The 10 best cuts for curly hair
Forget everything you've heard about curls and short cuts. Halle Berry's tough-but-feminine crop works on nearly any texture, and isn't as high-maintenance as you'd think. Ask your stylist for a graduated pixie style. "You don't want a precision cut," says Morgan Willhite, creative director at Ouidad. "It should be longer on top to show off the texture and choppiness." Let it dry naturally and use a frizz-control product, like Tigi Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked Volumizing and Prepping Hair Meringue, to give the top separation and shine. Just be sure before you cut it all off: "When your hair is that short, you can't hide behind it," Willhite says.
This is not your mother's afro. Solange Knowles's is an update on the iconic ’70s style. "It's a refreshing silhouette that not many women dare to try," says Lorraine Massey, co-owner of Devachan Salon. This works better on coarse, tight textures than loose curls because you need the volume to get the fullness. "This is a modern, precision afro," says Willhite. "It's a teardrop shape: round at the top and tapered at the ears to hug the jawline and give it more shape." And while this style best complements a round or square face (long face shapes tend to be exacerbated by the silhouette), it doesn't have many other rules—just make sure it's properly hydrated with a leave-in conditioner so that it has a healthy sheen. Willhite likes Kinky-Curly-Satin Roots Leave-in Conditioner.
To get Marion Cotillard's soft, wavy look, ask for very light layers along the bottom of the hair and blended bangs that fall to mid-eyebrow. "These bangs can suit a lot of people because they're side-swept and not too short," says Massey. While tight curls and coarse hair might have trouble with this beachy look (unless you're willing to blow it out every morning), it's perfect for loose, wavy hair with a fine texture.
Long bobs aren't just for women with straight strands. Proof: Vanessa Hudgens's sexy shoulder-grazing bob. Ask for a wedge cut; short layers in the back and long, face-framing layers in the front create an interesting angle. Bonus: The long layers can slim a round face. "And because the layers are long in front, you won't have difficulty with curls bouncing up around the face and not blending," says Willhite. Just don't let the back run wild. You can get frizz under control by running Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel through wet hair with your fingers and using the diffuser attachment on your blow-dryer.
Because this is about controlled chaos, it's best for women with a curly texture, like Rihanna. "People often think using a razor is a total no-no with curly hair," says Willhite. "But when you want to achieve a piece-y, shaggy look like this—which is fuller towards the roots and wispier at the ends—a razor is the best strategy." To avoid letting this style get frizzy, skip this look if you fall into the overly coarse or unruly hair-texture category. Use a serum or pomade, like Kinky-Curly Gloss, when hair is damp, let it dry naturally, and don't touch it!
Long, Wavy Layers
Because of the length and layers, people with naturally wavy or loose curls like Kate Hudson can pull off this look well, says Willhite. The cut enhances the hair's natural softness. Keep the layers below the chin so curls don't get too bouncy. According to Massey, women with fine, less-textured hair might have a hard time with this cut (unless they're willing to spend their mornings with a curling iron). A light spray gel, like Tresemmé Flawless Curls Curl Defining Spray Gel, adds texture without weighing strands down.
Long, Curly Layers
Length is key when your curls are tight, like Annalynne McCord's—long layers help weigh them down. If you want a soft, face-framing look, ask for layers that start no higher than the chin or collarbone, so curls have enough weight to hang down. To get McCord's springy movement and volume, wring the water out of your hair after showering and work a light cream, like Ouidad Hydrafusion Curl Cream, through damp hair to control the curls.
Taylor Swift's curls are best suited for fine, wavy hair. Ask for a long, layered hair cut with short, angled layers at your jaw to create a side-swept look in the front. If your waves are falling flat, use an enhancing gel, like U R Curly Loose Curl Enhancer, while hair is wet. To control frizz, use the diffuser with your blow-dryer.
Tight Curls and Steep Layers
Attention all curly-hair types: This is your cut. And don't be afraid to go big, like Beyoncé does. "Getting it big with a diffuser is what's fun about it," says Willhite. Ask for long and wispy (not blunt) layers using a slide-cutting technique. "If you put too many layers at the top, it will get too curly—you want it to be softer around the face," she says. Use a hydrating product like leave-in conditioner, and when hair is dry, go over random pieces with a curling iron.
Long, Loose Waves
Sarah Jessica Parker is practically the poster child for curly hair. And with good reason: Her polished waves are both smooth and bouncy. With fine hair and wavy to medium curls, it will be straighter at the roots and have more texture toward the ends. Apply a leave-in conditioner with a frizz-controlling serum, like Aveda's Be Curly Curl Enhancer, while hair is still damp.
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