Best Hair Cutting Techniques - The Ultimate Guide [80 Free Videos]
Haircutting takes an incredibly long time to master and requires constant education! In the Ultimate Video Guide to the Best Haircutting Techniques, we have hand-selected many of our favorite videos that we believe will elevate your haircutting skillset to another level.
We first build strong Foundations, then work into the essential art of Layering, and add the finishing touches with Face-Framing and bangs. We encourage you to grab a mannequin and work along hands-on with the videos whenever possible to really anchor your learning. Also, we would love to hear from you on our social media platforms if you feel that this guide is helping you.
Hair Cutting Guide Overview:
1. The Foundations of Hair Cutting
how and why behind cutting hair.
24 video techniques
2. Layering Techniques
These layering techniques will set you up for success no matter the hair type or density.
25 video techniques
3. Face-Framing Techniques
Discover multiple ways to approach face-framing in this video series.
10 video techniques
4. How to Cut Bangs
There are many ways to cut a fringe, so why not learn them all?
21 video techniques
Watch these videos to help you master the shag haircut.
6 video techniques
1. The Foundations of Hair Cutting
Ownership over the Foundations of Haircutting opens up limitless creativity and flexibility in your hairdressing. By truly understanding the concepts of Elevation, Overdirection, Finger Angle, etc… you take the guess work out of adapting haircuts to the needs of your salon guests.
Regardless of how creative you get with your haircuts, they are still controlled by the foundational basic principles contained in this portion of our video guide.
Elevation: Controlling the Vertical Movement of Hair
Foundations of Hair Cutting - Elevation
Mastering the art of elevation is guaranteed to improve your haircuts because it allows you to change the silhouette vertically.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal section, you must be moving the hair up and down, not side to side, in order to create elevation.
Want to collapse the shape at the bottom and leave weight at the top? Elevation allows you to do that.
Let’s say that all of your lengths are sitting at the same point. You’ll have a lot of density at the bottom, right? Now let’s say you want to move that density away from the perimeter and build it up and away from the head shape.
Simply start elevating the hair up and away from the head, but remember that once you lift the hair past 90 degrees you’ll allow more length to drop out toward the perimeter and take more length away from the upper surface. We encourage you to watch the video above to learn more about how elevation can improve your game.
Over-Direction: Controlling the Horizontal Movement of Hair
Hair Cutting Foundations - Over-Direction
Over-direction is key to creating memorable haircuts because it creates weight and length in different directions and lets you control the side-to-side or front-to-back aspect of your silhouette.
You can move the hair three ways to produce different results. Over-direct the hair forward to create length and density toward the back of the hair. Over-direct the hair back to create movement, density and weight in the front. Or cut the hair at the natural fall to create no movement in either direction.
Three different haircutting guides (stationary, traveling and visual) also deliver different results, from the maximum amount of over-direction to a softer buildup of weight. Watch the video above to see exactly how it’s done.
Finger Angle: Creating Depth Within a Haircut
Hair Cutting Foundations - Finger Angle
Finger angle influences the outcome of your haircuts because it creates depth within the section even if you’re using the same elevation and the same over-direction.
In a vertical section, finger angle affects the silhouette up and down. Within a horizontal section, finger angle controls movement away from the face or toward the face.
Want more fullness toward the perimeter? Use a finger angle diagonally away from the head shape. Want depth to fall toward the back of the head? Shift your fingers into a diagonal finger angle where it’s shorter towards the face and longer away from the face. Watch the video to be on your way to creating intricate shapes and adapting your haircuts to any client who walks through the door.
Sectioning: How To Section Hair with Precision and Accuracy
How to section hair with precision and accuracy
Practice makes perfect, or at least perfect partings. Want to get really skilled at creating clean partings? Practice these three tips until they become second nature.
Connect your fingers: Our long cutting comb has a parting tooth at the top. Place your pointer finger at the tip of the parting tooth, take your other finger and place it where you want to go and connect the two points.
Comb the hair in the direction you want to part so you’re not fighting the grain.
Use both hands for really long partings. Put both fingers on the parting tooth and rest your palms against the head for support to create clean, clear lines. Watch the video to see how it’s done.
Tension: How To Maintain Tension When Cutting Hair
How to maintain tension when cutting hair | Foundations of Hair Cutting
Want more precise results on your next haircut? Maintaining nice, even tension can help.
