Pyramid EffectQ: I have very long and curly hair. I have the straight across the bottom blunt cut, so my hair is all one length. Yes, I am also experiencing the pyramid effect. I don't want to do layers; my mom has the same hair I do, and she looked like Beethoven when she did her hair in layers. I heard that I can get rid of the pyramid by "rounding" the bottom instead of trimming straight across. What is this called, and does it work? Any other specific suggestions if it doesn't?
A: The most common methods used to combat the pyramid effect in curly/wavy long hair involve removing bulk from the ends of the hair. This is done by removing extra hair from the outer edges – known as beveling – from the inner-edges – known as undercutting – or in a diffuse pattern through the ends of the hair with thinning shears.
The beveling technique cuts the ends of the hair to create a downward angle at the bottom of the hair. It is, in fact, layering, but a very shallow layering. The “angle of the bevel” can be varied to suit the wave, texture and density of the hair being cut. The “rounding” technique you mention above is beveling using a curved “bevel”.
The “undercutting” method for removing bulk involves cutting the hair beneath the hairline very short (in some cases to the scalp) in order to create an even layer of hair. This technique is often passed on by those women who prefer to have total versatility in their hairstyle or who prefer more traditional looks.
In my experience, the preferred method of dealing with bulk is using thinning shears. The long curly hair is cut at the mid-point and three-quarters point along the length in order to remove bulk in a randomized pattern and therefore giving a more organic, natural-looking result. The size of the teeth of the thinning shears should be determined by the thickness of the hair and the size of the curls. For very thick hair with large coiling curls, a chunking shear is appropriate as this will allow the hair to be de-bulked without having the hair become ratty-looking as it tries to fall into its natural “groupings”.
Talk to your stylist. Explain EXACTLY the results you are looking for. If you want a specifically tailored cut, then be sure to say so. If you prefer a more organic, natural-looking finish, then explain that as well. The biggest mistake most people make in dealing with their stylists is assuming that they are thinking along the same lines. Not ironically, this is also the biggest mistake most hair stylists make with their clients. The secret to solving the problem is communication.
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