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Hair Cutting Technique for Layering

Q: I have a hair cutting technique question. I last got my hair cut about 6 months ago, as I have decided to grow out my short hair. I noticed that the person who cut my hair last did a layering technique that looks to me like "chipping" with individual hairs at different lengths, going from shorter to longer. There are no clean cut lines, and no clear layers. She did not use a razor, but scissors. This has left my thick, wavy hair feeling stringy and unmanageable. Can you tell me the name of this technique, so that I can avoid it in the future?
 
A: The technique you describe sounds like the point cutting or notching technique, executed at a steep angle. It is a fairly popular technique, especially considering the trend in today's hairstyles for the "shaken" and "bed head" looks. It provides texture to the hair and allows for wind-blown styles that are very modern looking, and that can add a lot of interest to short hairstyles.
 
hairdresser cutting short hair        The trouble with this technique of texturing is when you want to grow out the style (such as in your case). Especially with steep cuts that create such a tremendous variation in length. I know many salons where this technique - and similar variants - are taught and encouraged as signature looks for the salon. Often, new clients receive this type of texturing without consultation or explanation of the results should they decide to grow the hair longer. It is a habit I would like to see stopped.
 
       It sounds like you are experiencing a common problem faced by many women and men who decide to grow out a short hair style - the in-between stages where the hair is too long to wear in the same style as you used to wear, but not long enough that you can style it the way you want it to look. And with the texturing you have that ragged look at the hair ends.
 
       I think your best bet is going to be having the hair trimmed following a semblance of the look you want to ultimately achieve. At this point, selecting a mid-length between the longest and shortest lengths of the hair and cutting it as appropriate to the style you want to eventually have. Otherwise, you either have to resolve yourself to cutting the hair to the shortest lengths and letting it grow out, or cope with the stringy look until your hair reaches sufficient length that you can cut it and get an approximation of the style you want.
 
       As for future prevention, the best course of action I can recommend is that whomever you see to have your hair cut in the future, you discuss with them exactly how they plan to cut and/or texturize the hair. Explain the trouble you've had in this instance and that you do not want a cut that would cause the same results if you decide to continue growing your hair. A good, responsible stylist will always listen to your concerns and do whatever is necessary to make sure you are happy and satisfied.
 
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Notching and point cutting
 
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Bad haircut with layers
 
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