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Cheat Sheet

Haircutting For Dummies

From Haircutting For Dummies by J. Elaine Spear

If you want to cut hair, you'll need a few tools to get started. Once you feel comfortable with haircutting, these tips will help you gain the trust of children, your family and friends; give touch-ups to prolong the life of a style; and approach new styles with confidence.

Six Haircutting Tool Essentials

The type and quality of haircutting tools you purchase is important. You don’t need to buy every haircutting gadget that comes along. Pick your tools wisely and start with these items to get started:

Standard haircutting scissors Whether you pay $10 or $100 for these important tools, you need an official pair of haircutting scissors in your toolbox.
Specialty haircutting scissors To cut along with this book, you really should have at least one pair or texturizing scissors and one pair of thinning scissors. These tools create interesting shapes in the hair and relieve unwanted weight.
Three types of combs (1) a standard cutting or styling comb, (2) a wide-tooth comb, and (3) a rattail comb. You can always add more specialty combs to your inventory by building around this core collection.
Hair fasteners Organizing and keeping hair under control is done with a variety of fasteners. Keeping a medley of clippies, jaw combs, and duckbill clamps on-hand allows you to corral every weight and length of hair.
Water bottle You need at least one water bottle with a fine-mist spray adjustment to dampen hair and, sometimes, spray on a diluted mix of hair conditioner.
Cloth goods A cutting cape and towel should be at the ready to catch drips and protect your loved ones from itchy snippets of hair.

How to Prepare Kids for a Haircut

When it comes to children’s haircuts, you might have to pull out every trick in the book to keep kids happy in the styling chair. Try to provide a fun and fast experience for children by using these haircutting tips:

  • Pick their best time. Children have a way of derailing your haircutting mission when they are tired and cranky.

  • Plan your haircut designs in advance to speed up the haircutting process.

  • Make sure your combs and brushes are kid friendly by being smooth, soft, and well-rounded on the tips.

  • Plan their haircuts around their favorite television programs or rent a popular video.

  • Bribe them with whatever you have — a cheap toy, a lapful of their favorite cookies, whatever!

Extending the Style of Your Haircut

On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch per month. By doing your own light haircutting touch-ups, you can keep your style between salon visits and save yourself time and money.

  • If you receive a haircut every six weeks, touch up your haircut at the three-week point. If you receive a haircut every eight weeks, four weeks is the ideal time to freshen your haircut.

  • Pick a good moment when you have plenty of time to concentrate on the task at hand. If you don’t take your time, you may end up running to the salon for an emergency fix-up.

  • Only cut the parts you can easily reach. When stretching your haircutting appointments, concentrate on the very top, the bangs and the sides of your hair.

  • Never cut more than 1/4-inch, or you’ll skew your haircut by creating dips and separations between what you’ve trimmed and what you have left for your hairdresser to deal with.

Tips for Mastering Any Haircut

Be cautious if you’re trying out a new style of haircut on yourself or someone else. Practice, start slowly and then let your stylish wings take flight. Keep these things in mind when cutting a style for the first time:

  • Get a mannequin head to practice your first cut of a new style. These mannequins are available at beauty stores and can be purchased for as little as $20.

  • Cut lightly the first time you do any haircut. If you want to shorten the hair 1/2 inch, cut it 1/4 inch the first time around to ensure that you’re on the right track with your new design. After you’re satisfied with your handiwork, re-cut the hair to the desired length.

  • Use a traveling guide.

  • Keep the hair pinned up as directed, so you never lose your way. Pinning helps you concentrate on one small section at a time instead of trying to fight your way through a jungle of hair.

Gaining Your Friend’s and Family’s Trust as a Hair Stylist

If you’re brand new at cutting hair, you may find your friends and family hesitant to let you work on their locks. Try winning them over one haircut at a time, and keep these things in mind:

  • Start small, but think big when it comes to cutting your family’s hair. In the beginning, do small things like bang trims, end trims, and crisping up the haircutting lines of the men in your life.

  • Extend the time between salon appointments by shortening their haircuts 1/4-inch midway between their scheduled trims.

  • Keep your word. If you say that you’re only going to trim this much, or leave the bangs a certain way, build your family’s trust by delivering as promised.

  • Ask for haircutting tools and supplies for your birthday. If this request doesn’t show sincerity about doing a good job, who knows what will!

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