Is less more?
Since you can't - or shouldn't? - take hair that fell onto the floor and stick it back onto your head, one option is to go with a cut that's less drastic, then cut more off later. If your immediate reaction to this question was, “No, I wanna go all the way!” you're probably ready for a major change. Even so, you can always research less extreme cuts, in case you feel hesitant after climbing into the stylist's chair.
Do you know exactly what you want and who is likely to deliver it?
With a little planning, we curlies can greatly increase our odds of getting a terrific cut. It helps to get specific about what we want and don't want, and communicate that to the stylist before the scissors come out. Two ways to do this: First, show the stylist pics. Second, specify how much hair you want taken off. Google pics of your desired cut from all angles possible and bring the images to show your stylist. Ideally those images approximate your curl pattern and texture. Decide how much hair you want cut off (quarter inch, half inch, inch/es … rough estimate). Do you want it cut wet or dry? Not sure? Google it. You can research curl-specialty cuts like the “Deva cut” or “Ouidad cut” to help you decide.
As for who is likely to deliver a great cut: Once you locate a salon/stylist of interest, search consumer review websites like yelp to ensure the stylist has a good reputation and is good with your type of curly hair. I've done this by googling “[name of salon or stylist] reviews”. Several review sites usually pop up. If you want, you can also call for consultations.
How much maintenance will be required?
Consider what tools and accessories you'll need after your cut. Styling may take longer. New or different styling products may be required. You may need more frequent trims or cuts. The new regimen may cost more.
Is the cut you want work friendly?
Ideally, your new cut will be work appropriate, unless you despise your boss and want to be joblessly stunning. If you're seriously unsure, it might be best to choose a different cut.
What are your expectations and what will you do if they aren't met?
Since there's always a possibility your result will be unsatisfactory, think up one or two practical ways to handle a cutting mishap. For ex., if someone cuts your hair too short, it will help if you have a style in mind for a corrective (shorter) cut. Having a contingency plan helps reduce anxiety before going under the scissors. It's also good to bring a head band, hat, or clips to the salon, Those can help you immediately manage a less than perfect cut. And remember: even if a stylist knocks you out and shaves every hair off your head, hair grows back. You'll survive.
If you plan to do a BC (Big Chop), are you ready to accept your natural texture and learn a new routine?
This question assumes you'll be chopping off processed hair to allow your natural curls to grow out. If you can't recall your natural hair texture and curl type, you may end up with something different than you planned for. It's important to research care for various hair types and read about or talk to people who've BCed to understand the joys and challenges of the naturally curly or coily hair journey.
How will you communicate your needs to your stylist?
What will you do if you start feeling uncomfortable with something your stylist says or does? Considering your response ahead of time will make it easier for you to advocate for what you want in the moment. Know that you always have the right to say “Stop!” Don't worry about hurting the stylist's feelings. It's your hair. You don't need to explain yourself. Just say you aren't comfortable and get up. Stylists deal with this response more often than you think. And they have no business insisting you go along with something that you are paying them for.
I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. To read another blog of mine on this subject, click on Thinking About Cutting Your Hair? Read This ...
Have a happy, curly day!