Ask a Hairstylist: The Best Short Haircuts for Curly Hair (That Don’t Require Straightening)

Plus how to control your curls.
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Short haircuts for curly hair

Q: Hello from California! I am in need of some advice for my dark, thick, frizzy, wavy hair. 

For the longest time, I have thermally and/or chemically straightened it into submission. But lately, I am wanting to see if I can find a style in its more natural state. 

Short haircuts for curly hair

Kimberley wants a hairstyle that won't require straightening.

These pictures reflect my hair after combing it out in the morning, and then applying a liberal amount of styling cream to tame it. As you can see, even after the cream, my hair is very "big" compared to my head, and is badly in need of some shape.

Short haircuts for curly hair

Kimberley feels her hair is too "big" and lacks shape.

I am thinking longer would be better to weigh it down, but I really don't want to have a huge lion's mane! I would very much appreciate any input you have. Thanks! — Kimberley

A: Kimberley, thank you for your request for a consult.

I think you are barking up the wrong tree… don't grow it long! Your hair long would take over your whole body.

Here are a few short shapes that should work nicely with your hair:

Audrey Tautou Cannes amfAR Gala 2013

Audrey Tautou at the 2013 Cannes amfAR Gala.

Nora Zehetner InStyle Diamond Fashion Show 2007

Nora Zehetner at the 2007 InStyle Diamond Fashion Show.

Vanessa Hudgens Elton John Academy Awards Viewing Party 2012

Vanessa Hudgens at the 2012 Elton John Academy Awards Viewing Party.

Nora Zehetner Last Night New York City premiere 2011

Nora Zehetner at the 2011 New York City premiere of 'Last Night.'

With these cuts, I would avoid combing at all costs. It will only expand your hair.

Instead, I would rinse and condition your hair well every day—no shampoo—and only then comb it. Add your generous amount of styling cream, place your hair into style with your fingers, and let it dry. No blowdryer for you.

When it has dried, only use your fingers to lift and separate the shape. I find that putting your fingers at the scalp and ruffling the roots of the hair is the best way to do this. Do not run your fingers all the way through, as this will upset any waves or curls that you will acquire.

Make your hair larger than life when it is shorter, and you can still see your face and neck. The long hair hides these lovely attributes.

Try doing some work with a curling iron on these shapes for fun:

Kerry Washington American Music Awards 2012

Kerry Washington at the 2012 American Music Awards.

billyxoxo

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