Another question about my hair
October 14, 2017 4:19 PM   Subscribe

What vocabulary do I need to describe shortish curly hair haircuts? Specifically getting rid of flat, heavy hair around my face

I have curly/wave hair that's just past my shoulders at its longest. I overall like my current cut except that the hair right around my face gets really heavy and flat looking. My long-time stylist moved out of state about two years ago and I keep seeing different people. I keep trying to describe what the problem with my hair is, but each cut I get ends up looking straight and flat in front.

Here's a picture of me I just took right now and this is pretty much how my hair looks all the time. I like the length and curl but it's so weird and heavy and flat in around my face. Here's a photo of me and a baby head from a couple weeks ago. Same thing. I honestly don't even know if I'm using the right words to describe it which might be part of the problem.

and this is probably the happiest I am with my hair but it still looks weird in front.

I'd be willing to lose some length if it meant looking less flat around my face but I don't know what to ask for. I always bring in photos like these and say "I DON'T want my hair to look like this" but it always ends up looking like that.

What I think I want is something like this (but without the bangs) or this (but longer).

Any suggestions on what to ask for? Thanks!
posted by Ideal Impulse to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Show the stylist pictures instead of trying to describe what you want - you're way more likely to end up getting what you want. It's also good to ask the stylist if they think the look is achievable for you given your hair type and the amount of time you're willing to spend on your hair.

(Also, your photos won't load for me - not sure if it's because I'm on an iPad or my adblocker. I can see the goal photos that aren't yours fine.)
posted by insectosaurus at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Actually the photos loaded! They were just really slow for some reason.

I'm guessing that you need some type of layers around your face but that it's also partially the styling. I'd still bring in the photos - you say that you bring photos of what you don't want, but are you also bringing in photos that show what you do want?
posted by insectosaurus at 4:27 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Photos were slow to load for me, too.

The hair around your face has a looser curl pattern than the rest of your hair. You'll need shorter layers to encourage the curl and discourage the flattening effect you don't like, and you might want to scrunch with some product when it's wet. (I found Lyn Never's curly hair advice helpful, in this overall-useful thread.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:33 PM on October 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I second bringing in the pictures, but you want phrases like "take out some weight." "Textured" and "piecey" might help to describe the style you ultimately want.
posted by fuzzy night at 4:38 PM on October 14, 2017 [7 favorites]

How do you dry your hair? I have a somewhat similar situation, in that most of my curls are at the ends of my hair, and blowdrying at the roots has been the best solution for giving me more body and texture on the top of my head.

I have also used a curler in the past, when my hair was shorter, to get curls around my eye line. The hair cut you like with the bangs (dry hair) is highly styled, so a blow dryer, curler, and round brush were involved.

The other hair cut has probably also been dried at the roots and looks to have a lot of layers around the face.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:45 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think this is a styling issue rather than a cut problem. What is your hair routine, including what products you use?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:00 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

How do you currently style it? I am the poster of the thread Iris Gmbol linked to, (in which I learned I had curly hair at the age of 35 like a total hair dummy).

I end up with something that looks a lot like your shorter picture when I follow Darling Bri's style advice + doing a little ringlet twisting at the end after asking the hair cutter to add some layers and take out weight and aim for something a little bit longer than chin length. If it's down to my shoulders the, um, curl ecosystem gets a little weightier and pulls out the top half of the volume and I inevitably get the Dumb Pyramid look.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:02 PM on October 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

You and I have the exact same kind of hair - it curls, but it's not "curly" (the kind of hair that comes right out at the root and starts curling). It's more than wavy but less than curly. You also look like your actual hair is thin, but you have a lot of it, which is deceptive.

You definitely need to lose some length, but also some weight.

Do you towel-dry your hair? Do you use a hairdryer and diffuser?

What products (if any) do you use?

I recommend DevaCurl No-Poo shampoo (I know, it's a terrible name) and DevaCurl One Condition conditioner. I also STRONGLY recommend DermOrganic Firm Hold Volume Foam. All three of these products are made for hair exactly like yours and mine. (Don't be weirded out when the shampoo doesn't produce a lather--it's not supposed to.)

