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Curly Nikki

Sacrificing Healthy Length for a Flattering Cut

By January 27th, 202134 Comments

Dana (not pictured) writes:

I have recently decided that the longer my hair grows the less flattering it looks when down and out because my hair is so fine; frustration sets in and I end up bunning it by day 2 for sure. Can anyone relate to this? Well, I asked my stylist to cut off several inches (from bra strap to shoulder length) and now my twist-outs and wash-n-gos are fuller and accentuate my face better. I really hated to sacrifice my length after growing it out for three years but my hair definitely looks better!

Would you sacrifice your hard earned, healthy length for a better, more flattering shape and style?

CN Says;

This is why I keep my curls between chin and shoulder length shrunken. It’s also why I Twist-n-Curl… it gives the illusion of one, shorter, more flattering length with tons of volume.

Although, lately, I’ve been thinking of growing it back out… hmmm….


  • Blythe Spirit says:

    I am headed to the salon on Wednesday morning because of this exact issue. I have fine hair that just doesn't look as full or shiny as it gets longer. I want a fantastic shape so that when I wear a wash-n-go, my hair is the bomb dot com

  • Erika says:

    I wouldn't mind. The point is to look and feel cute so if you're not getting that i say, cut it! : )

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't mind sacrificing length for a flattering style. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of hair, so shorter hair, albeit not too short (I have a long face), looks better on me.

  • BreukelensFinest says:

    im not sure. i think i like the idea of shaping the fro, but sometimes the randomness of my curls and the wild look is what i want. so my hair is a little shaggy and has a crazy shape….who cares! lol

  • Barbara Naturally Speaking says:

    This is a major dilemna for me. My hair grows nicely since my BC in December of 2008, however the longer my hair has gotten the better it looks trimmed. I've been trying to decide if I'm going to get a few inches taken off. Can't figure out if the length just makes it hang more with less definition or if it's my ends. Whenever I go to get a few inches taken off it seems as if my curls just spring to life. They form the most perfect spirals. This was a great article. Now I'm interested in finding out more about the deva cut.

    Barbara of

  • Anonymous says:

    Well I'm glad to see there are other curlies out there who could relate. I did my research as well and finally went to a Deva trained stylist who cut my hair dry. She cut my hair curl by curl and shaped it up so nicely that is looks awesome both after a washNgo and with twistouts. I experience about 75% shrinkage, so even though she cut it from BSL to shoulder length it shrinks to my chin but it looks so much better and fuller!


  • julia @ simple truths says:

    I feel like once you know that your hair can grow, and how to properly take care of it – do what ever you want. I went from past BSL locs to a graduated bob – then I grew it back out.

    Because it's hair. It grows. I haven't cut my hair yet since in been loose…yet :D

  • Julissa says:

    oh wow, I thought I was the only one with the same predicament. I recently told my husband I was considering a cut, and he was like "wasn't the whole purpose to grow your hair?" and I was like yes, but I don't like the way it looks now that is longer. I am wearing twists right now, but I've been seriously thinking about a cut, my hair looked fuller when it was shorter.

  • thegirlwiththecrown says:

    Length is not important to me at all. I just cut off the majority of my fro to get a box cut. I'm done with long hair, and not everyone looks their best with long tresses. I would sacrifice length any day to get a cut that looks better on me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Like Sarah, I used to think my back and sides grew faster than my front and top and that's why my hair looked so weird when it was growing out. However, I learned that that's not the case: The reality is that the back and sides are looser and don't shrink as much. Sadly for me, the difference in shrinkage is about 25%. So I had my back and sides cut to approximately half the length of my front and top. It sounds weird, but my WNGs and my picked-out fros look SO much better now.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this! I've been fighting with my hair lately because it is getting long, BSL, longer than I am used to dealing with. I have fine hair and I am finding that it looks better shorter. : )

  • Deanna Wallace says:

    I am dealing with the same problem. When I first started my hair journey my hair was in layers so as my hair continues to grow out its so awkward to style my hair just doesn't same to flow right and it is so frustrating. The longer layers are SL but my layers in my crown come to my earlobe. I have really been considering just chopping it all off up to my ear just to have my fullness back…if you can get a deva cut I say try it…I am …something has got to give!!

