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Anybody can cut hair, but not everybody can make it look good. If you think you’re good enough to tackle the challenge, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you get started. You need to know where you want to go and make sure you know how to get there. A few hair cutting tips from the pros will help you get started on the right foot and keep you from going to the salon with your tail between your legs for a fix.
Before you take a pair of scissors to anyone’s head, including your own, know what hair style you want to achieve. If you have a round face, you will look best in layers that fall just beneath your chin. Avoid cuts that are very short and spiky. Those with a square face look best in long hair with soft layers or a short cut that leaves the top long. A heart shape calls for fringed length with a sweep at the jawbone. Short cuts make a heart-shaped face look extremely wide. If you were blessed with an oval face you are lucky – any cut will work for you except a super short one, which will make your face look long.
Shears can be quite an investment, costing anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars a pair. Adding to the expense is the fact that you will need more than one pair if you plan on doing any serious cutting. The hair cutting professionals at First Chair recommend a pair for general cutting, a pair for texturizing and a pair for slice cutting. Talk to other stylists and try as many different pairs as you can before deciding what shears you prefer. You want a pair that feel good in your hand, open and close smoothly and are lightweight. Make sure you keep your shears closed when they are not in use. Oil them regularly and sharpen them often.
If you plan to do a lot of cuts, you need to make sure you aren’t hurting yourself in the process. It is no fun to finish work Friday just to spend the weekend in bed recovering from a back ache. When cutting hair, always stand straight with your knees slightly bent to avoid lower back pressure. Keep your wrists as straight as possible while cutting and styling. Use lightweight hair dryers and tools and wear proper footwear. Sneakers or flats with good support are best. Although you may feel like a little old lady, wearing compression socks can also help prevent some of the problems that stem from being on your feet all day. When cutting, open and close your shears by moving your thumb only to avoid flexing the tendons in your wrist.
Really look at the head in front of you for specific hair growth patterns before you start cutting. Especially common around the brow are cowlicks, which will cause the hair to stand up if it is cut too short. Many people have double crowns, where both the crown of the head and a patch of hair next to it grow in circles and swirls. This is another area that looks terrible if cut too short. Check the nape of the neck for nape whorls, which is an area at the nape where the hair sometimes grows toward the center of the head. Hair here must be left a little longer or cut in the shape of a "V.” A point of hair on the forehead is known as a widow’s peak and can be cut very short or left long, but it may rule out certain hair cut styles altogether.