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Thinning/cutting Hair With A Razor

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#1
FurtherSeemsForever

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I've been thinning my hair with an ordinary shaving razor for a while now, and it just occurred to me how regularly I see people asking about it, so I thought I would write a quick guide, with hopefully a few helpful tips and bits of info for those considering doing it.

Firstly, before I start, I'd like to make it clear that I am not a professional hairdresser, I am merely an 18 year old boy who has been cutting/thinning/dying/styling his hair for a few years now, and have gathered a pool of information in the process. Because of this, it is possible there are mistakes in this guide, so please, proceed with caution, as it is possible you may mess this up (especially first time, with very little practise).

A few things to note:
I recommend you do this over a sink, bathtub, toilet, or anything else you may have that you can easily use to wash away the hair. Quite a lot will come out, and it's hell to get it all up if it ends up on the floor.

You should have your hair straightened prior to doing this. This will make the process much smoother, and will make it much easier for you to identify any unevenness in the hair whilst thinning.

This can be - and likely will be - damaging to hair. This is because you are essentially 'breaking' hair and opening the cuticle, which will often result in dryness/frizziness in the long run. Because of this, I would recommend you go to a hair stylist to get hair thinned professionally with thinning shears if you can afford to do so. Otherwise, if you choose to follow this guide, ensure you treat your hair well afterwards and shampoo/condition it regularly. I personally use L'oreal Elvive Nutrigloss products, and they have always worked well for me.

I cannot stress the above point enough. So much so, that if you do not either have straight hair or do not straighten it anyway, I would not recommend this process.

With all that in mind, let's get started.

Step 1
Take a strand of hair roughly 1 inch across (no longer than the razor you will be using to cut the hair), and hold it up, away from the rest of your hair with one hand, holding the tip.

With the other hand, take the razor and place it on top of the hair at the base, with your thumb underneath the hair supporting the razor. Do put put the razor directly on the scalp, as it is quite possible you will cut yourself if you get too close. Also make sure you're holding a thick enough bunch of hair that the razor will not be able to cut your thumb from the other side of the hair.

Step 2
Apply a decent amount of pressure to the razor. You do not want to push down hard enough that you are in danger of cutting your thumb underneath the hair, but do remember that too little pressure will result in no hair being removed. If you are new to this and unsure, I recommend first trying with just a little pressure, checking if any hair is removed, and continually re-trying applying slightly more pressure each time until you know how much is needed.
Also keep in mind that most shaving razors bend backwards when pushed on. You will want to make sure the razor is pushed back like this, as very little hair will be removed otherwise.

Step 3
Once you're comfortable with the pressure, pull the razor down the hair, moving your supporting thumb along with it, making sure the razor and your thumb are always in the same place, simply on opposite of the hair.
You will hear the hair 'breaking' as mentioned above. Do not worry, this is normal. Continue moving slowly down the hair until you reach the tip, then check the razor and remove any hair stuck in the blades. Depending on how much came out for you and how thick your hair is, you may have to do each section twice. This is completely up to you and how you think it looks.
Once you hear the initial breakage, it is tempting to lighten the pressure a little as you move down the hair. Try to avoid doing this, you want an even amount from the base to the tip of the hair.

Repeat the process on all your hair. I usually work from the back of my hair and move forward. It takes me around 10 minutes to do my whole head, but I would recommend going slower if you are new to this; better take an extra 10 minutes than live with a horrible cut for the next 3 months!

Step 4
Once you think you're done, re-straighten your hair. Often, thick hair will be wavy underneath, but simply hidden by the mass of hair on top. If this is the case, you may notice some curlier hair being exposed as you thin areas. By straightening your hair again, you can better judge whether it is even, and it will be easier for you to decide if you are happy with the result yet.

If you're a risk taker, by all means attempt to do the back of your hair. If you're going to do it, it's best to have 2 mirrors set up with you sitting between them, allowing you to see the back of your hair in the reflection of the other mirror.

And that's pretty much it. If I think of anything else later on I'll add it, and likewise, any questions you may have do feel free to ask, or point out any errors if you happen to see them (I typed this at 2:30a.m... it's quite possible something went wrong laugh.gif)

Thanks for reading, and I hope it helped some of you a little.
-Rob
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#2
.::Skrillex::.

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The best way to thin out hair is to just get inverted shag layers that are blended easily, it grows back out much faster and does not damage your hair. And if you are going for that choppy look you can get the ends of each layer razor cut about an inch from the tips.
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#3
FurtherSeemsForever

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QUOTE (.::Skrillex::. @ Jan 24 2010, 02:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The best way to thin out hair is to just get inverted shag layers that are blended easily, it grows back out much faster and does not damage your hair. And if you are going for that choppy look you can get the ends of each layer razor cut about an inch from the tips.


