How to Cut Coily Hair: Step-by-Step Guide

Cutting coily hair can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the process. But fear not, because in this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the essentials of cutting coily hair with ease. Whether you are looking to trim your own coils or are a professional hairstylist interested in learning more about this hair type, you’ve come to the right place. From understanding the unique characteristics of coily hair to mastering the techniques that will result in a fabulous cut, this article has got you covered. No matter your level of experience, get ready to embrace the beauty of coily hair and confidently tackle your next haircutting session. Let’s get started! This is an amazing article On How to Straighten Coily Hair: Tips and Techniques Check it out for all of the details.

How to Cut Coily Hair
Photo Credit: PaulWattsHair


Welcome to my comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to cut coily hair! If you have beautiful coily hair and are looking to give it a fresh trim or even try a new style, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will walk you through everything you need to know about cutting coily hair, from understanding its characteristics to shaping and maintaining your haircut. So grab your scissors and let’s get started! Related Read: Understan Coily Hair

Understanding Coily Hair

What is coily hair?

Coily hair is a hair type that has a naturally tight curl pattern. It is often referred to as “kinky” or “tight curls” and ranges from a small S-shaped coil to a Z-shaped coil. Coily hair is common among individuals of African, Afro-Caribbean, and African-American descent, but it can also be found in people from diverse backgrounds.

Characteristics of coily hair

Coily hair has its own unique set of characteristics that set it apart from other hair types. It tends to be densely packed with curls, which can make it prone to dryness and breakage. Coily hair also tends to shrink in length, making it appear shorter than it actually is. This hair type requires special care and attention to keep it healthy, moisturized, and defined.

Preparing for the Haircut

Gather the necessary tools

Before you start the haircut, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools. Here are the tools you will need:

  1. Sharp scissors or hair shears: It is crucial to use a sharp pair of scissors specifically designed for cutting hair. Dull scissors can damage the hair and create uneven cuts.
  2. Wide-tooth comb: A wide-tooth comb is essential for detangling coily hair without causing excessive breakage.
  3. Spray bottle filled with water: Having a spray bottle filled with water will help keep the hair damp and easier to work with during the haircut.

Prepare the work area

Creating a comfortable and organized work area will make the haircutting process easier and more efficient. Here are some steps to prepare your work area:

  1. Find a well-lit space: Ensure that you have enough natural or artificial light in the area where you will be cutting your hair. This will help you see the hair clearly and make precise cuts.
  2. Cover the floor or surface: Coily hair tends to shed easily, so it’s a good idea to lay down a towel or cover the floor or surface you’ll be working on. This will make cleaning up the hair much easier afterward.
  3. Have a mirror: Set up a mirror in a position that allows you to see the back of your head clearly. This will help you achieve a balanced and evenly cut hairstyle.

Washing and Detangling the Hair

Is it necessary to wash coily hair before cutting?

Yes, it is recommended to wash coily hair before cutting. Washing the hair not only removes any product build-up and dirt, but it also allows the hair to revert to its natural curl pattern. This makes it easier to see the individual curls and ensures a more precise and even haircut.

How to wash coily hair

When washing coily hair, it’s important to use products that are specifically formulated for this hair type. Follow these steps to wash your coily hair:

  1. Wet your hair: Start by thoroughly wetting your hair with warm water. Make sure the water reaches all parts of your scalp and hair.
  2. Apply a gentle shampoo: Choose a sulfate-free shampoo that is formulated for coily hair. Apply a small amount to your scalp and work it into a lather. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp, being careful not to tangle or rough up the hair.
  3. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse out the shampoo from your hair with warm water until the water runs clear. Make sure to rinse out all traces of the shampoo to prevent any residue from weighing down your hair.
  4. Apply conditioner: Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner evenly and detangle the hair.
  5. Detangle the hair: Starting from the ends, use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle the hair. Work your way up to the roots, being careful not to pull or tug on the hair. This will help minimize breakage and prepare the hair for cutting.
  6. Rinse with cool water: Rinse out the conditioner with cool water to help seal the hair cuticles and add shine. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue.

