How to Cut Hair
Taking scissors to hair can be an exercise in creativity, a money-saving enterprise or the cause of bad hair day that lasts for weeks. Here are some principles, based on professional cosmetology training, to help you get started.
Preparing the Hair
Wash the hair.In the same way that an artist starts with a fresh canvas before painting, you want to start with clean hair before cutting. Hair that's dirty or full of product will not allow you to see a true finished product when your haircut is completed.
- Use a shampoo and conditioner made for the specific hair type. There are products to fit every need--color-treated hair, dry hair, damaged hair, thinning hair, hair that lacks volume oily hair, normal to dry hair, and natural hair—so pick the one that's best based on hair type and needs.
- If hair is prone to knots or tangles (such as chemically treated or bleached hair), use a de-tangling conditioner or spray on a de-tangling product. You don't want your comb to get stuck when you run it through hair that has mats or tangles.
Keep the hair wet if cutting with scissors or a razor.You can best see how the hair naturally falls when it's wet. Also, it's easier to follow cutting guidelines on wet hair so your cut is more precise.
- Note that this is only the case with straight hair. Cutting curly or wavy hair properly when it's wet can be difficult, as the water will cause the hair to temporarily lie flat and straight. Unable to see the normal curls/wave pattern, you may inadvertently cut it improperly; creating uneven texture (you'll end up cutting some curls in half and some completely off, resulting in bits of hair sticking straight out unevenly).
- If you are cutting African American hair, then make sure to dry the hair completely before cutting it.
- Wet hair sticks together, which helps it stay in place while you cut.
- Keep a bottle of water with a spray nozzle nearby so that you can dampen the hair if it begins to dry while you are working on it.
Work with dry hair under special circumstances.Make sure hair is dry if you plan to use clippers or if you want to carefully thin the hair to make sure you don't remove too much fullness.
- Do a dry cut if you're simply trying to remove split ends; they're easier to see when the hair is dry.
- If you're pressed for time, a dry cut saves the need for washing and drying.
Choosing the Hair Style
Determine face shape.A hairstyle should work with a person's face shape and complement his or her features.
- Oval. An oval face shape is considered to be the one shape that can wear any type of style.
- Round. A layered top that provides fullness and height and thinned out hair below the cheekbones all work to lengthen the look of the face and give the illusion of a narrower chin line.
- Heart shape. Go for a style that offers more fullness lower on the face and less fullness at the forehead.
- Square. The idea here is to soften the face so wispy bangs and wavy styles help to create this effect. It's best to avoid straight lines, straight bangs and straight or flat hair for this face shape.
- Oblong. Avoid flat, long straight hair because this will make the face look even longer. Consider a bang, especially a side-swept bang to create the illusion of a shorter forehead for the person with this longer face shape.
- Diamond. Choose a cut with lots of layers. Avoid bangs unless you go with a slightly off-center curtain bang.
Get detailed instructions for the particular cut you plan to make.You don't want to "wing it" when it comes to creating a hairstyle. Learn as much as you can about how to do a specific type of cut before you attempt it.
- Watch online videos. Check YouTube and websites dedicated to hair for videos that depict the steps involved in creating the hairstyle you've chosen. Be sure the person who is doing the demonstration is an experienced stylist.
- Page through hair style magazines. Some magazines offer tutorials with photos that will show you how to do your cut.
- Check out sites belonging to hair product companies. Companies that produce and/or sell hair products often include "how-to's" on their websites. Instagram and Pinterest are also great for inspiration.
Familiarize yourself with terminology.You need to understand some of the specialized terms stylists use when talking about cutting hair so that you can follow instructions more easily.
- Angle indicates the position of the scissors when cutting; you may be holding them vertically, horizontally, or at 45 degrees.
- Elevation refers to which direction the hair is pointing when you're holding it to cut. When the ends point to the floor, that's considered to be zero degrees of elevation. When it's pointing to the side and parallel to the floor, it's at 90 degrees. When hair is held so that the ends point to the ceiling, it is at 180 degrees.
- Razoring is a technique used to create wispy layers or to remove volume and thin the hair.
- Layering means creating variable lengths of hair through an established cut. The longer layers give the illusion of length and the shorter layers create volume.
- Graduation is a style of hair cutting where the hair is cut progressively shorter towards the back to create a curvy shape. A graduated bob is an example of this.
