Cutting and colouring curly hair

I had about 15cm cut off my hair a few days ago (above). I made a deal with my hairdresser (who I have been going to for 15 years) that after the summer I will let her cut it to the length below, because that is her favourite look on me.

I never used to have a problem having my hair cut and coloured in South Africa, because hairdressers tend to have more experience with curly, porous hair. Swedes often have straight, thin, fine hair and most hair stylists do not know how to deal with the special challenges of working with curly hair.

My curl type is 3A:

The hair underneath is almost straight but the hair on top is very curly and the hair curls in different ways on different parts of my head, which you can see here.

So my hair has to be cut when it is either sopping wet with no curl, or bone dry and straightened. If it is less than sopping wet it has curls in different places and so dries to different lengths. The person cutting it also needs to keep in mind that it will be much shorter when it dries curly than it is when it is straight. My stylist cuts once when it is sopping wet, then dries it dead-straight and cuts it again. She has hair like mine so she really understands how it behaves.

When it comes to hair colour, curly hair does not shine or reflect light in the same way as straight hair, so you need to have lighter colour than with straight hair in order to get the same effect.

My hair is, like most similar hair, porous and dry. So temporary colour is never temporary. My hair sucks it up and you can never get rid of it. It responds best to products for Afro-Caribbean hair. I used to find them easy to find in South Africa, but here in Sweden I usually use Philip Kingsley Extreme Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, which is specifically made for porous tight curls and all variations of African-Caribbean hair.

I spent so many years of my life hating my curls but when it comes down to it, there is so much to like about my type of hair. It holds a style (whether curly or straight) really well and for a long time, it is thick, it is very low maintenance (I just let it air dry), it grows really fast and really long and I have virtually no grey (just a bit at the sides).

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. Having curly hair myself, I know from experience that a hairdresser who knows how to deal with it is worth their weight in gold. It took me years to find my current one, and I’ve been going to her for twenty years now. Only on two occasions have I not been happy with the cut. I’m dreading the day she retires from the business!

  2. Well, I am certainly no expert in hair, haha, but I think all three of these photos look good, for what it’s worth.

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