7 Best Haircuts for Curly Hair
Put down the flat iron. Follow these expert tips for getting a great curly haircut that will work for -- not against -- your waves
But what if we told you it's time to stand up and be proud of your coarse, sometimes unruly mane?
Before you start cursing us, here's the good part. We're not suggesting you let your curly hair run amok. Rather, we'll give you the secret to getting the most flattering haircut for curly hair.
See the 7 best curly haircuts now.
Cutting curly hair is tricky business. If the cut's too heavy on top, you lose density at the ends; if there's too much weight at the bottom, you look like the Sphinx. And, if it's all one length or the layers are wrong, you're stuck with a lifeless, shapeless mess. That's why we went to Ursula Stephens, a celebrity stylist, and Kevin Mancuso, creative director of Nexxus Salon.
Most curly-haired girls live in fear of their hair exploding into a frizzy mess. So we got Stephens and Mancuso to share tips that'll help you style your curly hair no matter what kind of cut you have:
• Use a moisturizing conditioner when showering. To have the most flexibility when styling your hair, you want to inject as much moisture into your curly hair as possible, which will help soften the curls. "It's what you start with that's going to set you up for a successful style," says Mancuso.
• Look for products that have olive oil, coconut oil, and other hydrating ingredients in them. "When you hydrate the hair, it adds weight. Weight defines curls and makes it easier to manipulate them, while preventing them from exploding into frizz," says Mancuso.
• Apply product when hair is damp, right out of the shower, so that the product can dry with the hair and help neutralize the curls, says Stephens.
• Blow dry your roots without the diffuser, then attach the diffuser for your ends, so that it doesn't take hours to dry your hair, says Mancuso.
Now that you know how to prep your curly hair, here's how to find the perfect cut and style for you.
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Best Curly Haircuts: Taylor Swift's Fine, Loose CurlsWhy the cut works: If you have fine to medium hair with loose, uneven waves, Taylor Swift's long layers are a good solution. "This cut's good for long, wavy hair that's not too tight or curly," says Mancuso. "This cut could be dangerous and a bit of a commitment for those with curlier hair." To get this look:
Step 1: Apply a mousse with conditioning ingredients through damp hair (Mancuso loves Nexxus Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam Styler, $10.99.) Mancuso recommends using a mousse instead of a curling spray, because sprays can be too heavy and will cause hair to look overly coiled.
Step 2: Blow dry hair at the roots, then use a diffuser to blow dry the ends.
Step 3: Add a defining cream to your curls. Mancuso says, "You want to define the curls, but you want to let some of the natural texture come through."
Step 4: Wrap sections of hair around a large 1-inch barrel curling iron. Mancuso likes De Fabulous Clipless Curling Rod, $150.
Best Curly Haircuts: AnnaLynne McCord's Fine, Tight Spiral CurlsWhy the cut works: If you have fine to medium hair with tight spiral curls, AnnaLynne McCord's cut is perfect for you. Mancuso says the curlier the hair, the longer the layers should be. McCord's lioness mane is tamed with defined curls and tapered at the ends with layers. To get the look, see Mancuso's tips:
Step 1: Apply a smoothing serum like Pureology SuperSmooth Smoothing Elixir, $18, and comb the middle section of your hair back.
Step 2: Blow dry hair with a diffuser, using your fingers to pull hair gently to preserve the natural texture as much as possible.
Step 3: Apply a curl cream to define pieces in the front and combat frizz that resulted from drying.
Step 4: Take a curling iron like De Fabulous Clipless Curling Rod, $150, and identify some key spots around your face that you want to dress up, says Mancuso. "Curling just a few sections of hair will give you a nice mix of spirals and softness."
Best Curly Haircuts: Andie MacDowell's Long, Thick WavesWhy the cut works: Got thick waves? Get a medium-to-long haircut with minimal layers. While Andie MacDowell's natural texture is voluminous and wavy, the long cut allows the weight of the hair to give styling flexibility, says Mancuso. "The long layers break up the hair, so that it doesn't get too heavy on the bottom." MacDowell elongated her natural texture to create a more glamorous wave that's modern enough and not the traditional "old Hollywood" style. Mancuso shares how to copy her style here:
Step 1: Apply a leave-in straightening product to loosen the waves.
Step 2: Blow dry hair with a diffuser and use your fingers to stretch your hair while diffusing it.
Step 3: Brush through hair to loosen up the curls even more and get volume.
Step 4: Apply a leave-in cream like Moroccanoil Curl Control Cream, $30, to redefine hair and fight frizz.
Best Curly Haircuts: Corinne Bailey Rae's Curly Natural HairWhy the cut works: Thick, very tight curls look fab in a shoulder-length pageboy cut with long layers at the ends. It's not quite a lob (long bob), but the cut is a length that sits right on your shoulders, which makes Corinne Bailey Rae's beautiful curls short enough to maintain but long enough to prevent her hair from getting too big, says Stephens. To get this look:
Step 1: Apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair. Stephens likes Motions Nourish Leave-In Conditioner, $3.99.
Step 2: Scrunch curls to "push the curl in," says Stephens.
Step 3: Blow dry hair with a diffuser.
Best Curly Haircuts: Vanessa Hudgens' Pixie CutWhy the cut works: Coarse, wavy hair looks stunning in a pixie with long layers in the front. Vanessa Hudgens took the plunge with a pair of scissors and emerged with a short crop that took some getting used to. Without the length, her natural wavy hair became curlier. For this style, Mancuso says Hudgens worked with her natural curl and just used a blow dryer to smooth the front bangs. See his tips now:
Step 1: Apply a straightening cream to loosen the waves on damp hair.
Step 2: Using the force of the blow dryer, amp up the fluffy, natural texture of your hair.
Step 3: Blow dry your front layers with a flat paddle brush to smooth the bangs.
Step 4: Run your fingers through the back of your hair and lightly mist with a finishing spray.
Best Curly Haircuts: Jordin Sparks' Long Haircut With LayersWhy the cut works: Hair that's wavy with medium density looks excellent with extremely long layers. The layers begin at Jordin Sparks' cheekbones, which helps to give movement to the hair, says Stephens. "It keeps it sexy, instead of just one heavy length. When you don't have layers, you have a bohemian, heavy look." Stephens says this style isn't about being neat, but about creating free, movable hair. Here are her tips on how to get this look:
Step 1: Apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair.
Step 2: Spritz a tousling spray like Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray, $17.99, to enhance your waves.
Step 3: Blow dry with a diffuser.
Step 4: Wind small sections of hair around a medium barrel curling iron if you want your hair to look super-polished. Shake out the curls with your hands, then spritz with hairspray (we love Sojourn Firm Hold Working Spray, $24).
Best Curly Haircuts: Violante Placido's Wavy, Curly Hair With BangsWhy the cut works: If you have fine-to-medium hair with a mix of waves and curls, get a layered bob with side-swept bangs. "There's a strong line with lots of layering, which is what's keeping the curls full and soft, but not looking like a pyramid," says Mancuso. "If it was one length, it would be too heavy at the bottom." So, layering is imperative with a bob. Here are Mancuso's tips on how to achieve Violante Placido's natural style:
Step 1: Run mousse through damp hair. Try Wella Curl Craft Wax Mousse, $22.
Step 2: Comb it into the style that you want.
Step 3: Blow dry hair with a diffuser, maintaining the shape.