Trimming Coily Hair

Should coily hair be cut when it’s wet or dry?

Coily hair is best cut when it’s dry. This is because coily hair tends to shrink when it’s wet, and cutting it in its shrunken state may result in a shorter hairstyle than desired. Cutting coily hair when it’s dry allows you to see the true length and shape of the hair, ensuring a more accurate and satisfactory haircut.

Using the right technique to trim coily hair

When it comes to trimming coily hair, precision is key. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to trim your coily hair:

  1. Start by parting your hair: Use a tail comb or your fingers to part your hair into sections. This will make it easier to work with smaller sections at a time.
  2. Take a small section: Begin with a small section of hair that you want to trim. It’s best to start with a smaller section and gradually work your way through the entire head to ensure evenness.
  3. Stretch the hair: Gently pull the hair in the section you’re working on taut. This will help you see any split ends or unevenness more clearly.
  4. Trim the ends: Using sharp scissors, trim the ends of the hair by making small, vertical cuts. Avoid cutting straight across in one go, as this can create an uneven line. Instead, make small, precise cuts to maintain the shape of the hair.
  5. Repeat for each section: Move on to the next section and repeat the process until you have trimmed all the desired sections of your hair.

Remember, less is more when it comes to trimming coily hair. It’s better to make small, gradual cuts to avoid taking off too much length. You can always trim more if needed, so start conservatively and adjust as you go.

Shaping Coily Hair

How to shape coily hair

Shaping coily hair involves creating a defined and balanced hairstyle that complements your natural curl pattern. Here’s how you can shape your coily hair:

  1. Determine the desired length: Decide on the overall length you want for your hair. This will guide you in shaping the rest of your hair.
  2. Define the perimeter: Start by creating a clear shape for the perimeter of your hair. You can choose to have a rounded shape, a square shape, or any other shape that suits your preferences. Trim the ends, making sure they are even and in line with the desired shape.
  3. Gradually add layers: If you want to add layers to your coily hair, do so gradually. Layering can help add movement and volume to your hairstyle. Take small sections of hair and trim them at an angle to create a layered effect. Remember to blend the layers seamlessly for a natural-looking result.
  4. Check for balance: As you shape your hair, it’s important to check for balance from all angles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a friend to check if the length and shape of your hair are even all around.

Creating layers in coily hair can enhance its natural volume and texture, giving it a more dynamic and versatile look. Experiment with different layering techniques and find what works best for your hair.

Styling Coily Hair After the Cut

Applying products to enhance the haircut

After cutting and shaping your coily hair, it’s time to enhance the haircut with the right products. Here are some products that can help enhance your coily hair:

  1. Leave-in conditioner: Coily hair tends to be dry and needs extra moisture. Apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair to hydrate and nourish the curls. Look for a leave-in conditioner that is lightweight and won’t weigh down your hair.
  2. Curl-defining cream or gel: To enhance the natural curl pattern and reduce frizz, apply a curl-defining cream or gel to your hair. Work it through the lengths and ends, scrunching the hair to encourage curl formation.
  3. Hair oil or serum: To add shine and seal in moisture, apply a small amount of hair oil or serum to your hair. Focus on the ends to prevent dryness and split ends.

Remember to use these products sparingly, as too much product can weigh down coily hair. Start with a small amount and add more if needed.

Styling options for coily hair

Now that your coily hair is freshly cut and enhanced with the right products, it’s time to experiment with different styling options. Here are some popular styling options for coily hair:

  1. Wash and go: This is a simple and low-maintenance style where you apply your preferred products to damp hair and let it air dry. This allows your natural curls to shine without much manipulation.
  2. Twist-out or braid-out: These styles involve twisting or braiding your hair while it’s damp and unraveling the twists or braids once it’s dry. This creates defined curls and adds texture to your hair.
  3. Bantu knots: Bantu knots are small coiled buns created by twisting sections of hair. This style not only looks stylish but also helps stretch the hair and create more defined curls when unraveled.
  4. Updos: Coily hair can be styled into various updo hairstyles, such as high buns, top knots, or braided updos. These styles are perfect for special occasions or when you want to give your hair a break from being down.

