Seeking a fresh new 'do!
October 20, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

What kind of haircut or style might breathe new life into my boring old curly hair? Pics inside!

I've been growing it out for years, but it just hasn't fanned out into the lush mane I'd imagined :( I love the curls, and it's super healthy, but something's gotta go: either the length, style, colour or all.

Snowflakes: I've done bobs to death, as it was my go-to haircut for years. Anything new I should consider?
-I'm a teacher in my 30s, so I'm not inclined to do anything crazy, but I'm so so bored with my hair, and I'm ready to experiment a bit.
-I lean toward low-maintenance: I wash and diffuse a few days a week, and pin it back or bun it other days. I know--boring! But I'm willing to put more effort into a good, flattering style.
-My hair is actually very thin and fine despite the curls, and doesn't hold volume, especially at the top. This limits what I've been able to do with it, long or short.

I've included some pics to show that everloving bob I had for years, and my hair in it's current state and usual style. Any ideas for a fresh and flattering change?

Thanks very much in advance!
posted by sundaydriver to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
have you considered doing a shorter bob with the back shorter than front and very layered? I think it would look great on you and it works on curly hair and is very easy to maintain.

also you have lovely hair and you are so pretty!
posted by supermedusa at 12:56 PM on October 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

here is a sideview pic of me with the haircut I'm talking about. a friend with fine curly hair has it and it works very well.
posted by supermedusa at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2012

Don't hate me, but have you thought about extensions--like really wild, long to your waist Sonia Braga ones? Might be really fun!
posted by Ideefixe at 1:15 PM on October 20, 2012

Best answer: I think just a couple inches off the ends and nothing more. I think it looks beautiful long, or longish. Nothing too short. Shoulder length and full would look beautiful. Like this (video of woman with similar texture) but maybe work the curl so it's even fuller.

Another image. Shoulder length and full.
posted by Fairchild at 1:15 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

this! other view of this!
posted by travelwithcats at 1:30 PM on October 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

See if the hairstylist can help you to make the hair close to your scalp more full. Also scan the "What not to wear" tv show archives for women with similar hair. I found one contestant named Dottie that was able to get a good shape for her head.
What about a short short cut?
posted by calgirl at 1:32 PM on October 20, 2012

Travelwithcats has it!!!!
posted by calgirl at 1:34 PM on October 20, 2012

You really, really need to have your hair cut by a curly hair specialist: someone who only cuts curly hair, and preferably someone who trains others to cut curly hair. Doing so changed my life and my hair is awesome now.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:44 PM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh god please don't do the bob that supermedusa suggests. Unless it's on the right person, it's going to look horribly dated and out of style. I came in to suggest something like Fairchild suggested in the second link, maybe just slightly less big. Keep it shoulder length and find a good curly hairstylist to put layers in it to give you more volume. Also back brushing for volume is your friend and there are a ton of YouTube videos to show you how to do it. It doesn't take that long so it would fit in well with your low maintenance plan. Keeping it shoulder length would also allow you to just throw it back in a pony tail on days you don't want to fuss with your hair.

Whatever style you eventually choose, I think you should also color your hair. A dark warm brown would look beautiful with your skin tone. Have you thought about growing your eyebrows in a little more? I like yours as they are now but I think with a new do and color, fuller eyebrows will just kick everything up a notch since they are very in style right now.

I like the hairstyle travelwithcats suggested but I think what some people are missing is that your hair is thin at the top (so is mine so I can sympathize). So I don't know how well that hairstyle would work out since it's pretty much relying on the hair on the top of the head.

You're young and beautiful so whatever you decide, you're gonna look great!
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:48 PM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Honestly, it looks very pretty long! I think if you keep growing it it will look lovely as well. So on that note, I'd look for a good curly hair-stylist and get a layered cut that you can keep growing out. In the meantime, finding a way to get volume at the roots (others have good suggestions here) might help you feel like you're "updating" it. And fuller eyebrows = yes!! You're very pretty, I love your look.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:52 PM on October 20, 2012

I think the longer length plus the shape/layering of the bob would look very pretty. I mean keep it long or even grow it longer, but get shorter layers around you face and in the back so it doesn't do the triangle-shaped-blob thing. You do have to get someone who's really good at curly hair do do this, though.

I also really like the bob - maybe just a new color with that same style would be different enough.

I would not go really short, unless you love those styles. Personally, I've never seen anyone look better with very short hair. Some women can pull it off, sure, and you're really cute so maybe you could be one of them. But why just pull something off when you could rock something? (Imho.) And as a curly-haired person (though a different type of curl than yours) the thought of styling very short hair every day is just...ack.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:03 PM on October 20, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far!

