5 Questions for Sean Hayes on Precision Cutting

by Elizabeth Jakaitis | September 4, 2015
Sean Hayes demos how to hold hair with even tension.
Sean Hayes demos how to hold hair with even tension.

MODERN asks Matrix Artistic Design Team Member and Master Cutter Sean Hayes about his methods.

1. How does one master precision cutting?

SH: Mapping out the cut is so important. We get into ruts and allow ourselves to get lazy, like in how we section a cut. Do you ever find you’re in a haircut and have your guideline, but then halfway through you lose it? You keep going and hope that everything’s going to be even. That’s just losing our discipline. Most people can cut a straight line—it’s how you section the hair and how you hold the hair when you’re combing it that’s key. It’s important to get the hair evenly taut from scalp to end, like a guitar string.

2. What are the best ways to create movement and texture in a cut?

SH: There are three ways—texturizing, graduation and layering. I like to drycut hair to create layers because that’s how you can create a lot of seamless movement in the hair. I see people create layers by cutting a straight line and then getting out texturizing shears. A better way is to pull the hair up and gently open and close your shears while moving up and down the length. This way, you don’t see any hard demarcation lines in the cut.

3. What are your tips on cutting a great fringe?

SH: Consider the shape of the cut and the client’s facial features. For some, a strong line will be appropriate; others should have movement and texture. Or they could have a side-angle sweep—a really soft fringe to open the face. Always raise your client so she’s at eye-level with you. When pulling the hair taut, if your fingertips are facing toward you, you’ll end up creating a rounded shape in the fringe, and it will be bulky at the ends. Turn your fingers down, parallel with the floor, to create a fringe that will lie flat against her head.

4. After creating a beautiful cut, how do you style it for a polished finish?

SH: You can spend all day doing the best haircut ever, but if you use the wrong tools when you’re blowdrying, you’ve just destroyed all the work you’ve done. I use a Denman brush for polishing. Many will gravitate toward round brushes to get the hair smooth, but the bristles on a round brush kind of end up backcombing the hair at the scalp and distort the beautiful, clean line you’ve just created. You may get body in the hair, but what you really want to do is let the hair fall in its natural state. Often, people will blowdry hair, and then the first thing they’ll do is go toward their flatiron. I use a flatiron basically just for refining—I create the foundation with the blowdry.

5. How can you further develop cutting skills?

SH: Focus on learning techniques, not a haircut. Then, your creativity develops from there. Practice makes permanence—I don’t think it makes perfect. If you’re practicing the same thing over and over again, you don’t grow. We should always try different things. I don’t ever want to get stale in this industry.

Matrix Programs of Passion at Andreas Hogue Salon in Northbrook, IL

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