Unique textures call for unique cutting techniques. Here are some popular ones:
Carve and Slice
Curl Queen Ouidad developed this technique. Depending on the density of the hair, she slices—takes a little—or carves—takes a lot. You go to the depth of the curl, following the curvature of the curl, allowing the curls to “puzzle” into each other.
This is the technique of choice at salons such as Devachan Salon, where stylists prep for a curly cut by trusting their intuitive eye and their visual eye, says Shari Harbinger, Deva’s hair color director. “If the hair is wet, you’re not seeing it in its natural form, as you wear it.”
This is the curl cutting technique used by “Texture Master” Kevin Murphy, an editorial and session stylist. Lacing involves cutting into a wave formation freehand. This loosens up the top of the hair without layering it. Start by sectioning the hair on top of the head at either side of the part. The section should be about two inches on each side of the part. Because it is a freehand technique, no tension is applied to the hair as you cut in freehand to form a wave. Begin cutting from the ends of the hair toward the roots. Treat each section separately, and only blend visually.
Jonathan Torch of Curly Hair Insitute in Toronto developed this technique for highly textured hair types. It is a controlled technique in which carefully selected pieces of the hair are removed from the bulkiest sections of the hair. He starts by playing with the hair to find out where it is most dense, looking for the natural parts and the natural direction of hair growth. This information is vital so the tunnels will always remain invisible. Cutting the tunnels in the same place every time avoids the need for over cutting and over thinning. As the hair reaches the desired length, certain tunnels are no longer needed.
Textured hair expert Diane Da Costa is a Mizani creative consultant and author of Textured Tresses. She uses this technique to add more texture to hair, slicing into the hair toward the ends and point cutting straight down into the hair. She holds the hair out at a 45-degree angle, letting it fall freely, slicing directly into the hair up to one to two inches from the ends.
Jill Leitz and Ruth Roche count these among their favorites when working with curls and strong waves:
• Bricking: In this bold technique, blunt (up to 1/4 inch) snips are made throughout a section to create space between the curls. This technique helps remove density by collapsing the shape.
• Stair Stepping: Vertical sections are cut short to long, one piece at a time, 1/4 inch deep, every 1 1/2 inches or so. “Use the tips of your shears and move along the section as if you’re walking up or down stairs,” says Leitz.
• Whittling: Sections of hair are pinched or twisted, and the tips of the shears nip along the surface of the length of the section, without cutting all the way through. “This technique doesn’t remove length,” says Leitz. “Instead it creates a thatch-like texture. It’s great for short and medium lengths.”
*This article is related to the Texture! Guide. Click here to return to Texture!