How To Trim Your Long Curly Hair – For Guys

In Educate by Elefante7 Comments

A Guide To End All Guides

You may be here to learn how to trim your partner's curly hair, how to trim your own curly hair, or maybe you’re on the path to a budding career in professional hair styling. Whatever the reason, you’re here for the goods, the real JUICE on how to trim curly hair…and boy, do we have it.

It’s time to sharpen your shears, because this is the definitive guide on how to trim curly hair for men. HOWEVER, should you choose to embark on the self-trimming journey, there are a few things to keep in mind to aid you in avoiding certain peril.

Man with long curly hair

The Struggle For Guys With Curly Hair

If I were a betting man I’d say that for you, the guy googling, “how to cut curly hair,” this is probably your first time with hair this long. You may be wondering, “what the hell do I do with this!?”

The struggle is real and we can sympathize. In today’s culture there is a very good chance you are lacking the hair knowledge that many of our long-haired sisters grew up learning, seemingly by osmosis.

VisitingNaomi Aragon at Evolving Hair Studio

The Woman With The Plan

In our effort to bring you the most exhaustive guide on how to trim curly hair, we’ve turned to Naomi Aragon, owner and operator of Evolving Hair Studio. She’s a lifelong curl-bearer and a legend at expertly trimming and shaping curls. In the tutorial below she walks us through every step of crafting a head of exquisite curls.

Before Attempting to Trim Curly Hair

Before you rush to follow along with Naomi at home, let’s ask ourselves some very important questions.
  1. “Am I confident I can pull this off?”
  2. “If I totally eff this up, can I live with it for the next several months?”
  3. “If I look like a complete fool, how much will I have to take off to fix this?”

If your answers to these questions skew negatively, we encourage you to put the shears down and go see a professional. That being said, hair grows back—even the worst catastrophe can be amended in a few short months or years 😂

If you’re set on doing this on yourself or on someone else for the first time, here’s what you need to know.

DON’T Trim Curly Hair While It's Wet

One of the worst AND most common mistakes when learning how to trim curly hair is trimming while it’s wet, and thus weighed down with moisture. This lengthens the hair strands and when it’s dry you’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Naomi trimming curly hair tips with dry hair

As hair dries it will shrink up to its natural length. By the time you realize you’ve taken too much off, the damage is done.

DON’T Trim Before Detangling Curly Hair

Curly hair not only needs to be dry before cutting, but also detangled. You want it in its biggest, wildest form. Detangling will bring forth its true length and shape. This way you’ll be able to see what’s known as the “silhouette” much easier, guiding you where the hair needs to be further shaped or layered.
Naomi pointing out the tangles within the curly hair
Trimming your curly hair at its poofiest, most boisterous state also allows you to better gauge where its density begins to thin out. As you look toward the ends, you’ll notice the larger gaps in the form of the hair. This is an indication of what needs to be trimmed.

DON’T Trim The Hair As A Single Section

Different sections of hair fall in different directions around your face and head. Visualize an imaginary line from the top of one ear, over the top of the scalp, down to the top of the other ear. The hair in front of this line falls around your face and in front of the shoulder.

This front section is what frames your face, while the hair behind the ears is what gives your hair most of its length. Though you will be trimming in sections, the ends of these sections should all meet one another by the time you’re finished—so don’t take too much off of any given section.

Naomi parting a section and explaining how you should not trim as one section
Using hair clips, break these sections up into smaller sections so you don’t end up with a large area at one particular length. They should all flow smoothly into each other.
Naomi trimming the curly hair

Now Trim That Curly Hair

Before taking shears to hair, hold the ends loosely at the point of thinning (mentioned earlier). The section being trimmed (front left, front right, top, back left, etc.) will determine the direction in which you extend the hair.

The front should be extended to the front, sides to the sides, and the back towards the back, while the top gets extended upwards. This is where it gets challenging if you’re doing it by yourself. You’ll have a better understanding of this after watching the video tutorial.

When extending the hair, don’t pull it tight. Hold it loosely between your fingers at its naturally extended length. Begin by taking small snips from the damaged ends, making sure not to take off too much.

As you move on to the next section be sure to include a small portion from the previously trimmed section to make sure that you are connecting each one smoothly.

DON’T Keep Cutting

Once you’re confident you’ve connected each section, tease out the hair again so you can see it’s full shape. Using both a large mirror and a handheld one, take a look around at the natural shape of the hair, keeping an eye on where any sections may be disjointed.
Naomi checking the shape of a mans long curly hair

If there are noticeable disconnects, this is where you need to take a breath, calm down and reassess whether or not you’re going to continue. At this point you can easily get into the vicious cycle of trimming, checking, trimming, checking…and before you know it you look like lil’ Orphan Annie.

Not a super good look for dudes.

Naomi trimming the curly hair

Shampoo and Condition

Use a quality shampoo to wash out the clippings and start with a fresh, clean mane. Follow that up with a hydrating conditioner in the lengths and ends, being sure to let it sit for a few minutes to really penetrate the hair shafts.

Epic Cleanse and Ideal Conditions is our go-to shampoo & conditioner with superior cleansing and hydration, but whatever you go with, don’t skimp on the quality.

The Video Tutorial

How To Trim Curly Hair

I’ve taken this as far as any straight-haired man can possibly take it, now it’s time to let the expert walk you through every meticulous step. Get out your notepads boys, this one’s a doozy!

For photos of Justin after the trim in different hair styles, check out this post on long curly hair styles for men.

A Gentleman's Guide to Long, Curly Hair

You don’t need to be a curl expert, but there are a few things every man with a wavy mane needs to know. Get the mandatory curly hair hacks and facts from The Longhairs.
Or browse our complete library of long, curly hair content.


You don’t need to be a hair expert, but there are a few things every guy with long hair needs to know. Get the fundamentals from the guys with flow.

If you’re attempting this at home, we’d love to hear how it goes…come back and leave a comment! If you’re a seasoned vet at trimming your own curly hair, leave a comment with any additional tips for the boys!