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How to Properly Thin Out Hair – According to an Expert

Heavy hair? In this heat?

With warmer weather continuing throughout autumn, it’s no wonder shags, mullets, and wolf cuts remain top tress trends. These edgy cuts are light af. But when it comes to thinning out a monolith mane, it’s not all choppy texture and rock-n-roll fringe. Subtle, invisible layers are another effortless way to lighten your locks. There are so many ways to lift away deadweight on a mane – and the chosen technique depends in large part on your desired outcome.

That’s why we sat down with Alyssa Wood, dry cutting expert and stylist at LA’s celebrated Spoke and Weal. Read on for her breakdown of the top techniques for thinning out hair!

Try Thinning Shears

“Thinning shears are a great way to remove density,” Alyssa says.  These bad boys can be used to cut dry and wet hair – so they’re extreme adaptable. But stylists should be wary. “It is extremely important to pay attention the how and where the weight is distributed throughout your clients hair,” Alyssa cautions, “[s]ometimes, we are removing weight to create more balance in the style.” Overly dense tresses will lack movement. So it’s important to take the proper amount of weight when cutting to add movement and flow to the strands.

And, as always, pay attention to the individual clients needs. “Hair tends to grow in weight before it grows in length,” Alyssa explains, “[r]emember to not take out too much from the ends creating an imbalance from the roots.” You may only need to take weight from a few areas in the hair, as opposed to removing density everywhere. And your client will most likely know where their hair feels heavier. For example, Alyssa says, you should take out weight closer to the root for shorter cuts, like pixies, to create texture.

Back Cut Like A Boss

“Back cutting is another technique used that not only removes weight but creates internal and external layers as well as volume” Alyssa explains. She recommends using dry shears while performing this technique – the thicker blade allows for softer ends. “I like to consider the shape of this cut while performing this technique,” Alyssa says, “[s]horter cuts like bobs can benefit well from this in particular. This allows for softer layers and more movement.” If your client isn’t a regular, you may need to adjust for other haircuts, look at the lines that have previously been laid.

Weighed down hair is harder to style, it lacks movement and shape because it clumps together. “Back cutting helps to break up heavy lines and soften the layers allowing more flow and movement to be more predominant in the hair.” Alyssa explains.


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A post shared by Spoke & Weal (@spokeandweal)


Deep Point Cutting Is Another Option

When it comes to nailing the perimeter of the hair, deep point cutting is a good way to go. “This will create more texture in the ends so your hair does not fall to heavy end point” Alyssa explains. Although this technique can be performed wet or dry, our expert says dry cutting is preferred. Dry cutting saves the stylist from having to breakup heavy lines in the haircut and helps them avoid backtracking. “I prefer to use my straight shears when cutting the perimeter of the hair” Alyssa says,  “[t]he shears tend to be more precise and sharp. They are especially good for getting through hair that is thick or unmanageable.”

Carve Out Layers

“Carving out layers and weight is another one of my favorite techniques.” Alyssa describes. To achieve this aesthetic, she uses dry cutting shears. According to Alyssa, dry cutting offers more of a customized and curated haircut. “I like to think of it as architecture for the hair” she says, “[t]he structure is very carefully thought out and designed.” Seeing how the hair falls when its dry, how the client actually wears their hair, allows the stylist to carefully see when and where to place layers and create movement.


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A post shared by Alyssa Wood (@alyssawoodhair)


Always Consider Texture

As with any cut, texture always plays a major role in the finished product. “Fine, medium, and coarse hair all have different needs,” Alyssa explains “I find that the thicker the strand and coarser the hair, the easier it is to reveal heavy lines.” For exampls, its very important not to chomp down on coarse hair with thinning shears. “Coarse hair is cut very easily by the shears.” our expert explains. This is why she prefers to only use the first two or three teeth of the shears. “This allows me to take more or less hair and be more precise in where I am choosing to cut, paying close attention to the distribution of weight.” she continues.

But be wary of over-thinning. “This can cause unwanted volume texture, and weight distribution. Creating strands that want to frizz, stray or be too airy to lay down properly” Alyssa cautions.

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