Start by asking yourself these questions? Is your tension even from top to bottom? Cutting past the first knuckle can be problematic so avoid it if you can.
Are you rolling the section to see it better or to get it into a different cutting position? If so, be careful that you don’t increase elevation. Keep a flat surface.
Remember that a loss of tension or uneven tension can complicate your haircuts so watch the video to learn more.
Layering Hair: The Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Layering
The Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Layering for Haircuts
Rethinking your approach to haircutting can make the difference between a good haircut and a great haircut. Understanding when to use vertical layering and when to use horizontal layering is a good example. The difference is how the weight is distributed and how visual the cutting line is.
Want a softer edge and not as much weight? Take a vertical section, elevate the hair to 90 degrees and cut straight across. Want a lot of texture? Use your shears to create deep peaks and valleys that will soften as they fall.
Want to keep more weight through the perimeter and have more visual impact? Switch to a horizontal layering pattern. Same elevation, same over-direction but in a horizontal section. Watch the video for tips you can start using today.
Haircut Guides: How To Establish a Safety Guide When Layering Hair Above the Ears
How to establish a safety guide when layering hair above the ears
It’s always challenging to know where to start your guide for layers to avoid the always-feared hole above the ear. The trick is to find a safe point to start your layers, and we’ve got a tip that works every time.
Go to the top of the ear. The area of the hairline that has to travel the farthest to touch the perimeter is that little piece at the high point of the ear. Never go shorter than that piece of hair and you’ll avoid the dreaded hole above the ear. Watch the video to learn how to find that safe point and preserve density and length.
One-Length Haircut: How To Hold Sections to Create a Consistent Line
How To Hold Sections to Create a Consistent One-Length Haircut
There’s nothing wrong with an asymmetrical bob unless that wasn’t the look you were going for. Creating a consistent line on both sides of any one-length haircut is always a challenge, but we’ve got some solutions.
Your fingers can get you into trouble because they tend to create a slightly diagonal line when you use them as your guide. Instead, use your comb to guide the bottom of your fingers to create a horizontal line.
The other problem is your elbow, which wants to drag you down and throw off that nice horizontal line. Again, use your comb to help you out. Watch the video to see exactly how to create a consistent line each and every time.
Precision Haircut: How To Create a Precise Bottom Edge When Cutting Hair
How to cut hair straight | Creating a precision bottom edge
Creating a precise bottom edge is all in the details. Cutting hair as close to the natural fall as possible will eliminate some of the inconsistencies. When you use your fingers to control the shape, be careful not to lift the hair up and away, which introduces elevation.
The best advice is to keep your hands out of the hair if possible. Using a comb instead puts less tension and stress on the hair and makes it easier to keep the hair in its true natural fall position.
We also suggest that you bring the shears in and cut at the bottom edge of the guideline rather than on top to make sure the next section that comes down isn’t above your previously cut section. Watch the video to learn more.
Layering Hair: Creating Consistent Weight Balance Within Layers
Creating consistent weight balance while layering hair
A common problem with layered haircuts is inconsistency within the weight balance. We suggest that you examine the element of elevation because that’s one of the key ways to control the shape of the layer.
Taking sections that are too large can create inconsistency. Sub-sectioning those larger sections into two smaller pieces makes it easier to control elevation.
The other issue is body position. Usually your elbow-down side will be your heavy side and your elbow-up side will be your lighter side. Watch the video to see how maintaining proper elevation can make all the difference..
Cross-Checking: The Importance of Cross-Checking Hair & How To Do It
Importance of Cross-Checking Hair
Cross-checking is one of those fundamentals you learned in beauty school that can save you time and improve your results. Even if you’re in a hurry, don’t skip this important step because it keeps you from getting ahead of yourself and finding out too late that you’ve started to make mistakes within the haircut.
The trick is to take nice clean sections and elevate the hair back to the position you cut it in before looking for problems. Work with a sense of purpose and look for balance within the line in both vertical and horizontal sections. Watch this video to discover how cross-checking affects the outcome of your haircuts.
Layering Hair Around The Face Without Creating Bulk or Holes
Layering Hair Around The Face Without Creating Bulk or Holes
Don’t you hate it when you’re layering hair around the face and you get a hole right in front at the bottom corner? The trouble is in the recession area, and we’ve got two options to help you avoid the problem. The first one is to detach the hair that sits right over the top of that recession area from the length of your layering.
