To help us figure out the best curly hair ideas, we spoke with Ruth Roche, global artistic ambassador for Pureology. Roche, a celebrity hair stylist who’s worked with both dark brown hair pop divas and ash blonde award-winning actresses, helped us find the best curly haircuts and styles for 2019.
Cutting Wet Vs. DryThere has been a big debate in the curly community during the last few years about whether or not it’s best to cut curly hair wet or dry. Many stylists prefer to stick to the traditional technique and cut hair while it’s wet, while others insist that curl patterns are so different when hair is wet, curly hair should only be cut dry because it’s styled dry.
Roche believes the best haircuts combine both techniques.
When removing a lot of length, it is easier to start wet and cut the ends blunt. As far as layering, I prefer to do the majority dry, where you can see the curl pattern and exactly where the length or curls will end up living...Cutting freehand on dry hair is a great approach to create a naturally layered look and avoids over-layering the hair, or cutting the layers too short.
Your stylist might use both techniques if you're looking for a significant change, but cutting dry is best if you’re just looking to freshen up your style.
Are layers good for naturally curly hair?Layers are great for curly hair! If you’ve just recently embraced your curly hair and are not sure which curly cut is for you, Roche suggests beginning with long layers.
“Only layer the surface of the hair to keep it from getting too round,” she says.
Overly layering your hair will cause too much volume, which Roche says could be shocking to people who are used to seeing their hair blown straight.
A cut with long layers is also perfect for curly girls who still plan on eventually straightening their hair and are afraid of their cut looking choppy.
“Short layers can look unbalanced with a longer length when straight,” Roche warns.
What is the best haircut for curly hair?As much as we love a clear-cut solution, there is no one-size-fits-all haircut for curly girls. The perfect curly cut for you will depend on several factors including your hair type, texture, length, and most importantly—what you want. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve rounded up 34 haircuts and styles below that are sure to make your curls look spectacular.
If none of the haircuts and styles pique your interest and you’re still completely stumped on what haircut is perfect for you, book a consultation with a trusted professional stylist. During the consultation, you and your stylist will be able to talk over your hair needs, concerns, and vision to come up with the best hairstyle for your curls and lifestyle.
What helps dry curly hair?Curly hair is notoriously dry, but it doesn’t have to be. If your ringlets are looking a bit parched these days, we recommend upgrading your old hair care routine for a routine packed with products formulated to moisturize your dehydrated strands.
Every good hair care routine starts with a shampoo, and we love Mizani’s Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo. Infused with cupuacu butter, argan oil, and honey, the shampoo gently cleanses and conditions hair for soft moisturized manageability. For the best results, follow the shampoo with Mizani’s Moisture Fusion Intense Moisturizing Mask. The creamy intensive moisturizing mask improves the condition of hair without adding weight and helps restore essential hydration and vibrancy to dry, brittle, lifeless hair.
To help your strands stay hydrated all day, we recommend using a moisturizing leave-in treatment like Redken’s All Soft Mega HydraMelt Leave-In Treatment for everyday styling. This moisturizing lotion leaves hair moisturized but not weighted down. The lightweight formula provides increased softness, manageability, control and shine.
Now that you know how to care for your curls, we’ve rounded up 33 haircuts and styles that will perfectly showcase your ringlets.
Haircuts For Curly Hair
Long, Layered Locks
Roche recommends a cut with long layers for girls who have newly embraced their curly locks and booked their first curly haircut. Ask your stylist for barely-there layers just near the ends of your locks that will look flawless while straight but create just enough movement.
Lobs have topped the list of trendiest haircuts for the last few years and for a good reason—they look amazing on everyone.
While a lob cut looks flawless on all hair textures and face shapes, Roche says the cut looks particularly flattering on women with round faces. If you want to take your lob to the next level, the stylist recommends adding face-framing layers to the cut.
The shag is back, and it’s better than ever. This ‘70s-inspired cut has regained popularity over the last few years and looks perfect with curls of all textures. The bangs and thinned-out ends bring major movement to your locks, but beware—not all shags are created equal.
