Everything You Need to Know about Cutting Curly Hair

Master of curls and curly hair pioneer, Jonathan Torch launches his revolutionary curl cutting technique, The Tunnel Cut. Jonathan Torch has worked extensively for decades with all types of curly hair, creating two product lines, Curl Keeper and Curly Hair Solutions, along with multiple techniques for curly hair care, styling, and cutting. We speak with him about the technique and how there are so many things to know when it comes to cutting curls. So pull up a seat and take notes for next time you plan on going to the salon:

The most important thing one needs to know about cutting curly hair is that approaching, cutting, and styling curly hair requires a complete and totally opposing mindset to cutting and styling straight hair. Curly hair is always changing. The style can be different each hour. One day’s style may never look quite the same every other day. With straight haircuts and styles, the focus is on accuracy and precision. Straight hair requires precise cutting and styling that focuses on controlling tension. With straight hair, it is possible to have the same hair falling in the same place day after day. For creating movement and bounce in straight hair, your stylist needs to be even more precise, knowing exactly where and what to cut to create a manageable hairstyle. But with curls, it is completely different.

PROBLEM: When it comes to cutting curly hair, you have to have a technique that you know works with curly hair. Because with curls, you can always straighten your hair if your hair is cut properly – but if you try and wear your hair curly after having it is cut when it’s straight, there will be lots of issues you have to work through. Cutting curly hair when it has been straightened creates major style management problems which may need several months to grow out completely.

SOLUTIONS: Therefore, when cutting curly hair, you can’t just take the same cut that works on straight hair, and apply it to curls. You need to envision and imagine the possibilities of where to add volume, or where to reduce it. Curly hair naturally has bounce and volume (for most curlies), and you need to understand how volume works in order to cut curly hair properly.

The Tunnel Cut works to manipulate bulk by creating styling and movement, in order to prevent having to over-cut the curls. Many people think that to create volume, you need to reduce the length of the curls. But you don’t have to cut your hair in order to keep it healthy or to adjust volume – you just need to understand how volume and density works. If you’re trying to manage the bulk in the hair, and you reach for thinning scissors, in most cases this technique causes frizzy hair and more styling havoc but doesn’t reduce bulk. A major effect of using thinning shears is that they tend to shred your defined ringlets. Learning how to reduce bulk in curly hair requires a precise and controlled cutting system that doesn’t just reduce bulk, but it also needs to add movement and bounce in the right places to achieve perfect styles. My Tunnel Cut does precisely that.

The most important part of tunnel-cutting is that the tunnels are always invisible and alongside the natural curls. With tunnels, the bulk of the hair is reduced, but every step remains invisible: You can pull your hair up into a ponytail, or style your curls any way you want, and the tunnels created are always invisible. My sections or tunnels are always clean and neat, and this precision allows me to see the tunnels in a few months’ time, when they grow out and need to be re-cut. When they’re done properly, tunnels are easy to grow out and should not interfere in future styles. When done properly, tunnels completely reduce bulk. They reduce the weight of the hair, helping to create bounce and volume. Tunnels also help with air ventilation that helps your head feel cooler – something which thick heavy hair prevents. So when hair is tunneled, bulk is reduce and this allows your gorgeous curls to hang beautifully!

If you have any comments or questions for Jonathan about his technique we’d love to hear from you!