Can you cut layers into curly hair?

May 04, 2022

We are starting to see more and more people starting to embrace their curly natural hair which is so exciting because when shaped correctly, curly hair is beyond amazing. Hair Health and Shape is so important now to those curly haired girls or guys.

Once upon a time this beautiful hair was hidden by chemical straightening or blow-drying and straightening out those curls weekly because lived in curls was sadly not a thing. What this meant for hairdressers is that they didn't really need to know how to properly cut curly hair because they would either pull the curls out when wet and cut it like straight hair or blow-dry and straighten it first before cutting. Why is it a problem now to cut like this? Because if you have a client come in that lives in her curls and you stretch out the curl to give an even haircut, like you would with straight hair then that doesn't work well for curl hair.

Every curl curls differently and is not a symmetrical spiral from top to bottom so to pull on the curl instead of working with it while cutting could mean that when that curl springs back up after cutting, could mean uneven baseline or layers.

Cutting Layers into curly hair

Now let’s answer this question for you. "Can you cut Layers into Curls?" Now there's no short answer to this question and let me explain to you why. Firstly you need to observe their curl and determine with them how tight or loose the curl is. Before you assume that you will cut layers into curly hair, let's sit down with the client first and ask some important questions to see if layers would be best for them.

Question 1: Have they had layers cut into their curls before, if so how did they feel like that sat for them?

If you have someone with a loose curl they may feel like longer layers or no layers is better for them because as soon as you cut a loose curl they can become tighter and maybe they like the weight around the crown area because it helps them with their looser curls or waves.

If you have a customer with tight curls then they will most likely want layers because if their hair is cut to one length then their hair can feel bulky and like a triangle from the back, so they need those longer layers for shape.

Question 2: Where do they like their first layer to start and do they like them longer or shorter layers?

Question 3: (observe if their layers are grown out for their last cut and present still or not) And ask..Were they wanting layers to bring back shape and have their curls bounce up more and back to life?


Did they still like the shape of their curls but feel their hair is heavy at the moment and would only like some thickness taken out? (because maybe layers isn't really what they want or ready for with this cut)

Question 4: Do they want layers around their face and fringe?

Question 5: Do they have any photos for reference so we can make sure we both understand the aim today.Sometimes photos can be a resourceful tool but make sure you always explain to your client that it's just a rough guide and no hairdresser can match a hairstyle to a photo of you curls are not perfectly the same.

Cutting Curly Hair Tips

  • First things first change out your comb to a wide tooth comb, this is so you don't stretch out too much tension on the curl.
  • If you need to take bulk out, put down the thinning scissors as they present a disaster for curly hair and try taking out some bulk LIGHTLY with your Texturizing shears instead. Why Texturizing shears? because when you cut out a few sections near the roots then this is a better way of taking bulk out without making the curl go frizzy
  • Educate your customer on how important it is for them to use Hydrating treatment at home or in the salon at least twice a month. Curly hair is naturally dryer than straight hair and requires good moisture treatments to lock in the hydration.
  • Finish off with a diffuser when drying your clients hair.


So I think we can establish that cutting layers into a curly haired customer is a case by case scenario. The name of this article was "Can you cut layers into curly hair" and the short answer is yes! if that's what your customer needs.

If you are not confident about cutting curly hair that's totally fine because as a hairstylist you will be stronger in some areas than others. So if you find yourself questioning your Curly hair cutting ability then look for an educational class or a stylist to give you hands on tips. As Hairdressers we never stop learning and evolving so there should never be shame on getting more education as the years progress.

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