Clipper Cutting Curly Hair
by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Friday, September 23, 2011
Cutting curly hair can be daunting for many hair cutters. Clipper cutting is a great option for curly hair, and your clipper is a great tool for facing these fears. Controlling lengths and creating workable shapes are the goals. Here are my top tips for clipper cutting curly hair.
1. Clipper cut curls dry
Curls expand and distort when hydrated. You will have a better idea of what you are taking, and leaving on the client, if you cut with clippers on dry curly hair. The client will wear their hair dry, so it is better to cut it dry so as to really “see” what you are creating.
2. Leave it longer
When choosing a guide comb, reach for one that is one size larger than your first instinct tells you to pick up. You may be surprised how short curls will clip down. Better to err on the side of too long than too short. After all, we can not put back what we take away.
3. Clip with the growth direction first
Curls will lay down in front of the clipper blade action when cut with the growth direction. This will leave a bit more length, which is what you want. Reverse and cut against the growth direction once you know how these particular curls will respond.
4. Minimize tension
Applying tension to hair stretches out the shape you are working with. Use wide-toothed combs and wide-toothed clipper blades to keep the hair happily in its natural position, state and shape. You will have better control of the shape you are creating if you are not distorting the hair by applying tension. Your hand and your fingers are your best wide-toothed comb.
5. Take large sections
Type 2 (wavy) and type 3 (curly) textures can be condensed into fewer, larger sections for control. This is called condensed cutting. When hair is shifted to a common point to be cut, length increases are created across the shape. Learn to use this concept to create movement within a curly shape. Short hair pushes longer hair. This is a basic principle of all hair cutting. Use this to move hair where you want it to go.
6. Clip and snip
Type 4 (kinky) hair can be individually snipped and clipped one coil at a time for real, wearable shapes. Remember, this hair type gets “short” fast. Take less.
7. Think silhouette
Creating great curly haircuts is about sculpting the overall outer perimeter shape. Step back and assess the balance and proportions of the overall shape.
8. Work from outside to inside
Define the outer boundary of the hair cut shape first. Address hanging length and perimeter lines. Go in and reduce weight, build volume and create shape inside the boundaries once you have set them.
Try clipper cutting a curly client and share your experiences here. I hope to hear from you and, if you need any advice on the technique, I am here to help.