The Foundations of Hair Cutting: Part 2

When it comes to creating the all-around perfect hairstyle for each of your clients, there are several key theories for you to keep in mind. Whether it be tension, elevation, over-direction, or finger angle, each of these components is essential to leaving the hair with a certain look and a cleaner cut. However, the deep complexities of the haircutting artform don’t end there. In fact, there are several other things left to learn on the track to becoming a full-fledged hair stylist.


Previously, we covered some of the fundamental hair cutting techniques and how they allow the stylist to most accurately create their desired effects—such as cut angle and shape. Now, in this second installment of the foundations of hair cutting, we’ll go into some additional tricks you must know in order to execute certain cuts and achieve specific results.

Hair Cut Guide

One of the most crucial components of a successful hair styling session is consistency. Depending on the client’s wants, needs, and vision, it’s up to the stylist to create a shape that’s uniform in length and a design that remains true to expectations. This is primarily accomplished by establishing a hair cutting guide for that particular appointment. These guidelines are the first series of cuts that the stylist makes on a particular part of an individual’s head. Each snip acts as a reference point that will be used to determine the length and angle of the sections around it.

However, a common pitfall to creating a hair guide from the very start is the potential thinning of the hair along other parts of the head. In cutting the first layer towards the back, it’s easy to inadvertently shorten the part that’s directly over the ear as you work your way forward. This causes that section to lose density and appear much thinner than the hair around it. To prevent this from occurring, start by noting where the part above the ear begins. This will allow you to determine how much hair you can cut in other sections before you start interfering with the outline around the client’s ear.

One-Length Hair Cut

It’s also important to know how to create a symmetrical, or one-length, look should your client request it. This involves cutting what is referred to as a consistent line, or a cut that is parallel to the ground with all hairs measuring the same length. Since our fingers tend to lead at a slightly diagonal angle when we’re gipping the hair for a cut, it’s common for many hairdressers to struggle when creating these lines. But it’s not enough to just watch your fingers—the weight of your elbows can also drag one end of your fingers downward and leave you with an off-kilter cut.

To help prevent these potential issues and get a more symmetrical cut, it’s recommended that you utilize your comb in a couple different ways. For instance, placing your comb underneath your fingers as you’re brushing out the section makes it significantly easier to straighten them out and create a true horizontal line. Placing your fingers across the section while you’re pulling down the brush also helps keep your elbow at the right height by maintaining a straight arm as you’re setting up the cut. With these techniques, it’s a lot easier to establish straight lines and create a more even-looking shape.

Precision Hair Cut

Precision is another important foundation of hair cutting to keep in mind when attempting a one-length hair cut. Precision cutting consists of incredibly sharp angles that create a geometric effect with the hair rather than a feathery one that’s often associated with layers. Because these lines are so clean, it’s often very easy to see any inconsistencies within a precision cut. As such, the stylist needs to be very careful when executing a precision cut. The best way to shape very sharp lines when cutting hair is to cut it at the level that the hair falls. You’re not going to want to elevate the hair or even crease it with your fingers as this can throw off the length where your line should interact.

Layering Hair: Consistent Weight

In the previous installation of this blog, we discussed the differences between creating horizontal and vertical layers along the head. This time, we’re going to talk a bit about building weight evenly across those layers. It’s very common for newer hair stylists to struggle with crafting well-balanced layers because each side of the head is cut in a different position. While one side may be cut more parallel with the ground, the other may end up a bit higher, and will therefore have a bit more weight towards the top.

So, in order to keep this weight even across both sides of the head, the most important thing to be aware of is the amount of elevation you’re giving to each section as you cut it. As you’ll recall, the higher you lift the hair when cutting it, the more shape you’re adding towards the top of the head. For this reason, you’ll want to do your best to lift the hair evenly along all sides in order to create the appearance of consistent weight.


However, these additional techniques only work so well as long as you frequently take the time to check your work. Though it might seem like once you make the cut, there’s nothing you can do to fix your mistakes—this simply isn’t true. In fact, the practice of cross-checking allows you to go back and re-examine our former cuts and look for any inconsistencies that need to be fixed. It works by taking up the part and returning it to the same elevation, over-direction, and finger angle that it was cut at. From here, you can check the lengths of the hairs and take a second look at the quality of your lines.

But, regardless of the skills you develop in the hair cutting field, it’s important to remember that you also need equipment that can keep up with you. At Sensei Shear Systems, we’ve dedicated ourselves to crafting the perfect tools for any task that the job requires. In fact, no one offers the ease of cutting and overall comfort that our products help achieve. From our specialized cutting and texturizing shears to our left-handed shears, we pride ourselves on having items that accommodate those of all needs. So, if you want to start your career off on the right track, make sure you acquire tools that you can trust.