Personalizing a cut is often done when hair is dried into shape after the initial cut. It is a way of making the cut individual to each person according to their face shape and hair type, and also a way of creating your own personal, signature haircut.
Personalizing creates extra softness or movement in a cut and can help to remove excess weight, blend in weight lines and remove bulk, which can make a huge difference as to how the hair lies. A stylist should, after blow-drying a cut, be able to see with the naked eye where there is weight or where the hair may need bulk removing from it; they should also be able to see where some softness of slices and texture may need adding to create a beautiful style.
Short hair, both men’s and women’s, can often need a lot more personalizing than other cuts, as weight lines or distribution of hair care more defined already due to the shortness of the hair. It also requires great care, as you do not want to keep cutting and cutting until there is no hair left – it has to be executed well!
Here is a guide to how each personalizing cut is done, but as with many skills in hairdressing, it takes a lot of practice to get it right and to become faster.
This can be used in both regular cutting when wet and personalizing when dry. It softens the edges of hair better than cutting in straight lines and can help to eliminate weight lines either used on its own or as part of the scissor over comb technique.
Slicing helps to soften a cut by creating texture and removing weight. It can remove a lot of excess bulk if hair is thick, creating shape whilst doing so. It is done by sliding the scissors through the mid-lengths to the ends of hair in very small pieces, removing excess unwanted hair. It can be used just on the ends if needed. If used too close to the roots it can leave small tufts of hair, so be careful – this technique is for mid-lengths and ends only.
This technique is used to remove weight and create slices through the hair, giving texture. It is done by sliding very sharp scissors down the hair as it lies on the head – you do not need to pick the hair up, but it does require the client to sit very still. If your scissors are not sharp, they will pull on the hair and hurt the client, so make sure your tools are very sharp.
Thinning can be done in any of the above ways or with razors or thinning scissors. It cuts small pieces of hair to a shorter length, which among the original hair length makes it appear thinner, but of course it is not permanent. You need to take extreme precaution when thinning hair not to cut and cut and cut, as you can remove too much and leave the hair looking extremely wispy and with no shape.
Thinning scissors remove the hair in a straight line, whereas slicing, chipping or channel cutting can be done in very small areas where needed. It is also done at different lengths to stop weight lines appearing, so is generally a more versatile approach.