I just use one pump of the foam, mash it between my hands, and then scrunch up all through my hair. I let it air dry, and it looks like exactly what you want.
posted by tzikeh at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh - and look on Yelp or Craigslist in your area for "stylist specializing in wavy hair" or something like that, or call around to local salons and ask if they have a stylist who specializes in difficult wavy hair. Ask if you can come to the salon and see pictures of their clients. I'm serious. It took a lot of looking to find mine, but once I found her, everything changed.

Our type of hair (wavy-to-curly but not "curly"; thin but plentiful, only starts to curl once hair has grown a bit and so the top is left without volume) is notoriously difficult to cut well and effectively. You have to find someone who knows what they're doing.
posted by tzikeh at 5:12 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love the DevaCurl Delight low-poo and conditioner for my similarly curly hair. I also twist it when it's wet and let it dry, then sort of carefully fluff it out.

Try a DevaCut if you haven't. They're amazing.
posted by woodvine at 6:56 PM on October 14, 2017

Don't put conditioner anywhere near the roots, it straightens the hair there. That fixes this for me.
posted by fshgrl at 10:28 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

It looks like a volume issue to me - I think Darlingbri is right about this being a styling issue.

Can you try blow drying it upside down (or leaving it to dry in a pineapple bun, which has the same effect for me)? Or there are lots of volumising products out there, can’t recommend one because I have the opposite problem.

Extra layers may take some of the weight out and allow the hair to spring up a bit more as well.
posted by tinkletown at 3:54 AM on October 15, 2017

The layers need to be shorter, maybe try asking for a choppy cut, with more volume and some razored layers. Definitely try a diffuser attachment and hair mousse for more root lift
posted by KateViolet at 4:19 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Try asking for a long shag. I have curly hair also and my most recent cut can be described that way. I have bangs, but the key is layers around the side that can curl up and give you an overall fuller look.
posted by tryniti at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2017

I have wavy hair that is prone to heavy flatness in spots. My haircut is similar to the last picture in your post. My stylist cuts with scissors to the desired length (first 5-10 minutes), and then uses the razor for the rest. In my experience, this requires a skilled/talented person! Razors in the hands of a novice can make curly hair into a ball of frizz. But, a good stylist can cut curly layers in such a way (thinning out the parts that get weighed down and flat) that you don't have to do as much work styling AND should grow out ok. Take a picture in, but also maybe checkout the clientele's hair (I love when people have profile pics or post pictures with their reviews on Yelp!).

The alternative is to pick up the slack in the styling. There is good advice above from DB and others. I used to do the whole upside-down plopping with the towel until I got a full time job and could afford the king's ransom my current guy charges (totally worth it - I don't even need to comb it that much if I'm going for a hipstery piecey look).
posted by bluefly at 12:50 PM on October 15, 2017

The issue you are having is called 'triangle hair' - it's a symptom of a haircut meant for straight hair being applied to a head full of curls. The weight falls incorrectly when the curls dry and shorten after being cut wet. I suffered from triangle hair often myself until I found a stylist who knew how to cut curly hair. A good way to vet a stylist is to ask if they will cut your hair dry - if they say that they can, then they are used to dealing with the vagaries of the curly-headed!
posted by DSime at 5:49 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

In terms of cuts, making a board on pinterest of haircuts and finding people with similar face shapes was the most helpful for me. 'wavy fine' hair might be one search term - wavy tends to try to fight the 'flat' issue more than 'curly' cuts might.

in terms of routine things that may or may not apply to your hair that works for mine:
My hair works best when....
- I alternate between a LOT of conditioner (either scrunch in shower with a light conditioner) or JUST shampoo (if it's starting to get weighed down)
- Try to scrunch a bit with a towel if time allows
- Use just one styling products to scrunch when wet (for me it's a gel with some detangling properties, kinky curly curling custard, use tiny bit) when wet
- Let it air dry for 10-15 minutes so it's start to curl up and just a little damp
- Blow dry upside down no diffuser (oddly, gives my hair a little more curl and volume, but doesn't work if I do it when it's not partially dry)
- defluff with my hands (or spritz with a tiny bit of hair spray)

- about once a month or twice a month to try to get rid of frizzies put in v05 conditioning creme on dry hair or hot oil treatment, etc, then shampoo (deep conditioner otherwise tends to weight it down)
posted by typecloud at 1:09 PM on October 16, 2017

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