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Cutting hair is an art form. Good hairdressing depends on good cutting.
Before you start to cut hair, you must have an understanding of the techniques involved.
As a stylist, you must be able to create hairstyles that use different cutting techniques. And you must be able to adapt those techniques to suit your individual clients' requirements and hair types.
Designing a haircut requires precision and care as well as strong technical skills. To create movement and balance, you need to have a good understanding of hair and how it works.
Three ways to cut hair
Once you have gained an understanding of the basic haircutting techniques, you can become more creative.
No matter where you might be in the world, there are only three ways to cut hair:
These methods are used to create all the different haircutting techniques so, whichever cutting technique you are learning, it will incorporate one of them.
Horizontal - a cutting section across the headshape
Taking a horizontal cutting section across the head is generally done to create a perimeter shape, for example a one-length, classic bob.
Horizontal sections help you to build up weight and length in your haircuts.
Diagonal - a cutting line or section across the headshape
Diagonal sections are generally used to create graduation. For example, you use diagonal sections at the nape area in a graduated bob.
The graduation is created by cutting the hair longer at the top of the section and shorter at the bottom.
Vertical - a cutting line or section
This method usually involves using a vertical section down the headshape. It creates a form of layering that helps to reduce weight and length.
There are many other layering techniques you can use.
Hair travel is the direction in which the hair falls from roots to ends.
Why does hair travel matter?
Hair travel influences the way you cut your client's hair.
A hairstyle is an expression of shape and form. You achieve it by arranging the hair into appropriate, balanced lines that complement the shape your client's head and facial features. It should enhance their appearance and be part of their complete 'look'.
Whatever service you are providing, you should always take into account the particular characteristics of your client's hair. These will determine the haircuts that are possible, the methods you use to achieve them and the final results.
Characteristics to observe:
- direction of hair growth
- shape of the head
- obstructions to hairfall, ie ears, shoulders and the curve of the back
- hair type, ie straight or curly
- length of hair. This is the only characteristic over which you have control.