Stylists must deal use very specialized skills when cutting thick hair as opposed to that which is thin and fine. Certain measures should be taken to make this job easier and the finished haircut look its best. For instance, wet or damp thick hair is often easier to cut and style than when it is dry. Also, sharp scissors are required, as is knowledge in the techniques that can be used to thin such tresses, to make them more manageable.
One of the most important tips for cutting thick hair is having very sharp scissors. Dull scissors can bend the hair before cutting through the strands. This can lead to the finished haircut looking unprofessional, as in frayed and jagged at the ends. The stylist should test his scissors before cutting thick hair by snipping through a small portion of strands near the ends, or some snipped from another, earlier client. If the scissors easily cut through this hair without bending it, the scissors should be sharp enough.
Thick hair can tangle very easily. Before attempting a cut, the stylist should wash and condition the hair thoroughly, and then comb it out until all the knots are gone. Even when a good conditioner is used, thick hair can still knot while wet. Sometimes a leave-in conditioner is necessary, while combing, to help with getting all tangles out.
When cutting thick hair, it is typically divided into four equal parts. The stylist should concentrate on one section at a time, cutting very small sections from within each of the four larger ones. Thick hair is dense so, if larger sections are taken, the stylist can lose his or her place in the haircut and cut the hair unevenly.
Although someone with thick hair may prefer a long hairstyle, shorter layers cut in with the longer hair length can help to thin, or take out the heaviness of the total hair volume, and give the style some bounce. If an inadequate amount of these layers exist in a style, however, the overall look can take on a pyramid appearance — with the hair flat against the scalp around the head, but poofed out at its ends. Prior to cutting thick hair, a stylist should examine the person's natural hair growth pattern to determine how many layers the hair will need to avoid this effect.
After the cut, but before the hair is dried and styled, thick hair can be thinned further with thinning shears if necessary. These are a special type of scissor with a guard that allows only a certain amount of hair to be cut in each snip. This type of thinning can also help reduce the weight or overall volume of thick hair, and make it easier to style into a desired look.