3 Stylist-Approved Cutting Techniques for Thick Hair

Written by Nina Aghadjanian

A stylist’s working knowledge of cutting techniques for different hair textures can make or break a mane, especially when it comes to thick, full hair. For those clients who crave a light, airy texture and removal of unnecessary weight, take note. Below, top L.A. stylists share their favorite cutting techniques for thick hair, whether to cut on wet or dry hair, and the best shears to get the heavy job done. Discover how to cut thick hair once and for all now!

Point Cutting

I use multiple approaches. I start by point cutting the entire perimeter of the cut with shears which helps soften the overall shape and density. I then use thinning shears to create my layers. This creates soft lines throughout the interior. Depending on how thick someone’s hair is I will follow up with my thinning shears at the perimeter and in the layers. About 10% is removed with a perpendicular angle, and 30% at a 45° angle. When you use only the tip of the thinning shear, it cuts gentler than using the middle section.

All my shears are Feel scissors. The thinning shear model I use, Yw285, cuts effortlessly. It removes different amounts of volume depending on the angle you hold them when cutting. My shear is also great for scissor over comb, chipping, point cutting, and feather cutting. I prefer to thin while the hair is dry. You can better see the weight distribution throughout a head of hair and customize where the hair needs bulk removal.

Having good shears and thinning shears is key but also knowing when to dig in and also when to stop. You don’t want to thin someone’s hair to the point that it looks damaged or as if they haven’t had a cut in months. It defeats the point. There’s a sweet spot you want to get to for the thickness your client can deal with.

Ghost Layers

I have a technique that I call ghost layers which is perfect for taking just the right amount of weight while maximizing movement throughout the head. Using this deep point cutting variant allows me to customize each one of my clients.

I love using my Hakari Dragon Cosmos, they are the perfect shear for this technique. I cut 99.9% of my clients on dry hair, the reason being is it allows me to see each client’s unique growth patterns and customize weight removal because we all know hair is similar to a fingerprint in that no two people have the same texture, growth pattern, or thickness. So why should everyone get the same haircut? A mentor once told me, “When cutting hair dry, your haircut is only as good as the blow dry.”

It took me forever to understand that lesson, but I’ve since realized what it means. A blow dry must not be flat nor have Dolly Parton volume (no offense, Dolly).

Precise Sections

It is easy for the shape to get lost if the sectioning is too big. I prefer to cut hair dry. With the exception to curly hair (I will always cut curly hair wet so I can see the curl pattern). I will consult with the client to see what their hair does day to day when they style it. Once we are done with the consultation, I will shampoo and do a conditioning treatment so the hair is hydrated and ready to be blown out then I begin to cut. I love using my blunt shears to start with and then follow with slide shears to fine-tune. Both my shears are by Feel.