“When you’re precision cutting, you have to think much smaller in terms of tools, tension, elevation and sectioning to achieve the exactness it requires. You have to take big ideas and break them down,” says Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa.
The goal of precision cutting is to create exact edges that are still elegant. “Using smaller tools allows you to get closer to the head and sub-sectioning allows you to incrementally follow the shape of the head for meticulous cutting that creates accurate shapes and texture,” adds Carruthers.
Smaller sections call for smaller tools. Carruthers uses the Sam Villa Artist Series Detail Comb which has a slim profile and good flexibility for precision cutting with smaller shears like the Sam Villa Signature Series 5.5” Swivel Shear that he uses to allow detailed hand positioning without causing stress on the wrist.
Tension is needed to cut clean lines. "Use enough to have control - the more tension, the softer the line will be."
Over direction is needed to control weight and balance from front to back. "In more heavily textured haircuts, little bits of variation can go unnoticed, but when keeping things precise, those little variations can create big challenges."
Variation in elevation can make a huge difference, especially when working with strong precise lines. "Make sure to adapt elevation based on the natural shape of the head to maintain the desired effect of the cut."
Precision One-Length Tips
Cutting a simple one-length perimeter can be one of the most challenging aspects to a precision haircut. "Make sure to follow the natural head shape and craft sections to mirror the desired edges. Horizontal sections create a flat perimeter; slightly diagonal sections forward make hair fall towards the face; and slightly diagonal sections back cause hair to fall away from the face."
Precision Graduation Tips
Precise graduation can be tricky, especially when getting really tight down at the neckline. Carruthers uses a small comb, the Sam Villa Artist Series Detail Comb, and sub-sections to create a precision rounded line. "Bring fingers completely flush to the head and then move the tips out while leaving knuckles on the neck for exactness."
Adds Carruthers, “Change your mindset and you’ll change your results.”
photo credit: Hair/Sam Villa Hair; Photo/Katie Parker