The second option is to grab your Professional Blending Shear, which lets you gently reduce the weight of the hair that sits in front of the weak area of the recession without overdoing it. Watch the video and see how it’s done.
How To Create V-Shaped Layers Around the Face for Longer Hair
How To Create V-Shaped Layers Around the Face for Longer Hair
Here’s a fresh technique to add face-framing layers to the hair. Start at the high point of the head and connect to the point where the hair becomes weak behind the ear. Repeat on the opposite side.
Part off the upper surface of the head and grab your Professional 7” Dry Cutting Shear. Over-direct everything forward with 90-degree elevation. Determine where you want your shortest point to fall and cut a V-shape into that section.
Bring the sides down, maintaining 90-degree elevation and over-directing straight forward. Connect the longest point of your V-shape on the top out to the lengths on the perimeter. Watch the video and master this relatively simple technique.
Cutting in Motion - Shear Entry Angle and Timing/Speed
Cutting in motion techniques, including slide cutting, slicing, channel cutting, slithering, and pinching and talking, are essential skills for every stylist’s toolbox. These haircut techniques allow you to quickly remove bulk and add movement to the hair.
When cutting in motion, it’s important to consider your shear entry angle to create the end results you want. A nearly-parallel shear angle will result in soft, subtle layers, while a more pronounced shear angle will remove more hair for a bolder look.
Timing is also critical for creating a great forward motion haircut. The speed at which the shear moves through the hair and the speed at which the shear closes both affect the final result. Closing the shear too slowly or too quickly (relative to your cutting speed) can shred the cuticle and create straw-like ends. The Sam Villa Artist Series 6” Slide Cutting Shear makes motion cutting easier by pushing hair out as the blades close, creating beautiful soft edges that blend seamlessly.
Cutting in motion is a must-know haircut technique for many of today’s top trending styles. With practice, you can learn to motion cut with confidence and control. When you choose the right angle and master the rhythm of gliding and closing your shears, you open up a whole new world of creative possibilities. Watch this video to upgrade your motion cutting skills!
Foundations of Layering Hair - 3 Different Elevations and How They Effect Weight Balance
Want to create better layered haircuts? It all starts with understanding the foundations of layering hair, such as levels of elevation and weight balance. Many of us tend to stick to one preferred type of elevation, but having a variety to choose from helps you design the perfect hairstyle for each individual client.
In this video, Sam Villa Cultural Ambassador Andrew Carruthers walks you through 3 different levels of elevation. Grab your Lydia Mannequin head and follow along!
First up is a classic high elevation, also called 90 degrees vertical, which involves elevating a section straight up towards the ceiling. Lift the hair up and cut a blunt line that is parallel to the floor. This basic elevation technique delivers beautiful blended layers that have less weight on top and more density at the perimeter. Your guests who want soft, subtle texture will love this look!
For balanced layers and a round shape that follows the head, elevate the hair at 90 degrees to the head shape. Using a longer shear (we recommend the Sam Villa 6.25” Streamline Series Shear for layering), cut the section parallel to the head. Continue to adjust the elevation to maintain a 90 degree angle as you work down the hair from top to bottom, following the natural curve of the head.
Watch the video to discover the third elevation (hint: it’s perfect for keeping weight in the upper layers). Once you add these three elevations to your hair design toolkit, you’ll know exactly what to reach for to create gorgeous short and long layered haircuts!
4 Ways to Add Texture to Blunt Haircuts
Highly textured, layered hairstyles are trending right now… but how can you add texture to a blunt haircut? When you’re faced with a heavy perimeter, there are several options for creating movement and visual interest. The tool and technique you choose should depend on your desired result as well as your guest’s hair type.
Point cutting is a great way to create a blunt cut with textured ends. For subtle texture, align your shear angle with the grain of the hair. Cutting against the hair grain will create bold, chunky ends.
You can also point cut into the hair with the Sam Villa Signature Series Invisiblend Shear. The weight removal is super-delicate so you never need to worry about removing too much hair. This technique is perfect for creating soft, light texture.
If your goal is to remove bulk without creating textured ends, consider slide cutting. Working from the interior of the hair allows you to control where you want to take out weight. Align your Sam Villa Artist Series 6” Slide Cutting Shear with the grain of the hair for natural texture (or place the blades at an angle for more visual interest), point the blades down towards the floor, and slide down small pieces of hair from mid-shafts to ends.
