Haircut for Thick Curly Hair

Woman with thick and curly shoulder length hair
Q: I have really thick, curly and unmanageable hair. I am deciding on a haircut. Is there any way I could have a haircut that is easy to manage and could be tied as ponytail?
A: With the hair type you describe "easy to manage" and "could be tied in a ponytail" can often be conflicting traits. Wanting to tie the hair in a ponytail dictates at least a certain amount of length. Depending on how thick and curly your hair is, this can mean the hair would be otherwise unmanageable.
With thick, curly hair, generally you want to avoid layered haircuts as they only serve to enhance the curliness and leave you with a lot of volume. This means a blunt haircut. Combining this restriction with the desire for the ability to tied the hair into a ponytail means you're looking at a shoulder-length bob or something similar.
Now we have to look at ways to tame the hair. This type of hair usually needs a lot of moisture, because it tends to be porous. Smoothing shampoos, detangling conditioners and anti-frizz serums are also a good idea. These help to seal the cuticle layer of the hair and coat the hair preventing tangles. It also tends to weigh the hair down, "stretching out" the curls a bit to appear straighter and keeping the curl that remains more controlled and sleeker-looking.
If you really dislike the curl, there are more permanent options for reducing curl. For example, you can use a thio-straightening process. Basically, you use a perm without using rollers. Or, as an alternative, you can perm the hair using very large rollers. This will allow you to keep the curl, but will reshape them into larger and more manageable configurations.
Although I said these processes were permanent, they will require maintenance and can be reversed by re-perming the hair using rollers approximately the same size as the natural curl. The processes to alter the natural level of curl would have to be repeated as necessary to handle the new hair growth (which will be exactly as curly as your natural hair grows). However, many women with your problem find this to be a terrific remedy for unmanageable hair.
Photo: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock
See also:
Curly hair and hairstyles
How to avoid or get rid of tangled hair
Are layers something people with curly hair shouldn't get?
Could a detangling conditioner be a solution for my thick and unmanageable hair?