HAIR BY Dawn Atkinson (@hairartistrybydawn)

A career in hairdressing can be cut short when poor body mechanics catch up to you, leading to repetitive stress discomfort and even injury. From its beginnings, Sexy Hair committed to a hair cutting education program they call “Structure in Motion,” which shows stylists how to move through a hair design in a fluid way, keeping both body and mind open to inspiration.

Dawn Atkinson (@hairartistrybydawn), a member of the Sexy Hair Visionary Team and of the MODERN SALON Artist Connective, has been using this method for 17 years.  With “Structure in Motion,” Atkinson says, stylists use a system of movement loosely-based on Tai Chi, a form of Chinese martial arts sometimes called “Meditation in Motion.” 

“We emphasize an open body position and allowing your energy to come from your core,” Atkinson says.  “We want to have an open mental state, too, so that we put our energy and our creativity into our work and we don’t let tension get in the way.”

Dawn Atkinson was one of the 2019 MODERN SALON 100.


The system is described as “disciplined freedom,” because once a stylist learns and then practices these principles, they will find more ease as they work. “Very often, we’re taught in beauty school to stand square to our subject and, typically, our feet are very close together,” she explains.  “And let’s say you’re cutting a perimeter in a haircut and you’re so focused on making sure that line is precise that you only think about your hands and don’t notice how you’re bending at the waist and that your knees are locked and that your body is completely rigid.” You must have your feet shoulder width apart or wider allowing you to move through angles within your desired hair design. Think of having ‘soft’ knees.

HAIR BY Dawn Atkinson (@hairartistrybydawn)


When it comes to cutting, Atkinson says she even keeps open with her shears, never completely closing them. “We use the back ¼ inch of our shears so we create texture along with the structure in one fluid movement.  I’m able to get maximum results with minimum effort.”


Wrists start in a neutral position because, “Often, we bend our wrists backwards, especially when round brushing, so it is important that you keep your wrists in straight alignment with your forearm rather than bending it back and forth. You want it to be in a relaxed state.”

To learn more about “Structure in Motion,”  visit sexyhair.com


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