Can A Haircut Make Hair Curlier? - Input from A Curl Stylist!

Have you wondered if a haircut can make your hair curlier? If you are curious just how a haircut affects your hair — whether you have looser waves or tighter curls — and if the cutting technique for type 2 or type 3 hair is different, you are going to want to read on.
For this piece, I reached out to my curly stylist and friend, Sage. She is a freelance curl stylist in the NYC and NJ area with more than ten years of experience working on every type of curl! She trained under Lorraine Massey and previously worked at Massey’s Devachan Salon. To say she knows her stuff is an understatement. You can find her on Instagram at @hairbysage_

Haircuts do affect curls depending on how you approach it. The most common confusion is cutting curls dry versus cutting curls wet. Though some curly salons do cut curls wet, Sage is a firm believer of cutting all curls dry. She says that “Cutting wet is like cutting blind because hair doesn’t fall the same way wet the way it does when it is dry. Cutting curls dry is critical since you cut the curls where they lay, how the curl lays naturally. The state of your hair when you cut it impacts not only the curl patterns, but also the weight lines.” If you don’t know what weight lines are, don’t feel bad because I didn’t either. When I asked her to go into more detail on them she explained that “We have the Base Line of the hair which is the length. The Weight Line is how heavy certain spots are to others. Everyone had one heavier side than the other. For example, on just about everybody one side grows thicker. It can impact how you part your hair.

Stylists pay attention to the subconscious fact that everyone has a “brighter” side and a side they favor. A brighter side is a person’s favorite side of their face and is affected by a person’s weight line. Lighter, brighter sides and shape of the hair all together are important no matter the curl type.”

Sage went on to tell me that “Some people hide behind their hair and it makes them feel comfortable. Despite hair texture, as a stylist it is so important to listen to the client and take what they like and don’t like into consideration when cutting. Clients know how they like to wear their hair, where they like their part and how their hair makes them feel; which is comfortable and secure. A stylists’ job is to help their clients reach the maximum potential with their own hair, no matter the hair type, and to make their hair and their face the focus point and feel confident.”

Sage continued to tell me more about curly cutting, getting into the difference between cutting looser curls and waves (type 2) and tighter curls (type 3) She said that “Cutting a looser curl versus a tighter curl is that with looser curls, you cut a little more when you are cleaning up cuts (or trimming) and with tighter curls, the less you take off, the better because of shrinkage. Tighter curls also take longer to grow and truly notice increased length because of how the curl has to grow around 360 degrees before even adding an inch.” Once she said that last part, I had a new appreciation of my looser curly waves. Growing out curls is tough!

Sage continued on about curly cutting saying a lot of the cut focuses on the interior section of the hair. She said “The interior when references means a specific section of every head shape stylists are taught to focus and cut from to focus on overall shape and weight and additionally not compromising the length of the hair. A good curly stylist would know how to focus on the interior of the hair rather than just the overall look. Tighter curls generally want more body, so you are focusing on the interior of the cut to build a better shape. You are also doing this for looser curls, but focus is generally more overall depending on the looser curls goals. Some looser curls and waves also do want an overall lift. Most wavies look for more volume so this would require a lot more focusing on the interior shape to take out the most weight. However, some wavies, (such as myself), do not want volume. A good stylist adjusts and customizes the haircut to every single customer that sits down taking into factor texture, facial structure, their own hair routine (heavy or light products) and daily wear (if they wear it down all the time, constantly wear it up, and how much time they are willing to spend styling daily). The stylist also must take into consideration how much volume the client wants or if they like their hair big and voluminous or contained and flatter. If you want your hair contained and flatter (like me), you wouldn’t take out as much weight in the interior since you want your curls to stick together (clumping together) and weigh each other down. The more weight you do take out in the interior the more shape, body and bigger hair you will get. Finally, we cut from the interior to focus on the shape without affecting the length of the hair. This is important for clients looking to grow their hair long.”

When I inquired about cut amount and time Sage said “As far as length and cut time is concern, for looser curls and waves, a trim or clean up cut is no more than an inch, but with tighter curls you just oxygenate/dust barely even ¼ inch. Literally just the very tip of the curl or it will shrink too much. Looser curls generally need haircuts more often to keep up with the body and shape of their hair. If they go too long without haircuts they can lose definition and curls turn into waves and turned limp. Haircuts needed every 3 to 4 months and tighter curls generally need every 6 months because they take longer to grow.”

To answer if a haircut can indeed make hair curlier, the answer is yes and no. If you have 2B waves, a haircut will not magically give you 3A curls, no matter how talented and skilled the stylist is. However, a good curly cut, specifically catered to your own personal curls, will absolutely bring out the most definition your own curl potential has within.
Be sure to follow Sage’s Instagram for stunning before and afters plus curl tips at

You can also check out my blog post after my last trim with Sage, including before and after pics!

Note: I originally wrote this article for a website, but they decided they didn't want it. Since my hairstylist and I spent the time putting this together, and I felt her information was so informative and incredible, I decided it deserves to be seen and am posting it here.

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