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  This site is chocked full of amazing educators and very talented stylists.  I would really like to see an ongoing discussion about geometry as it applies to design and application in hair cutting. Hopefully with some technical explanations as to WHY a particular
technique works. I think if we fully understand both the how and why of geometry, we can move from simply mimicking what we've seen others do, to designing with originality, confidence and purpose.

I have always heard that vertical sectioning reduces weight whereas horizontal sectioning builds weight, and that diagonal sectioning is somewhere in the middle.



    If I cut the whole side of the head (perimeter to parietal ridge) at a 90 degree elevation, with NO over-direction,(essentially a flat or square layer) would there really be a noticeable difference depending on whether I used vertical, horizontal, or diagonal sectioning? and why?

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Really bad at typing theory but here goes. To me its not so much your sections but more hand position. If you cut on the inside of your fingers you have the tendency to build weight,(Graduate) because your elbow is essentially pulling your arm down causing the hair at the top of the section to be longer(Heavier) By cutting on the outside of your fingers your elbow has a tendancy to pull your arm up and leave hair longer at the perimeter,(layering),.

In your example as long as your sections are perfect(layering at 90 horizontally gets tricky for me) the result should be the same. But, the thing to remember is that the head is round. Here's a little experiment for you, next time you're doing a bob starting in the back graduate one side using horizontal sections and one side using vertical.
I find the side you used horizontal sections will appear fuller and rounder because you are following the head shape where as the vertical side will appear flatter and leaner(Because your scissors are flat). if you cross check the vertical side horizontally you'll see that it appears rounder on the horizontal section because your following the head shape. Horizontally the horizontal side will look more flat because your scissors are flat but vertically appear more round.
Hope you can make some sense of it. Ill try to talk about it after the show tomorrow if I remember to.
I rarely cut using any other lines than horizontal unless I am really releasing much weight as possible. As joshxo said, the head shape is round. Every inch or so, the head form changes direction which would change 90 degrees from the head every inch technically. To me, this is the most advanced way of tailoring a haircut to a persons head shape, as holding a vertical section out and cutting it doesn't take into account all of the directional changes that occur. I also use a method of flipping my palm over and cutting over my fingers beveling the edge more, adding more texture and softness. L'Oreal Professionnel's method of texture cutting.But that is neither here nor there.

All of that being said, I do find it is a much softer effect to the overall geometric shape of the haircut. If you are looking for that very strong edge and hard lined cut, there are different tricks I have found work best.



  So how do you build lower angled graduation, say 45-60 degree from the perimeter or base?

With vertical sections it is very easy to get a quick, even, and consistent line of graduation.

With horizontal sections, I would be concerned about getting inconsistent graduation, because it would be dependent upon both section width and getting exactly the same elevation section after section.

Could you also elaborate on the "different tricks" you have found?


yes there would be a difference. As vertical sections would then create a vertical flatter shape. Creating height. But would have a tendency to create  a rounded horizontal shape.

Horizontal sections would then create a slightly more rounded or a shape with width.

Diagonal sections always direct the weight in the direction you want it to go in.

The answers are based on the fact you are not creating any over-direction. If you were then you would be creating more weight, and changing the horizontal shape.


Cheers sid

Hello, In reply to your Question, I've developed a totally approach to cutting & coloring hair that can be done simultaneously, it's totally based on geometric planes, it takes all the conventional systems to a new level and allows a deeper understanding of all once learned. Take a look at my website read & look at all the videos then contact me for more info.   George
nearly 20 years ago as an apprentice at Sassoon my Art Director Vernon Keech told me two things  so simple and powerful that they became  my guiding principles when cutting hair   "overdirect away from where you wish to leave weight and  length, and the higher you lift the flatter and lighter your shape will be "    for me it was the rosetta stone of geometric haircutting and got me thinking about the 3 dimensional aspects of cutting hair .   simple and pure

Thanks all for sharing your wisdom.

JoshXO mentioned an interesting insight on his TV show. Something to the effect of not just accepting as fact things that we hear along our journey, but to actually do some investigating and find out if techniques really work.

I love hearing "rules of thumb" and little tips and tricks people have discovered along the path to enlightenment. I hope those in the know will continue to share the wealth of their knowledge.

kind of off subject, but ive also been told there is a difference in texturizing (point cutting) in vertical versus horizontal sections.

i was always accustomed to texturizing in vertical sections. i didnt really have a thought process behind it, it just "felt right", as so many things in our craft do.

i was told by a teacher that vertical sections will destroy or at least alter the shape, that texturizing in horizontal sections would avoid that while simultaneously covering a wider section/making less work for yourself.


personally, i dont feel that taking a vertical section in point cutting will destroy a shape, but maybe im just conservative.



I feel with point cutting it is more the angle of the scissor that can alter the shape if you scissor cuts through a section on a diagonal   multiple times ,it will a remove length and could alter your shape pretty dramatically if the scissor is more vertical it will mostly remove weight and leave the shape intact  as long as you dont go over the same section to many times ,closeing on the way in or the way out can also be a key factor  if you close on the way out you will be gentler and retain more shape
I also think the elevation is more important than the section angle, but often I'll just take 3diagonals on each side of the head to refine a shape, cover a lot of area that way.


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