Expert Advice

Which Angle Should You Use for Clipper-Over-Comb Haircuts? Horizontal or Vertical?

Lauren Salapatek | September 6, 2016 | 12:12 AM
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One of the most essential tools in a stylist’s kit is also one of the most simple, the trusty old comb. Andrew Carruthers, education director for Sam Villa, demonstrates how using vertical versus horizontal sections while clipper cutting can yield very different results.

“The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to keep your shape contoured to the head, or establish a more solid mechanical line," he says. "Then, you choose the angle that supports the result.”

In the video, Carruthers uses the new Sam Villa Artist Series Handle Comb

Horizontal Sections – When using a handle comb to cut horizontally, there is more control over the contour of the head shape because the comb can move up and down in a straight line and it can rotate up and around the head too, which gives more options for contouring.  It’s the same whether using a shear or a clipper, plus the width of a handle comb is very convenient when working with a clipper because larger sections can be cut with each pass.

Vertical Sections – Cutting vertical sections with a handle comb will yield a more ridged surface area with less ability to contour the head. To add a sense of softness, try inserting the comb vertically, establishing the angle and then point cutting to breakup the lines.  It’s actually easier and a more comfortable finger angle than blunt cutting.  Using a clipper creates a much more mechanical ridged feel.

With the popularity of short haircuts today for both men and women, take the time to finesse each one by determining ahead of time what the final result should be and then approach sectioning accordingly.

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