The Hair Cuts and Cut Styling Techniques Every Cosmetologist Needs to Know

Learning how to transform your client’s look with a few scissor snips requires practice, expertise, and knowledge of the latest styles.

Your clients may come to you with an idea in mind or they may trust your judgment when it comes to rejuvenating they’re go-to look or giving them an entirely new one.

Through your cosmetologist program, you’ll have learned essential techniques such as overdirecting, notching, and thinning. Now it’s time to put your knowledge to work and help your clients walk out of the salon feeling confident and beautiful.

It’s important to know how to cut the following styles that have been trending everywhere from Hollywood to the runways of Milan:

  • Pixie cut
  • Bob
  • Lob
  • Undercut
  • Half-hawk
  • A-line haircut
  • Asymmetrical bob
  • Adding layers

Pixie Cut – A Playful, Casual Style

Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johannsson, and Emma Watson are just a few of the big names to have rocked a short, textured pixie cut for recent film projects.

To achieve this playful look on your clients, you’ll start by trimming the perimeter of the hair and take off length as needed to reach the desired length.

Then you’ll move your way to the back of the head and take off length until you reach the neck. After removing the necessary length, you can work your way around the entire head to make sure the length of the hair is even.

Using vertical angles, you’ll create layers throughout the hair in order to give the cut some style and texture. You can use your fingers to hold the hair in place while cutting layers. The longest layers will be on the top of the head, and the shortest layers on the sides and back.

Pixie cuts are often paired with fun texture. You can use a notching technique to give the ends of the layers extra texture and give the look a modern appeal.

This style is easily worn with a quick gel or mousse touch up to give it the tousled look that’s in right now.

Another fun element to pair with pixie cuts is highlights or lowlights—the color gives the hair extra dimension.

Bob – A Tried and True Classic

A bob is a short haircut, usually chin-length, that uses more length than a pixie cut to create angles around the face. Usually, bobs are angled so that the hair at the front of the head is longer than the hair in back, but bobs can also be cut all at the same length. Your client may have a certain look in mind, and you may remind them that narrow faces favor bobs that are all one length, while rounder faces are elongated by long layers in front.

To create an angled bob, you’ll take the front layers of your client’s hair and section them out of your way to begin cutting the hair at the back of the head. You’ll use an angle to cut the hair near the base of the neck and angle it upwards toward the center of the head.

Next, you’ll pull a section of the hair in front loose and cut it in a longer angle than you cut the back section. You’ll continue working your way towards the front of the head, making sure to leave each layer a little longer than the one before to achieve the angled look.

You can also use notching to add textured layers into the cute.

An asymmetrical bob involves leaving one side of the hair long (usually just about to the tip of the shoulder), while the other side is chin-length. This high style look is very modern, but it needs a lot of layers to make the length seem purposeful.

Lob – A Modern Take on the Bob

A “lob” is a long variation of the bob haircut. Rather than only reaching the chin, a lob usually reaches the tips of the shoulders.

A lob, like a bob, is usually angled so that the front layer of hair is longer than the back, but it can also be cut into one uniform length.

Half-Hawk – An Iconic Modern Style

A half-hawk haircut usually involves shaving a small section of one side of the head, from the hairline to just behind the ear. It can be shaved completely to the scalp, or you can shave patterns or designs into the look. This can be incorporated on any hairstyle from a short pixie cut to long, uniform locks.

Rihanna wears this style beautifully with long, flowing tresses on one side and a fun, short element on the other.

Undercut – Business in the Front, Party in the Back

An undercut is a variation of the half-shaved haircut that simply incorporates a shaved section of hair above the nape of the neck. It’s easy to cover up in professional settings and grows out more easily than a section on the top of the head as seen in the half-hawk.

The section can be shaved or personalized with designs or patterns, such as swirls, chevrons, or zig zags. To create this look, simply start the razor at the nape of the neck and work it upwards to about the middle of the ear. If you’re creating designs, set the razor on the lowest setting as you take off length, and use a higher setting to go back over the cut and create the design.

A-line Haircut – The Style That Compliments Every Face Shape

An A-line haircut is a longer hairstyle that uses the angling method of a bob—it’s longer in the front than it is in the back of the head.

When creating this look, you’ll usually start at the back and cut the shortest layers first. Working your way to the front of the head, be sure to leave each layer longer than the one before. You’ll need to go back over the hair cut in order to blend the layers and be sure that the length variation isn’t choppy.

Adding Layers – A Classic Way to Refresh Every Style

Layers are a crucial component of almost every hairstyle, adding texture and dimension. Layers are created when the top section of the hair is shorter than the bottom.

Notching is a new technique that involves cutting “spikes” at the end of each layer for a choppy look. However, you can also blend the layers with the hair if your client is wanting a more classic, smooth style.

Boosting your Business with Advanced Education Courses

Although you’ll have learned cutting techniques for the most popular styles in your cosmetology program, fashion is always changing, and you might want to refresh your knowledge or learn how to create the latest styles even after becoming licensed.

Advanced education courses for cosmetologists are offered at salons and beauty schools throughout the country. These courses cover cutting and styling to achieve specific modern looks and often give cosmetologists a chance to become familiar with new cutting systems.

By mastering the trendiest new looks through advanced education, you’ll be able to set yourself apart as a go-to stylist.

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