  • Anonymous says:

    @ anon 12:30 Thank you so much. I had to go to 2 Walgreens BUT I got the products 6 total that should last a while. My husband was giving me the side eye as I did the happy dance to my stock closet. As for the cutting I haven't got to that point that my hair frustrates me. I always think it looks good and twist outs are my close friends.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love the Cousin It comment! That is me! I have so much hair that it gets bigger not longer and totally overwhelms me. I like wearing my hair out (why grow hair if its always pulled back) so I opt to stay layered around the face & chin length. I always try to grow it thinking the weight will pull it down but then I get ansy and cut it. Maybe one day……:)

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm with Nikki, I like to keep my hair at chin length to maximize volume.

  • Sophie says:

    What's the point of long hair if you're just going to hide it because you think it doesn't flatter you? Our hair grows, guys! If you like it long, then keep it long, if you want to hide it and think a shorter cut would look nicer, cut it! Length being this holy grail is a product of the times when we didn't have things to care for our hair, so length retention was some black magic.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am not obsessed about length. Nor do I stress about shrinkage and a little bit of frizz…that's just what my natural hair does. I am committed to hair health and I avoid all heat, including diffusing, and moisturizing is a key component to my hair care regimen.

    As for cutting, I got a quasi-devacut a month ago. I say quasi because the stylist did cut my hair dry but did not cut curl by curl, more like section by section. She then styled based on the deva system of no-poo, conditioning, and scrunching to style. I had gone almost 9 months without a professional cut, but my hair still decent shape. I thought my ends were raggedy, the stylist said they really weren't in bad condition and only required minimal trimming to get rid of splits. The result was a slightly layered bob that comes to my ear lobes when shrunken and just below my chin when stretched all the way.

    I was pleased overall with the cut and it will be easy to maintain a flattering shape as my hair continues to grow. For my next trim, probably around New Year's, I may search around for another deva stylist who will actually cut curl by curl to compare the results.

  • gloria says:

    I just cut my hair after growing to about 7 inches. I felt like I had a helmet, great I had some length but it did nothing for me. I love my new 2 inch cut.

  • laurie says:

    I sure would if in the long run i know i'd be happier with my hair. Hair though important is meant to be enjoyed not labored over and if a cut is what i need to achieve my desired overall look, then scissors here i come!

  • Anonymous says:

    I say don't call it a set back (in my LL Cool J voice. I just recently cut my hair and it was the best thing I could have done. My goal was to reach apl by the end of the year but the hair cut was defintely worth it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely. Hair should accentuate your beauty not distract from it. Long is not always better. Everyone doesn't even look good with long hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    i have sort of a similar issue. the back and sides of my head grow much faster than the crown of my head so the shape of my hair is kinda funky looking. but, whenever i wear my hair out, which is 99% of the time a wash and go, everyone compliments it. so, i guess my imperfections are only really visible to my eyes. i just try not to think about it and let it be.

  • Anonymous says:

    YES!! I am there right now. my hair very long (middle of the back almost waist length) and I feel like Cousin It from the Adams Family when I try to wear it out. I always have my hair pulled back off of my face in a bun or a ponytail or with half in a barrette and half out and I feel as if I look like a 10 year old. I love the Kinky Curly products and use them religiously so my curls look great but I just can't get myself to wear it out big and natural. When I get home after work I immediately take my hair down and will wear it out at home but if I have to leave the house for anything (even to pick up the mail) up it goes, so I have seriously been considering cutting it to shoulder length for a shorter curly bob look. Tracy Ross is my hair idol and I have been toying with going to her lenght. I have googled and searched for styles and shapes for long curly hair and there is really nothing out there, the shorter girls have all of the fabulous afros and twist out looks. I just made an appointment to get my hair cut this week and I don't think I will make the final decision to cut it all off until I sit in that chair. If I could find a shape that looks good on my I might would wear it out but I am tired of looking like a 10 year old. Thank you for this post now I know it's not just me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I personally think the advantages of trimming a bit on the regular far outweigh leaving scraggly ends in place just to say you have achieved a certain length or to avoid shrinkage that makes your hair appear shorter than you want it to look. If you take care of your hair, it will grow to the desired length (in most cases), even with trimming (not cutting or "dusting") on a regular basis.
    I see soooooo many naturals with horrifc looking ends and to me, it takes away from the beauty of their hair.
    I'm with the keep the ends neat crowd! Even if that may mean starting out with a dope cut!
    Just my 2 cents.

