There is a great amount of detail that goes into a haircut, from the sectioning to the tools used to create the desired effect – even the most simple cut is much harder than it looks. You’ve probably never realized how hard it is to create a straight line on a round object until you delve into precision cutting. “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. If you’re looking for a way to understand this concept better and improve your precision, tune into Instagram to learn more about technique and watch as Carruthers demonstrates:
Smaller sections call for smaller tools. The Sam Villa Artist Series Detail Comb has a slim profile and good flexibility for precision cutting with smaller shears like the Sam Villa Signature Series 5.5” Swivel Shear that 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; 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. Use a small comb like 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.
“Change your mindset and you’ll change your results,” says Carruthers.