Experiment with different styles and find what works best for your hair and personal style. The versatility of coily hair allows for endless styling possibilities!

Maintaining the Coily Haircut

How often should coily hair be trimmed?

Coily hair should be trimmed every 8 to 12 weeks to maintain its shape and prevent split ends. Regular trims help keep the hair healthy and promote overall hair growth. However, the frequency of trims can vary depending on individual hair growth rates and the desired length of your hair.

Tips for maintaining the haircut at home

To maintain your coily haircut between salon visits, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Moisturize regularly: Coily hair tends to be dry, so it’s important to moisturize it regularly. Use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing cream to keep your hair hydrated and prevent breakage.
  2. Protect your hair at night: Use a satin or silk scarf or bonnet to wrap your hair at night. This helps protect the hair from friction and moisture loss, and it also helps preserve the hairstyle.
  3. Avoid excessive heat styling: Heat styling tools can cause damage to coily hair, so limit their use as much as possible. If you do use heat, make sure to apply a heat protectant spray beforehand.
  4. Be gentle when detangling: Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle your hair, starting from the ends and working your way up. Be gentle to minimize breakage and preserve the shape of your haircut.
  5. Deep condition regularly: Treat your coily hair to a deep conditioning treatment once a week to restore moisture and strengthen the hair. Look for deep conditioners specifically formulated for coily hair.

By following these tips, you can keep your coily haircut looking fresh and healthy in between salon visits.

Seeking Professional Help

When to consult a professional hairstylist for coily haircuts

While cutting coily hair at home is possible, there may be instances when it’s best to consult a professional hairstylist. Here are some situations where seeking professional help is recommended:

  1. Complex hairstyles: If you want to try a complex hairstyle that involves intricate cutting techniques or requires expertise, it’s best to consult a professional hairstylist. They can help bring your desired hairstyle to life and ensure a flawless result.
  2. Major hair transformations: If you’re considering a major hair transformation, such as a drastic change in length or color, it’s advisable to seek professional guidance. A hairstylist can help you achieve your desired look while maintaining the health and integrity of your hair.
  3. Uneven or damaged hair: If you notice that your coily hair is uneven, damaged, or experiencing excessive breakage, it’s a good idea to consult a professional hairstylist. They can assess the condition of your hair and recommend the best course of action, whether it’s a trim, deep conditioning treatment, or other necessary interventions.

What to consider when selecting a hairstylist

When selecting a hairstylist for your coily hair, consider the following factors:

  1. Expertise in coily hair: Look for a hairstylist who has experience and expertise in working with coily hair. They will have the knowledge and skills to achieve the best results for your hair type.
  2. Positive reviews and recommendations: Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family who have similar hair types. A hairstylist with positive reviews and satisfied clients is more likely to provide a quality haircut.
  3. Communication and understanding: Choose a hairstylist who listens to your needs and understands your desired hairstyle. Effective communication is key to achieving the desired result.
  4. Hygiene and cleanliness: Ensure that the salon or hairstylist you choose maintains high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. This will ensure a safe and pleasant experience.

When you find a hairstylist who meets these criteria, book a consultation appointment to discuss your hair goals and assess if they are the right fit for you. Building a strong relationship with a hairstylist who understands your hair can make a significant difference in the outcome of your haircuts.


Cutting coily hair may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools, techniques, and knowledge, you can achieve a beautiful and well-maintained haircut. Remember to take your time, start conservatively, and experiment with different styling options to find what works best for your coily hair. Whether you choose to cut your hair at home or seek professional help, maintaining the health and integrity of your hair should always be a top priority. So embrace your unique coily hair, and let your beautiful curls shine! We wrote this article on How to Take Care of Coily Hair: Essential Tips Check it out for all of the details.

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