It's true that often getting layers cut is the best way, but I wrote this guide for those who don't want to pay the price of having anything expensive done at a hair salon.

Perhaps I'll write a guide for layering hair at home in the future. Thanks for the input smile.gif
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#4
.::Skrillex::.

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If you cut them yourself and you cut inverted layers the mistakes aren't easily visible. Thinning out your hair with a razor often makes your hair look flat and dull whilst layers also help exaggerate volume, and doing it with a razor also causes a lot of damage to your hair that causes a lot longer than 3 months to grow out.
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#5
FurtherSeemsForever

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QUOTE (.::Skrillex::. @ Jan 24 2010, 03:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you cut them yourself and you cut inverted layers the mistakes aren't easily visible. Thinning out your hair with a razor often makes your hair look flat and dull whilst layers also help exaggerate volume, and doing it with a razor also causes a lot of damage to your hair that causes a lot longer than 3 months to grow out.


Write a guide for it then. I never claimed this was the only way, or even that it was the best way. I've clearly stated that this is likely to be damaging in the long run.

That said, I've been doing it for over a year and still get a lot of comments on my hair, so it can't have turned out too bad >.<

Bottom line: As I said, I see a lot of people asking about this. This thread is mainly addressing them. It says how to do it, it also says there are risks involved. That is all it was ever meant to do.
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#6
FarrowSuicide

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Ive done this many a time, and its always helped give my thick hair a better shape. Its never done me any harm because ive never gone crazy with it. Another easy way of thinning hair, which might be a little less risky for us special kids is : take a lock of hair that you want thinning, and hold your scissors above it at an angle, then cut down into it, making little choppy movements with your scissors. Make sure youre using hair dressing scissors if you can get some.
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#7
Amandy

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I did that omg...and yes I split the cuticles on my hair the first time ;o but I redid it and it's actually cute. I just had to remember how the hair dresser did it...at first my layers were all jacked up but since my hairs long I just went back over it, redid the layers, and it looks better =) I like your hair btw =p
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#8
juvenescence

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can i have yall's extra hair tongue.gif ive always had thinner hair since i was a weee lil lad and i wished it was thicker

i went out and bought a hair razor for $6, thats what the guy who cuts my hair uses and i cant afford the $25 he charges me so im gonna try to cut it myself, or at least keep it trimmed down to make it last longer

Edited by Azrael., 28 March 2010 - 01:51 AM.
Please do not double (or more) post.

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#9
LiLiTh_IvY666

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I began cutting my hair for a few years & I also used a razor on it, only I just do it randomly because I like my hair to look messy. laugh.gif My friends say my hair looks skater but cool. laugh.gif

Edited by Azrael., 28 March 2010 - 01:44 AM.
Please type in proper English, also the sizing made it a pain for me to read.

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#10
Amandy

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My word of caution, be careful =p Especially girls! I have really long hair and tried it, but then had to go back in with scissors and I fixed it up good. I went to a hair dresser after and she didn't notice anything she assumed it was just professionally cut last time, but yea to get the choppy look def go to a alternative hair salon, look them up online, regular ones will NEVER really do your hair "emo" or how you want it, they don't understand at all and are scared to do something to radical. Mine turned out alright, but at first it really made a lot of split ends and wasn't cut correctly, looks better now. *definatly make sure it's a sharp razor* ive seen people REALLY fuck it up cutting it with razors, just be careful, dont cut it all at once maybe, do it over two days or so.
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#11
Kellbell

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QUOTE (Amandy @ Apr 7 2010, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Regular ones will NEVER really do your hair "emo" or how you want it, they don't understand at all and are scared to do something to radical.


That is because "emo" isn't an actual hairstyle that a lot of hairdressers may learn considering it is afterall just a hairstyle that is created by either choppy/straight hair with a fringe. Also of course you won't get your hair cut the way you exactly want it.

It annoys me how people always assume that just because their hair gets cut by a hairdresser, their hair is going to be perfect because truly it obviously isn't going to be perfect. Pictures help hairdressers a hell lot more then just some ideas of what the client wants done to the hair. Remember the picture in your head needs to be translated into words and words can be way different to pictures. So it does help if you take a or a couple of pictures with you so the hairdresser can have a better idea of what you want. Though again don't expect your hair to be same as what it might be in the picture.

And also what is with this "are scared to do something radical" business? I'd like to know how you are came up with that.
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