MaryDellamorte, can you link to a picture of the colour you're thinking of?

(Also, I do wish my eyebrows grew in a bit fuller! I have to fill them out with pencil as it is, even with minimal maintenance, but maybe I'll look into some good brow make-up.)
posted by sundaydriver at 2:13 PM on October 20, 2012

Yeah I hear you on the eyebrow thing, mine are the same way. With the right makeup and practice, you can get it to work. I bought one of these eye brow kits from Ulta and I love it.

As far as the hair color, something like this or this.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try this.

I have similar hair. I can tell you that B+B makes a curl enhancer for fine, curly hair. It is great. Defuse, add a glosser/defrizz and you are set.

Please make sure whoever cuts your hair DOES NOT do 2 things: 1) Use a razor and 2) make the longest parts of your hair too thinned out. When they are cutting the long layers around your face, there is a temptation to really get in there to give you a lot of lift. What they can do is in fact leave the underlayer too thin and sparse. In fact, if they pull out the thinning shears, tell them to put them away. You want to avoid wispy and thinned.
posted by oflinkey at 3:09 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Curly haired person here with a great stylist who totally gets curly hair, dropping in to strongly second Sockowocky. You have a wonderful length going right now, and just need an excellent stylist. And I'd also rely on your stylist for good coloring tips -- though I truly like your current color.
posted by bearwife at 3:31 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have very similar hair and just cut it a few months ago into a bob. It's adorable and much healthier than it used to be.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2012

Emphasizing going to see a curly hair specialist. My friends with curly hair -- either super big full hair or thinner longer hair -- have all had revolutionary cuts after seeing a stylist known to be awesome with curly hair. See someone who is a bit expensive and hard to get into, or someone recommended by other folks with curly hair. Try to read reviews online or ask friends first.

Also - you didn't ask about product, but have you heard of the Deva Curl products? My friends are borderline bananas over this stuff, and again, it changed their look and outlook on their hair.
posted by barnone at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am thinking you would do well with bangs, whether you kept it long or went shorter. I don't think chin length did much for you. I don't think asymmetrical would be great on you either.

Some carefree things that have worked with my curly hair:

Short and layered in a style that is toussled enough to need no fussing. Just wash and let it air dry.

Super short. Same as above. But not recommending it for you. You have lovely classic features.

Long enough to put up in a ponytail while wet. For me, letting it down after it was dry gave me great controlled waves without product or fuss.

Wash in the evening and sleep in sponge curlers. Replace the uncomfortable plastic clip with a cloth loop cut from pantyhose. No discomfort to interfere with sleep. Fantastic curls all day long.
posted by Michele in California at 5:28 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your hair is beautiful. It's also very similar to mine. I have tried lots of ways of wearing my hair but I can't reliably make it look good long. As you say, it just loses volume at the top and looks limp and fine.

My favourite thing to do with my hair was extremely short at the back and then down to my cheekbones at the front. Meant I could wear it curly or straight, never required combing, never required blow-drying (unless it was going straight for a special occasion) and looked best when I'd just got out of bed.

I ended up with this haircut because I went to a Toni & Guy salon (well, Essensuals, which is a spin-off chain in the UK) and got my hair cut by someone with curly hair and just gave her completely free reign.

I would have my hair like this still now except my lovely boyfriend is a sucker for long hair and I indulge him.
posted by kadia_a at 2:33 AM on October 21, 2012

For volume at the top:
When you come out of the shower and the hair is wet, hang your head upside down and use a bunch of duckbill clips in your hair. Put them in sideways (so the edge of the clip touches your scalp and the clips are standing), and dry normally. Remove the clips once you're done. It give a little lift without too much fuss.
posted by windykites at 6:44 AM on October 21, 2012

"Oh god please don't do the bob that supermedusa suggests. Unless it's on the right person, it's going to look horribly dated and out of style."

I love supermedusa's hair and wish I could get mine to look like that. It's a classic.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:14 AM on October 21, 2012

Best answer: I would say get someone with curl expertise to try to cut to this Thandie Newton look.

For the record, Supermedusa's looks great, but on someone with hair as curly as OPs (and mine) very short back and long sides could end up looking more like this.
posted by OompaLoompa at 6:55 PM on October 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks again, all.

Btw, I actually had the haircut that supermedusa linked to for a long time, I just couldn't find a picture of it. The problem was I had to always straighten the long parts because they just flew around my head or stuck out, at least until my hair grew to almost shoulder length. The result is lots of broken off hair around my face from all the heat. It is a cute cut, but works better for heavier, or less curly hair.

OompaLoompa, love love love that Thandie Newton pic--I'll bring it to my next appointment.
posted by sundaydriver at 1:07 AM on October 22, 2012

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