus it on growing it long again – which is the ultimate goal. Let me know in the comments below! Please subscribe here if you haven’t already, you can follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook page.
Hair products used: Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser, Curl Conditioner, Curl Cream and Curl Defining Gel – all from Bouclème. If you’re viewing this post on a mobile, keep scrolling down to see where else I like to shop for curly girl approved products.
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Caitlin I love your hair & your new cut! So healthy looking and curly! Your my curly idol! I want to look like you someday!
Aw, bless you! Thank you so much. I remember what it was like when my curls were a tortured mess and I wanted it to be just like my curl crushes, so that really means a lot. Thank you! Gabriella xoxo
Hi there!! Love your curls, cut and blog! You do a great job communicating and describing your processes and I find myself coming back time and again to reread/absorb all the curly goodness.
I’m fairly new to the curly girl method (4mo but I’m slow to learn it seems) and I hadn’t heard about not using a razor or sliding scissors before! My non-curly hairdresser says my hair lovers the razor. I’m grateful for the help on what to say to her, just want to know what to tell her when she asks why no razor, cause I know she will, hehe.
Just found this… how helpful, thank you!! And I don’t know if you decided to do it or not, but you definitely should try going shorter. You have the type of face shape and gorgeous skin to pull off that shorter wilder sexy confident curly do!! DO IT!! And tell us how to do it. 🙂
Oh my goodness do you think so?! I did cut my layers shorter for more shape and volume, and that will be my next post. But as for shorter in length – I don’t know about that. I desperately want long, healthy hair with cascading curls again. But thank you so much! xoxo
My dear, just go for it! I’ve gone short after below shoulder length hair and it felt liberating. It made me perky and I loved it! I always like to change it up, plus it always grows back. Just be prepared for even curlier hair! Thanks for all the valuable tips.
Thanks Molly! There was no preparing me for how much curlier my hair got after cutting it short again! I have to say it definitely gave me a confidence boost and perked me up after having my hair cut and it was certainly liberating. Apparently it took years off me too! But I have to say, I miss my long hair now and am now trying to grow it long and healthy now. xx
OH girl, please don’t cut it again!! You’ll look like Annie!! Grow it out again. It’s so much sexier and pretty!!!
Not entirely sure what way to take or respond to that comment but yes, the goal is to grow it long again. Going the big chop was very much about cutting out the damaged hair, so the over all health of my hair would benefit. Which it did, and it totally worked!
lynne allison says
Is it better to part your hair in the middle when getting it cut so you can change the part occasionally and it will look good….or on the side that you usually wear it? Thank you:)
I would ask your hairdresser what they advise.
Or do you mean if you’re cutting it yourself? If you’re cutting it yourself, I part mine in the middle, and then again where I normally part it just to make sure nothing looks crazy.
Elaine Foran says
Just had Rachel do my colour in Hair Culture and she said you had been in. Thank goodness!! I was just about to book in Dublin. Kerry is an amazing hairdresser. Plan to book with her soon. I’ll give my hair a few weeks rest, and deep condition like mad before I call her.
Oh that’s great to here, Rachel is actually an old neighbour of mine too! She’s a great hairdresser as well. x
Clair Henderson says
short or long, both would look amazing on you with that hair, waiting to see what you do!