16. October 2016

Epic Fail: How NOT to cut very long very thick hair

She did it! No I did. Nessa cut back from already calflength to… around thighlength again.


And really I tend to duck and cover now. Because… as the title tells you it went way different than expected. What happend?

Nessa came to me with the plan to celebrate with Nickike, me and the other longhaired ladies Nickike’s wedding – and to get her hair cut by me. “Less unicorn” she called it which means: caldlength is really very special. And unpractical: Arms too short to braid down without helping tools (I could witness her braiding the evening before when she helped herself by using a doorknob to tighten her braid agin, when she braided the last segment), braid and bun are very heavy and she sat down even on her braid. So all clear, I am gonna cut as much as she wants me to.

That was the plan

With this in mind we layed out a plan to cut: Midthigh would be optimal but a bit shorter would be better as we don’t see each other that often and hair will regrow in the meantime. Considerung this I added three fingers width to the length I would cut. Then we decided to cut Nessa’s hair layerwise. Her hair is undeniably very thick and I also used to had some difficulties to get the shape correctly as the large amount of hair just gets pushed away when I close the scissor blades. We sectioned three layers, starting with the bottom layer as reference layer and than let down the other two layers one after the other.

planning is one thing, doing is the other

While I cut I realized rather early: we should have sectioned more layers. The second layer was so thick that I could hardly see the reference layer. That lead to a slight adjusting (aka some more millimeters to cut) of the bottom layer too. Same for the top layer. The result was an incredibly thick hemline. I continued correcting the U-shape especially the outer corners to make them blend in smoothly upwards. After that I softly feathered the whole hemline by cutting vertically into it. That was a good decision and I should have layerd even more to make the U fall smoother. I do this for Luise’s haircut too and it really makes a big difference. I should have layered even more for Nessa and I should have flattend the base of the U-shape more to get a more parabolic shape. But until then I did not realize real mistakes except for the difficultis with the thickness of the layers. Everything went as always: cutting, controlling, shaking, correting, shaking, combing, correcting…  But then something happend: the chipcard of Nessa’s camera was full. And we realized that Nessa was already super late for her incredibly long way home. As I already corrected the hemline for quite a long while it was my honest opinion that we could finish right where we were.

That the shape in fact was too V-shaped could have already been obvious while we took the after pictures and we should have corrected the shape right then. But we were in a hurry. So Nessa made a braid, and oh my gosh, the tassle was so long and… irregular?! But they had to leave. Even though I am pretty shure Nessa already had a bad feeling when she looked at her braid a that very moment. A regular threestrand braid just has to work for her, it is her basic, her everyday hairstyle. Such a long tassle is just not practicable. But wait, we did not measure! So undo the braid and take the measuring tape. Wohoho, 24cm? I cut 24cm? Crazy. But still, basically astonishment. Braiding again, still a long tassle. Nessa left us and I dropboxed the after pictures and after video for her and of course also watched it. Video: meh, slightly too light. But besides that the shape of the hemline looked nice, I was satified with my work. But as I saw the after picture… I also realized that the shape did not turn out good. And it was obvious, that this was really no longer midthigh length.

The following days we texted  and it did not get any better: too V-shaped, shorter than planned, not practical to braid and the shape is not flattering for this specific length in proportion to Nessa’s overall bodyshape. She adjusted the shape on her own to at least get better braiding results – but of course this too cost extra centimeters. Now I was really the one with a bad feeling and Nessa probably felt slightly amputated. I felt so sorry and still do!

What went wrong?

How could this happen? I never cut too short! As you can see on the picture I in fact did not cut very much shorter than planned – in the middle. But the sides got a very big cut and this shows significantly in the resluting braid which turns out MUCH shorter than only the cutting difference of still huge 24cm. And this was not planned. And we have to add in Nessa’s correction cut which sacrificed some more centimeters.
What do we learn from this?

• Never EVER cut your or other people’s hair when you are in a hurry. Never! The cut is finished when it is finished, not when something else wants to happen.

• What you see on the video is not optimal: I knee slightly at the sides to give the camera a good view of what I am doing. Like this I have no good eye on symmetry and I in fact had to adjust in the end quite a long time.  So: The one who is cutting should be positioned right in the middlesymmetry.

• A strong U- or V-cut has significant impact on your braids. Parabolic shapes are better for braids then V-cuts as they leave a longer, thicker tassle. So also when you want the V-shape look for you hair down, consider this braiding fact.

• If you do a big chop plus change of hemline shape, add some buffer as you don’t have an old hemline to follow for reference. (2cm)

• If you cut very thick hair for change in length and hemline shape, cut in layers. This really was the right decision. But section enough layers. Every layer has to be thin enough so you can see the bottom layer(s) through. If you can’t see the bottom layer(s) the reference layer you created before is worthless.

• For each section you layer you should add more buffer of around 0,5-1cm as you most likely will slightly cut the bottom layer(s) again when you adjust the toplayers. At least this happens quickly.

• An U- or V-cut needs more buffer than a straight across hemline, as you need some room for corrections of symmetry. (1cm)

• If the mane is thick to very thick (talking about the thickness of the hemline here, not at the head. Also thick braids can end with normal or thin ends and then this all is no problem) you should add another buffer as there will be a larger amount of corrections in the end when the mane gets shaken und readjusted. The thicker the mane, the more obvious is the effect. (1cm)

• If you want to layer/feather the hemline add another 1-2cm buffer. The thicker the mane, the more buffer you need, because you need to layer deeper for a nice effect. The feathering is somethign Ir eally recommend for thick hemline to make them fall more naturally, less blocky. This is something which is totally irrelevant for normal to thin hemline volumes.

• This sums up to around 8cm of buffer I should have planned in for Nessa – but which I didn’t. Substracting the 3 finger width which was planned to cut shorter to give her mane time to grow back to really midthigh I did not play that bad. But well, the correction cut Nessa did has to be counted in too of course and there will follow another when her hair will have regrown a bit more.

• Mainfactor was the big chop. If you only do a small trimm, the needed buffer melts down to maybe 1cm, which I personally consider to be okay for a mistake on very thick hair. With thinner hair it is rather easy to really hit the planned length.

• For superthick hair as Nessa’s another effect shows: her hair falls down in the shape of an A with a bow below, from head to tips. Before we cut, it fell rather parallely. Especially this A-shape brings the focus on the body area which has the same height as the base of the A, the length of hair before the U-shape starts. This can be very flattering when this base of the A is at the position of the waist to focus on that but for hip- to tailbonetlength this is something often not wanted. The same counts for straight across hemlines when the manes falls down in an A-shape. So make up your mind before you cut not only about which length you want your longest hair to have but also at which length the U is supposed to start.

summary for me

Summary for me: That won’t ever happen again! For me this counts twice as I won’t do these mistakes a second time but also at Nessa’s place I would think more than twice if I would Heiki cut her hair ever again… But I guess I am really lucky and Nessa still likes me anyways. 🙂

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