Have you been thinking of cutting your type 3 hair short? Maybe you've even taken a gander at my take on the pros (and cons) of short 3 hair and feel ready to take the plunge. But before you head for the salon the chop, there are 3 things that you should prepare in advance. Remember, curly hair takes a long time to grow, so don't hesitate to take your time prepping for your haircut.

Gather Type 3 Haircut Reference Photos

You've definitely heard this before: reference photos are so important if you're getting your hair cut at any length. But for short haircuts, they're absolutely vital. The subtlest differences in length, shape, and layers can have a huge impact on how your hair looks and suits your style and face. Shop around on the internet for reference photos that really appeal to you. And keep in mind that many of your favorite celebrities or Instagram beauty stars may not be showing you their wash and go hair! For wash and go styles, NaturallyCurly's built-in community of curlies could be a great resource. Check out the StyleNook and try filtering by your hair type. Here are 18 sexy short cuts we love for more inspiration.

Bring in several reference photos with you. Your hair stylist will be an expert at picking out the common elements in each photo and it will help them to understand what, precisely, you like about all of them and want replicated on your head.

Harmoni Curls
Photo Courtesy of @HarmoniCurls

Analyze Your Reference Photos

When your hair stylist looks at the reference photos you bring in, they'll scan them for commonalities: Are all of your photos pixie cuts? Are they all bobs? Are there layers? Where do the layers start? Where is the hair widest in the haircut silhouette?. You can do some of this work yourself before you sit down for a consultation. You might want to start by looking up some of hair stylist vocabulary online yourself. Gather together all the photos you selected and while you're looking at them consider:

  • Were you actually just drooling after the hair texture or type of the photo's model? Maybe even the hair color or the highlighting? If so, maybe you didn't like the hair cut as much as the hair color/texture. It might not be the best reference photo.
  • Where is the weight line in each of the photos you assembled? Examine the silhouette of the hair cut and identify where the hair is at its most voluminous. Where, on the face, does this weight line fall? You might find that when you look across all your reference photos, you picked pictures where the weight lines were all at the chin (like a bob), or much higher on the head near the eyebrows or forehead (like a pixie). Try using this term when you talk to your hair cutter to tell them where, ideally, you want the weight line of your hair to fall in relation to your face.
Curls Fo The Girls

Shop for a Hair Cutter and Salon

Feel free to shop around your area for a hair cutter and a salon that caters to curly hair. Research is key! Use Yelp reviews, Google reviews, and of course, NaturallyCurly's Salon Finder to locate curly hair stylists in your area. And don't hesitate to stop curlies in the street to ask where they're getting their hair done.

Consider the many ways one can cut curly hair. There's the standard wet cut, the dry cut, and the Ouidad "carve and slice" technique. Some salons that use dry cutting techniques will even have you return after washing your hair for a touch up!

Once you've identified salons that interest you, call ahead and find out who their curly hair specialists are and what techniques they use. And if it seems like a fit, schedule a consultation.

Instagram Cut

Consultations are No-Commitment!

I've gone to many a consultation and ended up sitting down for my hair cut right then and there, even if I wasn't comfortable with my hair stylist nor confident that they could give me what I wanted. That consultation chair can feel like a pressure cooker, and you might be too polite or afraid to get up and leave if you feel hesitant. But a short hair cut is a huge commitment. You should interview a few hair stylists before settling on the one who understands your hair and your desires the best.

Start your consultation by saying that you don't intend to have your hair cut today. Hey, if you need to, say you have a prior engagement in a half hour! Give yourself time to think before you take the plunge with a hair stylist.

Actually Ashly

If You Can't Find a Fit...Wait

I can't say this enough: a short type 3 hair cut can take over a year to grow back to shoulder length. If you aren't entirely happy with your reference photos, and if none of the hair stylists you've interviewed are really vibing with you or your hair texture, then don't hesitate to wait it out until the right fit comes along. There are plenty of beautiful, long curly hair styles you can rock in the meanwhile until you find that perfect fit!

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