The Chic Fade: Subtle Differences of Creating an Undercut on a Woman

The barbershop influence of incredibly short skin fades has been prolific for years now, and more recently it has taken off in the female market. Dubbed the “chick fade,” women are requesting detached areas undercut right down to the scalp. Andrew Carruthers, director of education for Sam Villa, points out the subtle differences when creating an undercut on a woman.

“Contour and texture is what sets the female and male versions apart. Guys tend to have stronger corners and mechanically precise lines for the faded areas and a feminine approach requires a more head-shaped contour and a softer edge which is produced from shear-over-comb,” explains Carruthers.

According to Carruthers, using a regular cutting comb just isn't going to cut it when executing the shear-over-comb technique. For ultimate control of the shape, a handle comb with a very flat profile is key, he says. Use a dark comb on light hair and a light comb on dark hair. The contrast makes any inconsistency in cutting lines crystal clear.

To blend down to the most micro lengths at the hairline, switch to a detailing comb. Look for one that is slightly wider at one end tapering to a very thin profile on the other that has a careful balance of flex and rigidity, like the Sam Villa Artist Series Detail Comb.

Make sure to start with a detailed consultation and specific agreements on not only how short, but also where the shortness begins and ends. Solid communication and agreements instill courage in both you and your guest.

Back & Sides:

  1. Part off along the vertical transition of the head - secure everything above this line with a clip.
  2. Begin shear over comb at the front right or left corner at the sideburn area.
  3. Place a Sam Villa Artist Series Handle Comb in a diagonal back position just below the hairline and begin the open and closing movement of the shear, moving in the direction of the teeth of the comb (up and back).  Allow the comb to create the contour and the shears to follow the comb.  Build a slight graduation up and away from the face while contouring to the natural head shape - this is what keeps it feminine.
  4. Continue to pass over that section until it is flawless - move the comb slowly while opening and closing the shear as fast as possible for the smoothest lines.  A large shear with strong blades designed for handling difficult hair like the Sam Villa Signature Series 7” Dry Cutting Shear will aid in removing hair efficiently.
  5. Proceed about ¾ of an inch back, maintain the diagonal back angle of the comb and blend from the first section in the same up and back movement.  
  6. With this section, the diagonal fade should be creating a “fanned” effect where the shortest point is at the sideburn radiating out to length towards the top and back.
  7. Work through this same process until reaching the back of the head.
  8. Start on the opposite side of the head at the sideburn and match the opposite side.
  9. Once the back is reached, blend from side to side across the back.
  10. Switch to the Sam Villa Artist Series Detailing Comb and the Signature Series 5.75” Wet Cutting Shear.
  11. Return to the side burn area and utilize the same method above to bring the lengths at the sideburn even closer to the skin, quickly transitioning into the existing length about half way up the head.
  12. For the final detail, place the fine tip of the detail comb on the lowest part of the hairline in a vertical position and use fingers to create an arch in the comb producing a very fast transition from hairline into existing length, and remove the length with a trimmer.


  1. Take a 1” center vertical section front to back from the crown all the way to the front hairline.
  2. Elevate 90-degrees to the head shape and use the Sam Villa Signature Series 6.25” Wet Cutting Shear to point cut deep peaks and valleys connecting from the length at the crown and detaching towards the desired length in the fringe area.
  3. Continue with parallel sections moving outward with the same technique.
  4. Refine the perimeter edges and visually texturize any areas that don't have the desired texture with a deep point cut.
  5. Detached areas on the sides may need weight removed with the Sam Villa Signature Series InvisiBlend Shear to lean out the shape, depending on hair density.

Blow Dry:

  1. Apply Redken Curvaceous Curl Refiner on fairly damp hair by scrunching the product into the hair to define curl pattern.
  2. Attach diffuser to the Sam Villa Professional Ionic Blow Dryer and hold just above hair to simulate “air drying.”  
  3. Once completely dry, spray with a light mist of Redken Fashion Work 12 Versatile Working Spray.

For more information abotu Sam Villa products, visit

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about