The 411 on Hair Cutting
In the design process, you must have a vision of what you want to create before you ever put the scissors in the hair. Anyone can make hair shorter. A true designer and artist will start with a strong and complete vision.
BULLET-POINT YOUR VISION
Think through each aspect of your vision. Where do you want to create weight? Where do you want to remove weight? How do you want the length of the hair to flow, from front to back or from back to front? How will the fringe frame the face in terms of length and movement? You simply won’t end up with something fabulous unless you’ve clearly visualized every path that will lead you there.
TALK THE TALK
Your vision is developed from the conversation between you and the client. No matter how well you believe you understand what the client wants, you can avoid a lot of complaints by double-checking. As the final step in the consultation, repeat back to the client what the two of you have decided to do. For example, confirm length to be removed by using your comb to show the client precisely what an inch means to you. You may discover that your concept of an inch does not match the client’s mental image.
Clients consistently ask for “a change,” so you must dig deeper to determine exactly what that means. You want to make sure that clients will be comfortable with the amount of change theysay they want. Try asking a question using an analogy. For example: “If we were making a change to your living room, would you be looking for a complete remodel that includes knocking down walls, bringing in all new furniture and possibly switching out the furniture style? Or, do you simply want to rearrange what you already have in a new way?” This type of questioning will give you insight into your client’s personal comfort and clue you into what she really means by “change.”
PARTINGS STRAIGHTEN YOUR THOUGHTS
Partings are a fantastic way to stay organized while you execute your haircut. It is easy to get lost in the hair and off track, but using strong partings will help you stay focused on where you are in the haircut. They also communicate to your client that you are professional and skilled. Clean partings are a sign of discipline.
SYSTEMIZE THE PROCESS
As part of your fundamental training as a hair designer, you should have learned a hair cutting system. If this was not provided at your cosmetology school or during a training period at your salon, take a class with a product line. Many haircare companies offer great systems.
A cutting system gives you an approach to use to execute your hair design. It teaches important details such as clean combing, partings, terminology, techniques and elevation. Learning a system will allow you to translate any hair cutting demonstration you observe into actions you can use to recreate what you’ve seen.
A HEADS UP ON POSTURE
As you proceed with the cut, stay aware of your body as well as your client’s body. Remember: You will always bring your work toward yourself, so make sure you are in the right position. Keep your work square to your body. If you are working a traveling guide while layering, make sure your body is moving with the direction of your sections.
It is just as important for your client’s body to be properly positioned. Develop these good habits:
- Instruct your client to keep her legs uncrossed when you are working on your baseline.
- Turn your client’s head when you are working on hair past the shoulders to avoid adding unintentional elevation on the sides.
- When you are creating a shorter baseline, such as a classic bob, you have to allow for the recessed curve at the nape of the neck, so tilt your client’s head slightly forward until you incorporate the side sections.
Author Joelle Ray owns Samuel Cole Salon and Salon Moxie in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ray personally trains her staff.
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