Some things are not necessarily a question of right or wrong.
It’s simply a matter of personal preference. Should I vacation in the mountains or the beach? Do I splurge on crème brûlée or the 7-layer chocolate mousse cake? Will I style my hair with Up North Naturals 8 oil defining jelly or Surface Curls Firm Hold Mousse? Decisions…decisions When it comes to Shaping curly hair, the age old question is should curls be shaped wet or dry?
My answer: both ways are acceptable
I know you are thinking just choose one, but honestly for me it depends on the curl pattern. I asked the extremely talented Kristy Ramos, also known as SunFlowersAndScissors, a stylist at Rock Paper Scissors Salon in Columbia, SC, to chime in on her personal favorite. “I prefer cutting curls in their dry state versus wet because it helps me to see the shape I am creating in my client's hair," says Ramos. Ready, set... Let us break this curl-shaping science down for you.
The deciding factor: your curl pattern.
My personal preference on shaping curls is based on the curl pattern. When cutting curl patterns 2a to 3a I can start off shaping wet because the curls are of a loose nature. If my client has 3b to 4c hair I prefer to shape dry. The tighter the curl pattern shrinkage plays a big part, I don’t want my client to have gaps and steps in their cut (unless that’s the look they were going for). Kristy reminds us, “curls already have a shape of their own. Wavy hair, curly hair, and super curly hair looks a certain way, right? When those curls don't have a strong shape with the haircut they are rocking, the curls can just look 'lost'. Cutting curly hair dry for me helps me give their curls an amplified look.”
Since some clients suffer from major heat or product damage, you may have to improvise the way you shape their hair.
It can be somewhat challenging getting the client to understand that their desired look is going to take more than one appointment, and lots of at home attention. Being optimistic and trusting your stylist to take you through the proper steps to curl recovery is very important. I love the way Kristy describes how she shapes the heck out of some curls, “With my dry cutting curly hair, I can customize what tension I am using according to what particular curls I have in my chair. I love creating a dope shape in curls to give them a strong foundation to grow into.” This is a stylist with a vision!
Now that you know our preferences on shaping curls wet or dry, it’s now time to choose a cut.
Say what? you ask. I have to show you what I want? Or can you make me look like @theessenceof_ ? To be honest we are artists but we need to have some idea of the shape and length you interested in. And as far as turning your curls into a pattern that you weren’t blessed with, good luck with that! Kristy shares a similar point of view. “When consulting with my clients I love when they bring pictures of haircut inspirations. A great resource of inspiration pictures for me is Instagram…
When looking for hair inspiration, you should try to find someone with hair like yours.
I will use my fave Instagram crushes as examples. You have to be realistic. Sure, I can create a look that emulates your hair crushes shape according to what your hair texture and pattern is. That is more realistic and that will give you an amazing cut that will complement your unique curls.”
So Curlies don’t delay get your curls shaped today! If your schedule allows always try to schedule a consult so you can discuss your expectations with your local curly hair stylist.
Wishing you love, peace, and happy shaped curls!
Schedule and appointment and follow Kristy on her blog, Sunflowers And Scissors