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.
For an in-depth review of all the Bouclème products, a giveaway and discount code, click here.
Or you might like my ultimate guide on hair porosity, including tests, characteristics and recommendations for each porosity type.
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