Curly-haired gals, we salute you. We know that maintaining that mane is no easy task: Every shower presents the brutal choice of either spending a lot of time (and product) defining and styling each coil or taking a gamble and quite possibly ending up with a frizzy pouf on top of your head.
But when they behave, curls are a gift. And you already know at this point that the right haircut is probably the most important factor of manageable, pretty texture. The best haircuts for curly hair shape your mane in a way that allows your tendrils to naturally fall in a face-flattering way with bouncy definition—and minimal styling time.
You'll need two things: a stylist experienced in curly cuts and an idea of the kind of looks that work best with your hair. We've got you covered on the latter—just take a look below.
This model-loved trend works very well for your texture, as the length gives your curls some weight, but the layers still define them beautifully, lending the entire look a very flattering (and very versatile) shape. Ask your stylist for curl-defining layers throughout, with shorter pieces framing your face. At home, use a strong leave-in product that combats frizz and offers non-crunchy hold, like Oribe's Curl Control Silkening Crème ($38).
If you want a bit more length to your bob, a layered cut provides a beautiful shape that makes for easier styling. This haircut is perfect for girls looking to painlessly grow out their bob into a lob or longer.
For years, a triangle shape has been something to avoid, but we're struggling to remember why. The way we see it, the geometric look perfectly straddles the line between retro and modern. The trick is to go with an asymmetrical part (like the one seen here), which is a little more wearable than a center-parted 'do. Ask your stylist for a bottom-heavy blunt cut parted off to one side.
A TWA (teeny-weeny Afro) is always a solid choice (and a runway favorite), but we love a more grown-out version, too. A short Afro is always chic and looks especially lovely with hydrated curls. Try a moisture-boosting conditioner (like Shea Moisure Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie Conditioner, $4).
For something a bit longer in length, a medium Afro provides more options for styling. Opt for a shapely structure, or switch it up by brushing your coils out. (Either way, make sure your hair is hydrated and healthy with a regular leave-in treatment like Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, $8).
Not only do your curls give a super-short crop beautiful texture, but they also make it a lot less painful to grow out, since the natural kinks in your hair make an awkward length look styled without any effort. Our tip is to embrace and enhance the undoneness of it: Just scrunch some pomade (like Bumble and Bumble Semisumo, $33) into your strands and mess with the shape until you like where it falls.
Which curly cut is your favorite? What are your go-to tips for defined texture? Tell us in the comments below.
This story was originally published on November 1, 2016, and has been updated.