Making the Cut
Separate the hair into sections.Cosmetology courses teach sectioning techniques including four-section, five-section and seven-section parting. This may vary from state to state. To do seven-section parting, divide the scalp into seven sections: top, right side, left side, right crown, left crown, right nape and left nape. Leave a one-half inch band of hair to hang loose around the perimeter of the hairline.
- Start by making a clean parting line from the point just behind the ears on one side to the matching point on the opposite side. Next, make parting lines on each side of the head just along the parietal ridge to isolate the hair at the top of the head.
- Comb the hair smooth toward the center of the section at the top of the head and twist it up into a knot and clip with a butterfly clip to secure it. Do the same on the right and left sides of the head.
- Now, create a parting line down the center of the back of the head. Isolate the right and left crown sections by parting the hair in a line from behind the ears to the center parting just created.
- These horizontal partings should meet to form a straight horizontal line across the back of the head.
- Comb to smooth these sections and twist and secure them as with the previous sections.
- The remaining two sections – the left and right nape – are easily secured into separate twists.
- After the sections are secured, go back over the head, section by section, and let down a one-half inch strip along the outer edge (aka perimeter or hairline) and re-twist and secure the hair sections.
Follow the style instructions.In some cases, you will work from the back of the hair to the front; in others you'll start at the front; in still others you'll cut around the perimeter and proceed from there. Each style is different and requires a different plan of attack.
Proceed slowly.Keep in mind that a typical salon appointment can be anywhere from a half-hour to an hour-and-a half in length. You're not a professional stylist, so it's going to take you longer to complete your cut. Don't rush it. An uneven style may have to be fixed by a professional and only time can fix a too-short "do."
Cross-check your cut.Take segments of hair from matching positions on each side of the head and bring them up to a central point. They should be even in length with one other. If not, your cut is uneven and you need to fix it.
Understand the purpose behind texturizing.Texturizing is thinning out the hair to remove excess bulk. Texturizing scissors, regular scissors and razors can all be used to remove hair.
Use point cutting.Point cutting is typically used on medium-length to longer hairstyles to soften the bluntness of the cut, add texture and interest or remove bulk. It is also good for texturing curly hair.
- Comb and lift up a thin segment of hair; hair should be held between the fingers and perpendicular to the scalp.
- Point your scissors inward towards the scalp and cut inward at a steep angle to make the "points" and create a textured edge.
- The width and depth of your points will determine if the effect is subtle or more chunky.
- Deep parallel point cutting uses the length of the blade to reduce weight, creating a “layered” look and feel without actually creating layers.
Learn about notching.Notching works the same as point cutting; the difference is that it's used on shorter, straight styles to create a wild or spiky look. This technique may be challenging at first, but it will become easier with time and practice.
Try freehand notching.To use this technique, take your scissors and randomly snip away pieces hair to remove bulk and reduce volume. Freehand notching is done further up the hair shaft than notching, which focuses on the hair ends.
Use slithering.This is a good choice if you want to remove bulk from the ends of long hair.
- Hold the hair perpendicular to the scalp and keep your scissors slightly open.
- Slide your cutting shears along the length of the hair away from the scalp.
Use slicing.Slicing adds movement and texture by reducing the weight of the hair. This technique is performed once the haircut is complete and can be done on either wet or dry hair.
- Hold your scissors open (cutting freehand) and slide them down the shaft of the hair, slowly opening and closing the blades as you go.
- The more you open and close your scissors, the more hair you'll remove.
- Warning: Be careful not to close your blades all the way or you will cut off a whole section of hair.
Try the shears-over-comb technique.This particular technique is often used for men's haircuts. It allows you to cut close to the head and create a softer look than you would get using clippers.
- Starting at the hairline,lift a section of hair with your comb.
- With the lower blade of your scissors parallel to your comb, cut off the hair that sticks past the comb.
- Keep the blade of your scissors moving; stopping mid cut will create little nick marks.
- Do most of the cutting with the center part of the blades rather than the tips, which can result in choppy, uneven cuts.
- After you've cut the first section, lift some of the cut hair along with the next section you want to cut to act as your guide. Don't cut any of the hairs from your previous cut - they are just there to guide you. Work your way around the hair using this technique.
Cut with a razor.A razor can be used to eliminate bulk. In some cases, razors are used in place of scissors to complete an entire haircut.
- Part hair vertically down the middle and again horizontally about halfway down the back of the head. Pin up the top two halves and leave the bottom one free; this is your starting point.
- Use a fine-toothed comb to pull up the hair at about a 45 degree angle and slide the razor (also held at a 45 degree angle) in short, choppy motions down the ends of the hair to the tips.