Roche says to make sure your stylist avoids “an over-layered shape, such as a shag intended for straighter hair.”
“Curls shrink when dry and have a completely different texture,” Roche says, “It would end up not looking like a shag at all, and may have too much volume on the top.”
If you’re looking for a showstopping cut, Roche suggests adding some killer curly bangs to your ‘do.
“A layered shape that is more round with a long fringe...is being worn by the edgier types now,” Roche says. “It has an even amount of volume on the top and sides.”
Rounded AfroRounded curly cuts look great on everyone, but Roche says they look particularly beautiful on women with square faces who are looking to soften their style.
Roche suggests asking your stylist for a “more layered, rounded shape in either short or medium length.”
Hairstyles For Curly Hair
Zig Zag BraidsThe zig-zag part is back! Take this elementary school staple and upgrade it with flawless cornrows.
This style is perfect for anyone who wants a simple, elegant look that perfectly showcases their amazing curls. For this look, all you’ll need is a sturdy elastic, a medium hold pomade, and a brush.
Begin by deciding if you’d like to part your hair down the middle, side, or not part it at all. Apply the medium hold pomade to your edges and brush the pomade through until they lie completely flat. To complete your style, gather all of your hair at the nape of your neck and secure it with an elastic.
This simple style takes just minutes to master. To pull off this look, all you need is a medium hold styling pomade, a brush, a hair pick, and an elastic. Using the hair pick, comb your hair at the roots to create volume all over your head.
Once you’ve achieved your desired volume, apply a generous amount of the medium hold styling pomade all over your edges. Don’t forget to apply the pomade to the edges on the back of your head—they will be visible once your hair is up. Gather all of your curls at the top of your head (near your hairline) and secure them with an elastic.
The best thing about the beauty world finally embracing the curly hair movement is that curly girls can finally move away from crunchy ringlets.
“Now it’s all about softer curls with more movement,” Roche says.
We’re in total agreement. That said, a wash and go is the best way to display your soft curls and show off your killer cut.
If you want to ensure you get a flawless look every time, it’ll take a little more work than just washing your hair and walking out of the door. After applied your favorite styling products, allow your hair to air dry 80 percent of the way. Then use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to finish drying your hair. Diffusing your hair will give your style more volume than it would have had if you just allowed it to air dry. If you’d like even more volume, use a hair pick to comb your hair at the roots to create volume all over your head.
Half-Up Top Knot
To create this look, begin by parting your hair horizontally using your ear as a starting point. Once your hair is parted, tie the front section of your hair into a ponytail on the top of your head. Then, wrap your ponytail around itself to form a top knot and secure the style with several bobby pins. To complete your look, use a hair pick to comb the loose hair at the roots to create volume.
Deep Side Part
Parting your hair a different way may not seem like a style, but switching up your regular middle part for a deep side part will instantly elevate your look. For this look, all you’ll need is a comb and some shine spray. On clean, dry hair, use the comb to make a part on the far left or right side of your head. Fluff each side for maximum volume and spray with shine spray.
If your hair is cropped close to your head, you can still rock a deep side part, just add a medium hold styling pomade to the mix. After you’ve washed and dried your hair, create a part on the far right or left side of your head. Then apply the pomade on each side of the part, and brush through to make sure your part stays sharp all day long.
Just gather the top half of your hair in a ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic. If you want to dress your look up, add a glamorous hair accessory. We suggest a metallic gold hair cuff.
For this look, you need to begin with clean, dry hair. Part your hair horizontally from ear to ear and secure the hair from the bottom section with a hair elastic. Next, part the front section of your hair on the right or left side of your head.
Working in small segments, evenly distribute gel throughout the front two sections of hair, applying gel about an inch from the root. Once your roots are entirely saturated in gel, untie the bottom section and comb your hair straight back. Allow your clean, dry hair to flow down your back to provide a nice contrast against your wet roots. Accessorize your look by placing three to five bobby pins on each side of your head. Allow the gel to dry completely to set your look.
