Hairstyle for Natural Curly Hair

Young woman with a shoulder-length curly hairstyle
Curly shoulder-length hair - Photo: Ginger Kitten/Shutterstock
Q: What kind of hairstyle is good for natural curly hair? My hair is very coarse, and I have a hard time finding a style.
A: This question is actually a little tougher to answer than it might seem at first. Generally speaking, curly hair tends to look best in a blunt cut. It all depends on how large and how tight the curls are, and your face shape.
For larger, looser curls, a long-layered cut can give you a full-volume hairstyle, and can be quite flattering as long as you have the right head shape and build to wear it. Most likely, it would look best with an oval-shaped face or perhaps narrow face on a medium build or larger. For petite women with small faces, the results would most likely be a little too overpowering.
For smaller, looser curls (spirals or coils) you will likely want to stick with a blunt cut. Try going for shorter lengths if your face is narrow, since the curl will add more horizontal volume at shorter lengths. If you have a wider face, try a longer length and have the stylist use thinning shears at about the 1/2-to-2/3 point on the length to prevent a "pyramid" silhouette.
Some women with finer-boned features will enjoy the short, gamine-style haircuts that work nicely with medium-to-large curls. Such looks can be very flattering on oval, heart-shaped, and triangular faces, and are wonderfully easy to style. Just work through a little product on damp hair and let it air dry. Just try to avoid this cut if you have smaller, tighter curls because of the tendency toward the afro-look.
Some things to keep in mind are the fact that with curly hair you should specify to your stylist the length at which you want the final hairstyle to rest. A common mistake some women with curly hair make is thinking that by specifying how much to cut off, they can avoid getting a haircut that is too short. The fact is that curly hair gets weighed down by its own length, and is longer when wet. Your stylist knows this.
However, if your hair hangs four inches past your shoulder, and you want it to end up being shoulder-length, you should tell the stylist this rather than saying, "Cut off about four inches." The stylist can do exactly as you ask and because you've removed four inches' worth of weight from the curly hair, the curls will tighten more and hang shorter. You could end up with a finished length that is as much as two-to-three inches shorter than you intended, depending on the size of your curls.
Finally, you should never get a razor cut with curly hair. Razor-cutting curly hair leads to a frizzy look, and can result in split ends.
See also:
Curly hair and hairstyles
Hairstyles for the shape of your face
Different things you can do with curly hair
Hairstyles for long, curly hair
Long and curly celebrity hairstyles