I was recently asked to give some tips on creating the “Scene” hairstyle – or more specifically, to do a demonstration and diagram to allow someone to recreate the “scene” style.
“Scene” isn’t really a specific style, but is a “look”. The difference is that a look can have many different styles, depending on the individual, and the styles in a “look” aren’t necessarily that similar.
I’ve heard the “Scene” look described as “a happier Emo”, and this probably comes from the fact that many of the clothing and hairstyles are similar in appearance, except that the
“Scene” look includes more color and a more assertive attitude.
I’m sure there are those of you out there who are reading the terms “Scene” and “Emo” and are thinking, “What?” The term “Emo” has its origins in the punk rock movement and the
bands and their evolution of songs that were more focused on emotional subjects and expressions. This led to the coining of the term “emotional hardcore” or “emocore” which eventually became “Emo”. But Emo was used to
describe more than the music of particular bands. It became a buzzword, to describe the fans of this music, and their emulation of the artists in fashion, culture and the attitudes portrayed in the songs.
“Scene” has evolved in recent years as the Emo movement has gone more mainstream and become more widely popular. The dramatic elements of the Emo look have remained, with some
modifications to incorporate a brighter, bolder personality. If the Emo look is hair dyed black with a long choppy-layered cut and an angled, eye-concealing fringe, then “Scene” brings to it the flash of color in streaks
and swipes, particularly in the ends.
Of course, there’s more variety in any look than can be conveyed in a simple description. The styles that fall into the Scene category are as varied as you can imagine. There are
“Scene looks” that are wavy, straight, longer, shorter, and of virtually any color combination. So, to attempt to give instructions on cutting the “Scene” style isn’t possible. However, there are very definite elements
to the “Scene style” and we can define those.
Let’s look at those elements now:
The Scene look is always a high-volume look. The hair is bulked up and styled to be full and leonine. Generally, the volume is a result of blow-drying with root-lifting
techniques, or backcombing at the scalp to help the hair stand up and out.
Scene hair is typically styled to be straight, though there are exceptions. The scene look can be wavy as long as the waves are minimal and don’t get too precise. The intention
seems to be to create an edgy look, and to avoid appearing too-groomed. If it looks like it took hours to curl your hair, it’s not scene.
Of course, there are scene cuts of virtually any length. And the average scene guy’s hair is shorter than the average scene girl’s hair will be. But as a general rule, the
typical woman’s “Scene Cut” is a long, layered look with three stages of layering. The top portion of the hair is generally shortest (but can still be quite long), with the sides gaining in length and the bottom
portion of the hair falling longest. These stages are often somewhat exaggerated, with extensions being used at times to add length to the bottom layers.
The layering of the hair is choppy and sometimes ragged. The top section is cut with vertical elevation using a horizontal cutting angle (standard with long-layered cuts). The
sides and back (the crown area to the top of the nape section) are cut with less elevation and a vertical cutting angle. The lower sections (namely the nape area) are held to a low elevation with a perpendicular cutting
angle. After the base layers are established, the hair can be textured using a point-cutting technique, or deep slicing into the layers. Alternatively, a stylist proficient with a razor tool can cut the hair with said
razor and incorporate the choppy layers/texture as the hair is cut.
Perhaps the biggest divergence of Scene Hair from the Emo look is in color. While Emo looks generally prefer darker, more subdued haircolors, Scene hair typically incorporates
some enhancement and colorful accents in the look. For example, many Scene hair looks that begin with a dark colored base will include bold streaks of color (red, pink, blue, etc.) in the nape or fringe areas. Those
whose hair is naturally blonde or lighter in color may use the same bold colorful stripes, or may opt to add dark panels in the underside of the hair. There are even looks that incorporate patterns dyed into the surface
of the hair. The addition of color may be achieved by using “clip-in” extension pieces if you don’t want to color the hair.