Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Weighed Down Curly Hair

Q: I have very long, thick, curly hair (30+ inches). My hair naturally forms ringlets (I never use more than a daily conditioner when styling), which I love, but due to its thickness and weight the hair on the back of my head tends to develop a flat wave instead. I would prefer not getting it layered but I really want it to look more uniform. Is it possible to add curl with styling products without weighing my hair down? And if not what would be the best hair cut that will not take away from my length and thickness? I'm worried that if I get it layered it will become more high maintenance.
A: This problem is a common one. The curly hair is weighed down already and the curls are stretched out near the scalp because of the weight of the hair. Different women have different approaches to the problem.
Some women opt for the additional styling method. They use styling products and tools to enhance the curls and firmness in the flattened areas. Sometimes this means applying a styling gel or pomade to still-damp hair and using a diffused blow-dryer and the fingers to give added lift and shape in the desired area. Some women simply apply styling product like gel to the needed area and wrap segments of hair in the desired area around sponge rollers (winding only the portion of the length between the scalp and the halfway point of the hair shaft) and drying it with a bonnet dryer or overnight. Both methods can help in many cases to give added strength to the curls in the areas desired.
Some women opt for a weight-removal method. This involves cutting the hair. The hair can be layered to remove some weight and to distribute the curl more evenly using a traditional layering technique. Or the hair can be notched using notching shears (which are specially designed for use on curly hair). Notching shears have teeth along one or more blades (like thinning shears) but are designed to remove larger "chunks" of hair, which with curly hair, means that the shortened segments will draw upward and revitalize the look of the curl in the needed areas.
There is also the carving and slicing technique in which the stylist will carefully and selectively cut the hair to maximize the appearance of the curl. The carving is done so that the curls lie most effectively. It also attempts to create a more natural and balanced result. Properly done, this can prevent the dreaded triangle head look, as well as the equally-dreaded bubble head appearance.
Related posts:
Roller styling with sponge rollers
Notching and point cutting
Hair chipping and slicing
The triangle head or pyramid effect