To cut or not to cut. That used to be the ongoing conflict with me. Once I would decide it is time for a cut or a trim I was in for another dilemma. Should I do it myself? Then I would remember I threw away my scissors after a late-night cut that was a slight disaster. I had purchased the scissors trying to fix my curls after a bad salon haircut. My curls looked worse rather than better when I left the salon.
We as curlies have all had this experience at some point in our lives. I have always had to schedule an appointment on days where I had at least 2 free hours following my cut in case I had to repair the damages of a styling nightmare. Walking into a salon with a sense of pure dread was the usual emotion. I think it gets right down to an honesty and communication issue in the salon.
Honesty is complicated. In situations like "honey do these jeans make me look fat?" or "do my curls look too frizzy today?", I want a combination of honesty and a bit of fibbing. The perfect response would be something like "you look great but those jeans aren't my favorite" and "your hair looks super today except there are a few curls misbehaving". I know this is borderline fantasy, but wouldn't it be great?
My fantasy comes to a halt immediately when I walk into a salon. How many times have we been told by a stylist "your hair looks fantastic" and it looks awful after it has been cut and styled. Or we got a haircut that we did not ask for. The curls are too short or have big gaps. One side looks different than the other, and the curls were forced into a semi-straight style that you know will just expand and frizz. I have had a lot of bad hair cuts. Sitting in a chair in a salon I now want complete honesty and good communication from the stylist.
The best way that I have learned to get a good, yes, even amazing, curly hair cut, is to be prepared. Do some research. Use the NaturallyCurly.com Salon Search. Ask a curly girl who has fantastic hair where she gets it cut. Once you have a person in mind, go into that salon with a purpose. Make sure it is a good hair day for you. You should walk in there with the best curls you can get. Bring photos of what you want. Tell them exactly what you are hoping for. Be specific about how you style your curls and your drying routine. Then explain your curls. Include information about shrinkage and disparity in curl springiness. Show the stylists your different curl types in different places. Explain the beautiful uniqueness of all your curls.
Then ask a lot of questions before they get the scissors on your curls. Ask if they are going to cut your curls wet, dry or a combination of both. Ask where and how much they plan to cut. You have to have a clear picture of the plan. If you don't or you are getting a bad feeling about it, stand up and leave that salon. Do not sacrifice your curls to another bad hair cut. There are a lot of good curly stylists out there; you just have to be sure about the one you find. Be honest with what you want and expect total honesty from the stylist.
I learned all of this when I had my first great curly haircut. Christo from the Curlisto Salon came to Texas for a NaturallyCurly.com event. The first thing I noticed was how great the woman's curls looked who had just gotten up from his chair. Her hair looked perfect. I then watched him cut and style another curly and, again, super. When it was my appointment time, I talked to him. I explained my curls and showed him a picture. He listened, looked and touched my hair a lot before we even got started. He then told me exactly what he was going to do. He cut a few long layers in the back and sides. He cut a few shorter layers around my face and that was it. He then used products explaining what they were for and how much to use them. After he dried my hair with a diffuser it was really unbelievable. I loved it. I now knew what a good haircut was all about.
Since then I have found other stylists who can do this. I have learned to take the haircut experience into my own hands and find the stylist who likes curly hair and knows how to cut it and style it. There are several different techniques for cutting and styling curly hair that are fantastic. The trick is to find a stylist and a method that you feel comfortable with. Curly hair is hard to cut and style correctly. We know this better than anyone. A stylist that can do this is so important. They are out there, just a little harder to find. When you do find one spread the word and say a huge thank you to them!