How to avoid common mistakes hairdressers make when handling curly hair

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In my last post I wrote about my newly found hairdresser. I’m incredibly happy to have found her, because I have had some quite bad experiences with hairdressers in the past (which curlie hasn’t?).

Conventional hairdressers are usually not educated on how to handle curly hair, which is why you could be struggling with your curls when seeing your hairdresser. Don’t get me wrong: Some hairdressers are doing an amazing job cutting curly hair even though they are not specialized!

No-G0’s when handling curly hair:

  1. Your hairdresser insists on straightening your curls before you leave, because he/she claims it is only possible to let curly hair air-dry (“no, there is absolutely no way you can blow-dry curly hair”)
  2. Your hairdresser diffuses your curls, but is constantly touching them while doing so
  3. Your hairdresser refuses to cut your curls in layers, because layers increase your curls’ volume and:
  4. “You most certainly need to make your curls less voluminous!”
  5. Your curls are frizzer after the appointment than before, because your hairdresser dried (and rubbed!) them with a terry towel
  6. Your curls look awful after seeing your hairdresser, because he/she didn’t use the right products for your curls
  7. The way your hairdresser combs your curls makes you cry
  8. While your hairdresser is cutting your curls they all have the same length, however the don’t anymore once they are dry

I’m sure you can relate to at least one of the above described mistakes, which is why finding a good hairdresser for curly hair is such a big struggle!

How to avoid these mistakes

Enough of the ranting, let’s talk about how you can avoid experiencing the above mistakes. First of all, I recommend you to ask other curlies which hairdresser they go to. They are the most reliable source to tell you if a hairdresser can or cannot handle curly hair. If they can’t recommend you a good hairdresser, try searching the internet for a hairdresser specialized in cutting curly hair. Nowadays, there are many new hairdressers that are just great and reading reviews online can definitely help to find a good one! So once you have found a hairdresser you like, make sure you tell your curly friends as I am sure they will appreciate it!

If you are still experiencing any of the above described mistakes, keep calm and try minimizing the potential damage 🙂

  • When it comes to your curls, you probably know best, what they need and what they dislike, so help your hairdresser to apply the right products and techniques. If you are not sure whether your hairdresser has all of your favorite products, bring your own products to the salon and either ask your hairdresser to use them or apply them yourself
  • Kindly offer your hairdresser to blow-dry (diffuse) your curls yourself – or you could leave the salon with wet hair (and let them air-dry on your way home).
  • If your scalp is sensitive, kindly ask your hairdresser to comb your curls yourself
  • Don’t worry about layers making your hair too voluminous: layers only help spreading the volume more evenly and they keep you from looking like a triangle
  • To make sure your haircut is also even when your curls are dry, choose a hairdresser that cuts your curls dry (if he/she does cut your curls try, he/she most likely is specialized in cutting curly hair)

I hope that my above tips can help improve your experience at the hairdresser’s! I would love to hear from you: have you experienced any of the above described mistakes? How did you make sure to avoid that mistake the next time you went to a hairdresser? And most importantly: Have you found a hairdresser you really like?

14 Comments
  • Sophie
    November 12, 2015

    Yes! I’ve found a curly hairdresser I love, but beforehand I went to a lady who did all of those bad things- she used curl-unfriendly products, she combed my hair when it was wet and cut straight across, she used a terrycloth towel, AND she diffused my hair on high while moving the blow-dryer around like crazy, which caused a TON of frizz! I’m so glad I found my new hairdresser 🙂

  • Malin
    November 13, 2015

    Good post! I am one of those annoying customers that come with my own shampoo, conditioner, styler and towel! Luckily for me I have had the same hairdresser for years so he is just laughing when I come in the door with my big bag of things 😉

  • JLO
    November 15, 2015

    I followed all the suggestions last year, and I thought I find a good hairdresser, that knows curly hair and is highly appreciated in the area. But I wasn’t happy with the results that day and in the days and weeks after that. Now I’m just almost too scared to go for a hair cut, no matter that the person has a good reviews and other people are on cloud nine with their experiences. At the moment, I’m cutting my hair, although I know hairdressers don’t recommend this.

  • Teri
    December 5, 2015

    I’ve had ALL of these problems with hair stylists! Why don’t they teach this stuff in cosmetology school! I don’t feel like I should have to do most of the work myself when I go to the salon, especially when I’m paying upwards of $50 PLUS TIP! What am I tipping for?

    Last time I went to get a haircut, I made some of the above suggestions to the stylist about curly hair. She looked at me like I was from another planet. She didn’t listen to anything I said and of course I left there with shelf-like layers. She won’t be getting my business again.

    Like JLO, I’m about ready to start cutting my own hair. I’m scared to death to go back to the salon any time soon. I take my chances about once a year just to get my fried ends trimmed. I’m so tired of dealing with this issue.

    Where are the good stylists who KNOW how to cut curly hair? How do we find you?

    • eizhowa
      September 29, 2016

      If you are bold enough, you could probably get your money back… I spent a year trying to repair the damage after some woman gave me wonky layers so I think a refund is more than reasonable.

  • Janice
    January 29, 2016

    I too have started cutting my own hair. I wanted to get the bleach blond ends off but sick of paying £50 to get hair that looked like candy floss just after I left. So one morning when my hair was pineapple in a scrunchie also the blond at the top I cut it. Now there is hardly any blonde left, and the way I cut it has left me with some short curls which are much shorter than the rest. It’s not what a hairdresser would have done but I like it. I own my hair and it’s style is my work in progress

    • Sandra
      January 29, 2016

      Hi Janice! I’ve wanted to try and cut my hair myself, but I was always too scared to give it a try. Maybe some day…. 🙂

  • Laura
    April 4, 2016

    I’ve been cutting my own hair for over 10 years. It’s free, easy, and fun when you cut your layers too short and realise they won’t go into a ponytail for a while. Once you’ve cut it yourself a couple of times, you start to understand how your hair frames your face and which style works best for you and your hair type. I always make sure my hair is dry and styled first, then, I’ll take individual curls and cut them in the ‘C’ of the curl until I’m happy with the way my head looks. If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll grab large sections of hair first, twist them, cut gradually down the twist, then finish off individual curl detail afterwards. I don’t think any two strands of my hair are the same length, and haven’t been for a long time, but NO ONE KNOWS THAT and everyone always says how gorgeous my hair is. Don’t be afraid of doing it yourself – you will never, ever do a worse job than the hairdressers you’ve been wasting money on for all these years 🙂

  • Janet
    August 31, 2016

    I have found that one of the worst things a stylist can do to a curly girl is to use a razor technique “to thin out your hair”. Talk about a frizzy mess!

    • Sandra
      September 1, 2016

      Yes, unfortunately razor blades definitely cause frizzy hair!

      • eizhowa
        September 29, 2016

        Really? I have had my hair “razored” a few times and I honestly couldn’t tell much of a difference.

        I am still trying to find a layering technique I like though :/

  • Lauren Werder
    December 19, 2016

    So my hair is very curly, but I find that the hair right on top of my head goes flat. So all of my ends are curly and has volume. The top of my head is the complete opposite flat and not very curly except for the hair the frames my face.How do I get the hair at the top of my head to have more volume?

  • Windi
    April 27, 2017

    I know this is an old post, but I must add: 1) Not using enough conditioner, and 2) Detangling the hair AFTER rinsing the conditioner out (really?!).

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