Want to remove weight without creating any visible lines or changing the perimeter? Watch the video to discover the fourth texturizing technique (your texture-shy guests will LOVE it). No matter which technique you choose, being intentional about the entry angle of your shear relative to the grain of the hair is key to creating beautiful textured blunt cuts!
How To Point Cut Like a Pro
Point cutting is a wonderful technique for adding softness to haircuts, but it can cause injury to your hands and fingers when done incorrectly! Luckily, with the proper technique you can create beautiful texture without hurting yourself.
The secret to preventing cuts is to pull the shears away from your hand as you close them. When you point cut, open the shears, touch your hand gently, and close them on the way out. Practice this rhythm (“Open, touch, close on the way out”) at home, working slowly until you build confidence and muscle memory.
When point cutting hair, it’s important to consider the depth of the cut and the shear angle. A longer shear like the Sam Villa Signature Series 7” Dry Cutting Shear allows you to point cut deep into the hair. To add soft edges to a fringe or perimeter, point cut only the ends of the hair.
The angle of the shear in relation to the hair determines the type of texture that you create with your point cut. If the shear is roughly parallel to the grain of the hair, it will remove less hair and give you a soft, wispy finish. For more visual texture, place the shear at a diagonal angle to the grain of the hair.
With practice, you’ll learn to play with depth and cutting angle to achieve the exact results you want. Watch the video to learn how to point cut hair safely and effectively!
How to Create Hairstyles According to Face Shape - Working With Features
How do you create flattering hairstyles by face shape without limiting your guests’ options? While it might be tempting to label her face shape as round, square, diamond, and so forth, there is actually a better and more customized way to design face-flattering haircuts.
Instead of following the so-called “face shape rules”, try zooming out to consider the overall dimensions and lines of the haircut. A great hairstyle should balance the overall face shape, accentuate your guest’s favorite facial features, and de-emphasize less preferred features.
If your guest loves her eyes, cheekbones or jawline, plan out bangs or layers that point to those features. For a wider face or round cheeks, think long vertical lines and sweeping layers that draw the eye down and away from the roundest part of the face. On the other hand, solid horizontal lines (such as blunt bangs) draw the eye from side to side, giving the face a more “square” appearance.
It takes time to master the lines and dimensions of different haircuts, so practice these skills on your LydiaMannequin Head before you try them out on guests! No matter what hairstyle you design, remember that personality trumps face shape every time. It’s okay to give your guest a hairstyle that fits her personality and confidence, even if it’s not the “perfect” face-flattering cut.
Thinking outside the box empowers you to add value behind the chair by giving your guest a beautiful custom haircut that she didn’t think she could pull off. Watch the video to discover how to create the best hairstyles for your client’s face shape.
In Depth Undercut Bob Tutorial
This in depth undercut bob tutorial takes you from initial sectioning, to wet cutting, to blow drying, to flat ironing, and even into the detailing and texturizing of a bob that falls beautifully on almost any head of hair!
Watch as Sam Villa Cultural Ambassador Andrew Carruthers walks through every detail of this fashionable and classic hair cut. Grab a mannequin and cut along.
"The Jana" In-depth Bowl Cut Tutorial
This in-depth haircutting tutorial walks step-by-step from sectioning breakdown, to the foundational cut, through the blow-dry and refinement of this precise bowl cut, The Janna.
Explore the joy of sectioning and haircutting with a swivel shear to create this edgy shape with a modern approach.
3 Quick Tips for Texturizing Short Hair
Sam Villa Cultural Ambassador Andrew Carruthers jumps in to deliver 3 quick tips on texturizing short hair.
HOT TIP: Shear and Hand Position
Comfort begins with the shear in your hand. Sam teaches the correct relationship of the shear to your hand position
3 Ways To Cut a One Length Bob
How do YOU cut the perimeter of a Bob? Do you use two fingers to hold the section of the hair, the comb to brace the hair or do you use a single finger or the edge of your palm to hold the hair against the skin?
2. Layering Techniques
Without a doubt, the most common technique we apply in commercial haircuts is layering. From short and highly textured to long and flowing, layers bring life and movement to your designs. But, we can easily get stuck in a rut of doing the same layering patterns over and over again.
Within this section of our video guide, you will not only learn how to have better control over layers but also discover creative options and solutions to common challenges faced behind the chair.