Ask The Expert

Ask The Expert: How Do I Choose The Right Stylist To Cut My Curly Hair?

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Last week, YouTuber Jewellianna Palencia posted a video about every woman’s nightmare — getting a bad haircut that could take weeks, months, and in her case, possibly years to fix.

Curly hair can be tricky to cut and it takes more precision and finesse to make sure the curls look right in their natural state or straightened out. To make sure you never experience what Jewellianna did, we asked Pekela Riley, a well-known stylist that slays natural and relaxed hair, for some tips on how to get the perfect curly cut.

Q: I’m thinking about cutting my curly hair, but I’m nervous about choosing the right cut and the right stylist. So, what should I consider when choosing the right cut, and what should I look for in a stylist?

A: Cutting curly hair can be a challenge. That’s why it’s very important to seek a stylist with lots of natural and curly hair experience. When seeking a stylist to cut your curly hair, ask for photos or examples of their previous work.

The thing that is most important when cutting curly hair, is the potential for shrinkage and the way that the person will wear their hair most of the time. Curly girls tend to wear their hair a fixed way 80% of the time with a variable style of 20% of the time. The 80/20 rule applies here.

If a curly girl wears her hair wet and go most of the time, her curls should be cut while curly. If a curly girl presses her hair out most of the time, her hair should be blow-dried straight for her cut. When it comes to cutting in a curly state, air-dried curls are best to prevent over stretching and removing too much length if done wet.

If curls are cut when wet, it must be done with minimal stretching.

As a second-generation hair stylist, Pekela is the founder of Jacksonville, Florida’s award-winning Salon PK, which was named one of Elle Magazine’s top 100 salons in America. At Salon PK, Pekela and her team have created an array of textured hairstyles that provide women with more styling possibilities than they could imagine, while pairing them with professionals to assist in their diverse hair journeys. “It’s a new time for textured hair,” says Pekela Riley. “No longer do women with naturally curly textures need to stick with the overdone twist-outs, braid-outs roller sets and common straight styles to minimize the full impact and glory of their manes. It’s my mission at Salon PK to inspire women of diverse textures to break the monotony and continuously take their textured hairstyles to the next level.” 

Learn more about Pekela here.

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