- Work your way up through the back of the head, then along the sides. If the hair is short, it's ok to razor pieces at the top of the head as long as they're covered by more, unrazored hair.
- Do not use razoring on fine, wavy or curly hair; you'll end up with hair that's droopy, frizzy or flyaway.
Sweep up hair.Before you begin blow drying, it is a good idea to sweep the hair off the floor first. This will prevent the hair from blowing everywhere.
Dry the hair.You can't see how a haircut really looks until it's dry and styled. Once the hair is dry, you can see and trim any uneven ends or shorten the length of the bangs or the overall style.
- If possible, let the hair dry about 70-80% of the way on its own.
- Put your dryer on the coolest setting keeping the dryer about 6-inches away from hair at all times and moving it around continuously.
- Despite the bad rep blow drying hair gets, one study found that using a hair-dryer at the right distance and temperature can actually cause less damage than letting hair air-dry. Water causes hair to swell. The longer the hair stays wet and swollen, the more pressure it puts on the delicate proteins keeping hair intact, which can lead to more damage.
Do final trimming.Cross-check the hair again and fix any unevenness. This is also the time to trim any too-long bangs or remove any extra fullness.
QuestionI have fine hair. What would be the best haircut for me?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerI would recommend going to your stylist (or finding one if you don't already have one) and get a consultation.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best way to cut/style hair for a woman with a high forehead?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would suggest having bangs that extend to your eyebrows or a centimeter or two past them.Thanks!
QuestionI went to the dollar store for a free haircut and it's terrible! What can I do? It's so short and my bangs look so bad!Community AnswerNever take free haircuts! Visit the salon now, and see what they can do. Although they cost more, salon haircuts are always much better quality than a cheap dollar store cut.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the perfect length for hair in the summer if I regularly get hot?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on your hairstyle. Ask your stylist to take some weight off the top and have the sides clipped shorter.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I finish the neck of a man's haircut?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse bare trimmers to clean up the edges, and use the appropriate comb length for the cut to taper in back. I usually tend to taper in 3 layers in back when cutting hair (Usually 3, 2, 1 with a bare trim to shape the edges).Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens if my hair is too short?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo matter how long your hair is (unless your bald), you can get it cut.Thanks!
QuestionI want to get my hair cut, I just don't know what would suit me. I have a round face, brownish/blonde hair, and I'm a little chubby. Any suggestions?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA pixie cut could look good. I also have a round face and I liked how that cut looked on me. You can also look up celebrities with round faces and see what cuts you like on some of them (i.e. Beyonce, Mila Kunis, Drew Barrymore, etc.), or just ask a stylist for advice.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I find out my face shape?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are 4 face shapes, square, diamond, circle, and oval. Oval head shapes tend to be longer in height than width and have a smoother jaw. Circle is approximately equal in width and height with a round jaw. Diamond head shapes have the cheekbones as the widest part of the face, and squares are similar to ovals, however the jaw and forehead are approximately equal width.Thanks!
QuestionMy hair is fine, what cut would be best?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your hair is thin and fine, try a shorter length haircut. You could also try a thickening haircut.Thanks!
- Use professional hair cutting shears for best results.
- Make sure that they are happy with what you did.
- Always make sure to do a consultation before beginning a haircut. Find out what the client's wants and needs are. Consider their hair type as well.
- Don't cut too much if you are new to cutting hair. You can cut more if it's too long, but you can't do anything but wait for a few months if it's too short.
Sources and Citations
In other languages:
Español: , Français: , Deutsch: , Nederlands: , Português: , Italiano: , Русский: , 中文: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Čeština: , ไทย: , العربية:
Video: HOW TO CUT YOUR OWN HAIR || SHORT AND STRAIGHT
Are You Getting Too MuchProtein
My Best Friend Chose My Rapist overMe’
The Antibacterial Oils That’ll Make Breakouts a Thing of thePast
Watch This Woman Pop Her Husbands Giant 4-Year-Old Pimple
Legend Mont Blanc Mens Perfume – 100ml
How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake
Are You At Risk for Foodborne Botulism
Is the new Microsoft Surface Pro 6 worth it
Buying A Suit Guide – Part 4: Trouser Style
10 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet
10 Train Trips That Cost 100 (or Less) You Need to Take Your Family On
Dolores Promesas Offers Pretty Dresses for SS 2019
10 Of The Best Zip-Up Track Jackets