Texturizing the Hair
In hairdressing, the term “texture” is used quite frequently. It can refer to the size of the diameter of the hair shaft (fine, normal and coarse hair texture). It can be used in styling in terms of adding a product to make the hair feel thicker or stiffer (texturing gel or paste added to give firmness and definition to a style). It is used in chemical services that alter the wave pattern of the hair (which are called ‘Chemical Texture Services”). And finally, we use it in cutting the hair to refer to techniques we use to remove bulk from a style or from the hair in general.
It is this latter use of “Texture” that we are most concerned with here. There are many different methods of “texturizing” the hair and each has a purpose and a situation for which they are more suited. The methods of texturizing the hair can be grouped into different categories. We’ll take a look at these groups of techniques and see how they differ and where they are most useful.
Internal Cutting typically involves shortening small segments of hair at some point along the length of the hair shaft. This can be done with varying techniques. One of the most common is the “Chipping Method” where the shears are used freehand to snip lengths of hair internally and remove bulk in a targeted, but random fashion.
There is also the “Weaving Method” where the hair is separated into slices and a tail comb is used to weave out strands as if you were doing a foil highlighting, then the selected hairs are cut in a specific place. It allows more control than the chipping method, and can be varied by using different cutting angles.
Finally, the last method of “internal cutting” we’ll mention involves the use of specific thinning shears which are designed to remove a percentage of the hair rather than all of the hair that is placed between the blades. This is accomplished by the blades having “teeth” rather than solid edges.
The amount of teeth the shears have determines how much or how little hair is removed, and whether or not it is removed in chunks. Fine toothed thinning shears can be used readily on straighter hair types, while those that are meant to remove thicker chunks should be kept to use on curlier hair.
The internal cutting techniques are great when dealing with bulk removal in curly hair types. Curly hair needs to be blunt cut and often needs specific areas to be thinned in order to create the desired silhouette. Techniques and tools that slide along the hair shaft of curly hair only cause damage and can lead to considerable frizz, so internal cutting techniques are ideal.
Smooth Cutting is generally a thinning/texturizing technique used with straighter hair types and involves running a blade along the length of a hair segment to remove bulk in a tapering effect. This is usually done using a razor tool that is simply drawn along the length of the segment from the point at which you want the volume to start to be removed.
The results can also be achieved through a technique called “Slithering” or “Sliding” where the shears are used – held slightly open – and drawn along the segment of hair resting lightly in the “v” shape created by the slightly open blades. This technique takes a lot of practice and control because too much pressure or a twitch of the fingers can result in the entire segment being chopped off.