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    I think if I were BSL I wouldn't wear my hair completely out that much, therefore, I wouldn't cut my hair to suit that style. However, if I did want to wear it out most of the time, but it didn't look to shabby, I'd cut it. I would first make sure there was nothing else I could do to make it look better in the style.

  • CurlyTonya says:

    I don't have much hair yet….just celebrated my 1 year since BC 8/27….I have only 6-7 inches of stretched hair. I haven't had a trim or cut since the BC and I was just thinking my hair would look cuter if my back was a little tapered…hmmm.

    Right now, I'm a little nervous about getting a trim…I think I will need to have it blown out. I'm totally against heat in my hair. I'm so glad to finally have hair and can rock a cute puff. I will not be having any major cuts anytime soon. However, my overall goal is only to have chin to shoulder length with shrinkage (love Nikki's length)—-which is how I wore my relaxed hair. Super long waist length hair would be too much work for me….although I love to look at it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been considering getting layers put in my hair. I'm almost 4 years in, and I think at this point I need more of a defining shape per say. I cut my Best friends hair into layers when it was straight and now curly it has more of a shape… it really has me thinking now….
    but keep in mind when cutting that for every 1/4 cut it's like a couple of inches when shrunken.. isn't that crazy??

  • Anonymous says:

    After growing my hair out for 10 yrs (while clipping the ends 2x/yr), I decided to get a SERIOUS professional cut this past March. I did a lot of research and decided to go with a Deva Curl specialist. Prior to the cut, my hair had a very pyramidal shape – a big pyramid. I got tired of that. I also had ends that looked a bit frayed. I felt like I needed a good professional cut to serve as a base of support for maintaining my healthy hair care practices. I dont use heat of any kind on my hair, but had never had a decent "shaping" of my hair to start with.
    It took the stylist 2 hrs to cut my hair. I took pictures of the shape I wanted and had a consultation with him first (2 wks before the cut). He cut my hair dry, then wet, then wet again! Took of a good amount of hair , but left me with a chin length (shrunken) to-die for bob. He left the length in the back and front and layered it a bit in the crown and sides. I have been very happy. He told me I don't need to trim my hair often- maybe 2x/yr.
    The length retention, behavior and overall look of my hair have been phenomenal since my cut. I have clipped the ends (1/4 of an inch) once (myself )to keep them feeling and looking healthy. I plan to clip them every 2 months. This seems to help retain the shape of the cut and maintain an overall look of thick, healthy ends.

    Any curly thinking about getting a cut, consider this technique. It works. I have also had a Ouidad cut at her salon in NY, yrs ago. It was awful for my hair. They use a razor instead of shears!

    The look I was going for was one that I saw on 2 you tube videos:


    Taren actually had a devacut. But she recently got a BC.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Anon 12:30!!! Ive recently tried the curl enhancing smoothie and love the smell and the I will be purchasing more!

  • Oli says:

    Imin a similar predicament. Been thinking of trimming for a while, but now Im considering a cut, into a more flattering shape, but then again I still want length

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely agree. Recently I did a lot of research on the "deva cut" process. And this is what I did. I did a twist out and then shaped the hair into the shape I like. I made sure all the strands were pulled out from the head as if you're forming an afro. I then patted the hair into the shape I liked. And I took hair cutting shears and cut only one end of the hairs which did not conform to the shape I had in my mind. After I was done(took about an hour and a half) I had a twist out which was shaped nicely. Then when I washed my hair the hair even looked good when wet and looked super good when twisted. The key to this approach is to clip each hair seperately and shape it and cut it when it is dry and picked out into the shape you like. It works for me and thank you deva curl to doing videos explaining the process. I feel confident to now cut my hair every 6 weeks to keep the shape in. When you stand back and look at your total style its easy to see which strands need clipping.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just in case you or any of your readers are interested, the shea moisture product line is on sale this week at Walgreens buy one get one 50% off. :)

  • Anonymous says:

    although i do not have very long hair now, i would certainly sacrifice length to have some thing that is flattering to me. I think that this is really important because if you have hair down to your butt and it might be healthy but it looks a mess on you then you are still defeating the purpose of your hair accentuating you and your beauty

  • Michelle - Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I don't think I would sacrifice several inches, maybe a trim. It really depends on what you are looking to do with your hair. My hair is a number of diff. lengths but I'm not cutting it yet. When the shortest length gets to where I want it, then I'll consider trimming the longer lengths til they meet up.

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