This is a quick and easy way to style your curls when styling your mane is the last thing you want to do. Just gather a small section of hair on the right or left side of your head, gently twist it and use several bobby pins to secure the twist to the side of your head.
If you love the look of cornrows but don’t have time to braid your entire mane, consider side cornrows. The braided accent takes just a few minutes to create and instantly elevates your look.
Center Twist Ponytail
A simple flat twist adds an interesting visual element to an otherwise plain ‘do.
No matter how late you’re running, you always have time for a messy bun.
Embellished Chevron Braid
Chevron braids are already visually stunning on their own, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use some help from a few killer accessories.
We love a good fringe, but every once and a while we just want to get all of that hair out of our face. If you’re stumped on what to do with your bangs, consider braiding them. This stylish solution will keep your bangs out of your face all day long.
If you love the look of super defined curls, you need to add some perm rods to your hair styling arsenal. Perm rods help to create perfect heat-free curls every time.
Cornrowed Half-Up Half-Down
Half up half down styles are often thought of as simple, but they don’t have to be. This intricate cornrow design is the perfect upgrade for this everyday style.
Channel your inner rockstar with this faux hawk.
Cascading French Braid
Whether you’ve been blessed with down-to-there-hair or just know your way around clip-in extensions, this style is the perfect way to show off your enviable length.
Half-Up Side Ponytail
If your go-to half up ponytail is in need of an upgrade, consider this ‘80s spin. Placing your ponytail slightly to one side is the perfect way to put a retro spin on a simple updo.
Half Bantu Knots
Creating on one side of your hair allows you to slay the trendy look while still showing off your killer curls.
Begin by creating a part on the left or right side of our head. Secure the larger section of hair with a hair elastic so it stays out of your way and section the remaining hair into three or four segments. Working with one part at a time, craft your bantu knots and secure them with a bobby pin. Once you’ve created all of your bantu knots, release the rest of your hair.
Braided High Ponytail
This subtle upgrade to your ponytail is guaranteed to take your style to the next level.
Slick High Ponytail
The only thing better than a sky-high bouncy ponytail is a sky-high curly one.
Braided Low Ponytails
The word “pigtails” often conjures up images of first-grade class photos, but these pigtails are anything but elementary. The combination of sleek cornrows paired with metallic accessories and voluminous curls will quickly make this look one of your style staples.
Slicked Back Low Ponytail
Low ponytails are usually considered conservative, but these accessories will take your ponytail from the office to the holiday party.
Half-Up Braided Pigtails
If you avoid half up hairstyles because you think they look too young, this braided style is perfect for you. Ditch the single ponytail for two braided pigtails paired with voluminous curls.
This teased ponytail is guaranteed to make you the talk of any party.
Faux-Hawk Bantu Knots
If your hair is very long, you’ll want to begin by parting your hair horizontally into several sections. As you part your hair, secure each section into a small ponytail that aligns with the center of your hair. Twist each one, wrapping it around itself to form a knot. Secure each knot with a clear elastic.
If your hair is on the shorter side, begin by parting a 2-inch section down the center of your head from front to back. Secure the hair on the sides of your head with a small elastic. Then part the middle section of your hair horizontally into several segments. As you part your hair, secure each section into a little ponytail and make sure it aligns with the center of your hair.
After your hair has been parted and secured, twist each section of hair and wrap it around itself to form a knot. Secure each knot with a small, clear elastic. After you’ve completed all of your bantu knots, remove the elastics from the side sections of your hair and cornrow both sides to give the illusion of a shaved head.
To create this look, all you’ll need is an elastic headband and a few bobby pins. While a plain elastic headband will work, we think it’s much more fun to go with a bedazzled option to add glitz to this look.
To begin, place your headband on top of your hair so that it wraps around your entire head. The bejeweled part of the headband should sit an inch from your hairline. Then, take the section of hair in front of your right ear and pull it back and tuck it into your headband. Repeat the same steps with the section of hair in front of your left ear. Continue tucking the hair into your headband until the headband is completely covered and your hair feels secure. This is a party style if we’ve ever seen one.
Looking for more quick and easy hairstyles? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.