Almost all of the DVDs I have on haircutting assume you already know how to part hair, section hair, hold hair and then cut the hair. If you don't know these, the following exercise will help in all of the areas.
The following lists tells how this practice will be described.
1 How to section the side of the head from the top using a horizontal part.
2 How to make a vertical part for the vertical sections.
3 How to pick up the new section and secure it in between the first two fingers of the non-cutting hand.
4 How to check the new section on both sides to see if it is clean before cutting.
5 How to check for the guide by two different methods.
6 How to hold finger and hands to be sure section is where it should be for cutting.
7 How to cross check the cut sections to check on accuracy of the partings and the cuttings.
1 Taking a horizontal part to separate top of head from side.
Make a part about two inches above the model's right ear that is parallel to the floor. It will go from the front hairline to the crown. Clip the hair above this part to the top of the head. The exact location of the horizontal part is not critical for this exercise. We are working on the right side of the models head.
The hair below this horizontal parting will be used for parting off the vertical sections.
2 Parting for the first sections.
The first section will begin at the front hairline and will be about 1/2 inch wide. Go to the horizontal parting described in 1 above and move in about 1/2 inch from the front hairline and make a parting directly down from that point to the hair line below. With the head upright this will give a line that is straight up and down. Comb the hair for the new section to the front of the head and comb the rest of the hair to the back of the head so the part line is clear.
3 Picking up the first section.
Put the index finger of the left hand beside and behind the part line for the vertical part. The finger is pointing up with the pad of the finger facing you and the back of the finger is on the scalp. Comb the hair from the new section onto the index finger of the left hand and grasp the hair of this section between the index finger and the second finger of the left hand.
After the first section has been cut, following sections will be done in a like manner. The part for the next section will have about 1/4 inch of uncut hair and a similar amount of cut hair. Again comb the section forward and put the index finger of the left hand beside and behind the part at the back of the section. Then comb the section from the front of the section over the index finger and grasp the whole section between the index finger and the second finger.
4 Check all borders of the section to see if they are clean.
With the non-cutting hand still near the scalp look to see if the front and back border of the section are clean. They will have straight up and down borders if they are. If there is hair in the section that should not be included, take the comb and redo that section border while still holding the section with light tension. This will clean up the section boundaries and pull the misplaced hair out of the section. If hair has to be added to the section, the section may have to be re-done and then re-gripped.
In the first section only the back border exists to be checked. On subsequent sections there will be a front and back border to check.
5 Find the guide by two different methods.
This only applies to the second and subsequent sections. The guide will have to be cut in the first section according to the desired length.
In the second and following sections while still holding the section in the first two fingers of the non-cutting hand, use the teeth of the comb to slowly comb the section from the fingers toward the end. Watch to see where the guide is as you comb through it. It will be visible as a line of cut hair. It may be easier to see by combing the section back to pull the uncut hair from the guideline. This is the first way to look for the guide.
The second way to find the guide is to comb the hair in the section away from the holding fingers while looking through the uncut hair toward the front of the head. If the section is thin enough the guide will be visible through the uncut hair.
Either method is okay for finding the guide. If neither works, go back and redo the section taking a thinner section and try to locate the guide again. Do not move to the next step until the guide is clearly seen. Don't get impatient.
6 How to hold fingers and hands to be sure section is where it should be for cutting.
Once the guide is seen, slide the holding fingers out the section until the guideline is close to the fingers. Check the section. The hair on the top of the section should be coming straight out from the head at the level of the top horizontal part. The hair at the front and back of the section should also be coming straight out. Fingers should be pointing straight up and down and not be tilted either forward or backward. The top of the section is level with the top horizontal part so it is not sagging or elevated.
For shear cutting open and close the blades a few times to get the feel of them and to be sure the hand is relaxed.
Now place the blade of the shears controlled by the ring finger on the second finger of the holding hand. The point of the shears is pointing down while the holding fingers are pointing up. The blade of the shear should be along the guide. Placing this blade on the second finger will stabilize the blade and the shears for more consistent cutting.
Leave the stable blade on the second finger and move it down the finger while cutting along the guide. If the section is too long to cut in one holding of the section, pick up the next part of the section with the comb before dropping the current part.
Look at the cut and see if you are happy with it. Trim it up to the guide if needed.
7 Cross check the cut sections to check on accuracy of the partings and the cuttings.
Cut enough vertical sections to cover about two inches along the top horizontal part. Now comb these sections all down and beginning at the top take horizontal sections through the cut hair. These should be small about 1/2 inch sections. Pull them out straight from the head with no elevation above the horizontal part and no leaning to either side. Check to see the line at the end of the cut hair in this horizontal section. With this method of cross checking you will be able to see how accurately you parted the vertical sections and how well you kept a consistent guide from one section to the next. If there are no deviations in the straight line, you did a great job. If deviations are all less than a couple of milimeters trim them off. If they are longer than a few milimeters, start over and redo the vertical sections. Don't get discouraged. If you don't feel like re-cutting the vertical move on and keep track of your improvement in the next group of vertical sections.
a.There is no such thing as a section that is too small.
b. You cannot cut along the guide too slowly.
c. Do not hurry any part of this process. If a step is not done to your liking don't move on.
d. Speed comes with practice. Be accurate first.
e. In general holding-fingers and blades of shears should be parallel to the part.
f. Body should be upright and hair should be close to shoulder level for cutting.
g. Keep body relaxed especially the hands for smooth well controlled movements.
h. Modify any of these suggestions for what works best for you.
A method of practicing parting, holding sections, finding the guide and cutting along the guide
will hopefully give you more control over your results.