Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How-To : Cut a Wig

Today's tutorial is about one of the most basic skill in wig styling: cutting your wig. This can be tricky business, and a nice cut requires patience and a little bit of know-how.

Today I'll be going over the three techniques that require one of the most basic of tools: a sharp pair of scissors.

These are all you really need.
Also required is a comb: cutting hair is messy business! You wig will need to be combed constantly during this process. A wide-toothed comb with a sturdy handle is the easiest to use when dealing with tangly wig fiber.

The scissors I have found everywhere, from beauty supply stores, big box stores, craft stores and dollar stores. Little scissors with sharp points are the ones to look for, with a blade of 2-4 inches.


A small part of my collection.
Also handy are:

An assortment of clips to hold wig hair out of the way of you working section.

And a trash receptacle! It is far, far, far easier to get the hair off the floor is you throw most of it in the trash first. Medium to large paper bags are my favorite: get them free, fill 'em up and pitch the whole thing in the trash.

To demonstrate, I'm am using a lovely set of no-sew wefts (from Katie Bair's fabulous tutorial section) pinned to a poster board for visualization.


The first thing you need to know is what NOT to do to your wig.Perhaps your first instinct upon facing your wig is to simply start cutting it.
This rarely ends well. Observe the bottom ends of this weft:

Choppy and uneven, and difficult to get an even line. Gross! Not what you want on your precious new wig. (This weft got this way when I cut it in half. Don't go all out it you just need length, but you can tidy the ends with the following technique.)

The simple technique I learned in wig panel years ago from Katie Bair, and I've used it on wig hair and my own hair ever since. It's called the "Scoop".

Step 1: Take a small bit of hair and hold it so that it has a little bit of tension. The tension is required in most techniques to make a clean cut, form wig craft to ribbons to paper.
Step 2: Take you scissors to where you want your cut. Hold your fingers just below as a guide, and to hold onto the cut fiber.

Step 3: Begin your scooping!

By scoop I mean the motion that you'll be making with the scissors as you cut. In exaggeration:

A.) Point your scissors downward as you being to cut.
 B.) Move your scissors up as you cut, bringing them horizontal.
C.) And point them upwards as you finish cutting.

In essence, making a "scooping" motion as you cut. By cutting a fraction of the fiber in this scooping motion, you get a lovely layered line instead of an uneven blunt cut. With each cut, make a "U" shape with your scissors, and cutting only as much hair as could fit into this "U" here on the screen.

 Step 4:  Keep cutting small scoops until you are out of hair in your fingers.

 Step 5: COMB. Your fibers will have gone up and down and every which way as you cut. comb it out before it becomes a snarl, and comb it out so you can gauge where you need to start cutting the next piece of fiber.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1-5 as necessary.

In the end, you have this:
A nice, simple cut that only needs to have some stray hairs snipped off. It can be angled up or down for different effects.

But, I promised you three techniques, so here's one I pick up by watching my hairdresser in the mirror. I have decided to call it the "V" cut. I mostly use it to add layers to a wig, or to shape the fiber before I style it into a spike, I also use a variation called the "Sideways V" to add face-framing layers to the front of a wig.

Step 1: Same as before. I usually grab a bit more hair, pulling it straight and away from the wig, and hold it in a triangle between my forefingers and thumb.

Step 2: I hold the scissors in an upside-down "V" at the top of where I want the layers to start.

Step 3: I begin cutting a small fraction of hair, moving my scissors down the length of the fiber. Because none of the pictures turned out this is difficult to show, I'll use the sideways cut as an example.

Snip once
Snip twice
Keep going!

Viola! Easy layers! The results should look like a series of stair-steps up the length of the fiber. Not as nice as carefully deliberate layers, but a good technique to use.

Here, see for yourself:

Sideways cut on the left, layered cut on the right.

The last technique I call the "Feather" because that's the result you get: wispy feathered ends. Whaat you need to do is:

Step 1: Start with a nice "scoop" cut edge.

Step 2: Point your scissors up into the fiber.

Step 3: Cut. repeat in a random pattern until you achieve your desired effect.

That's it! Pretty simple huh?

My desired effect turned out like this:

And now you you know to never again do this to a wig:

Or you'll end up with this:

 Here, compare that cut to the rest of the ones I've demonstrated.

Alright, that's all to see here. Go forth and practice! Just remember its easier to take away wig hair than it is to put it back, so start gently okay?

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