Tips for Cutting & Blending Extension
Once applied, professionally fitted hair extensions will always need some level of cutting and blending. This is to ensure a seamless finish between the client’s natural hair and the extensions. It can be done without removing much length, and the main aim will be to soften the blunt ends of the extensions. We asked our very own experienced extensionist and North founder Charlotte Hickey to answer some of the most common questions stylists ask when cutting and blending hair extensions:
WHAT TOOLS ARE NEEDED?
You will need scissors, comb, razor and texture scissors.
WHERE TO START CUTTING?
I start looking at the length first, checking it is even on both sides from the front. Then I will start to add natural layers to frame the face by using a dragging technique with my scissors. This can also be done with a razor, blending down the length towards the ends. Next, I will move on to adding long layers, this adds softness to the sides and back. If more softness and shape is needed, I will use my texture scissors where necessary. Remember on the first application of hair extensions not to remove too much length! At the next fitting, the extensions will need to be blended again, so removing too much length at this stage will make it more difficult on the next fitting. Also, avoid adding too much texture as the extensions will naturally shed over the next 6-9 months.
DO EXTENSIONS ALWAYS NEED CUTTING OR BLENDING?
Yes, extensions are fitted higher at the sides of the client’s head, and without cutting and blending an unflattering V-shaped cut will be left. Extensions always need some form of blending. This may involve cutting to balance the length, blending around the face to soften, or blending the client’s natural hair before application to remove any harsh lines that may be visible once the extensions are fitted.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP FOR A NATURAL LOOKING FINISH?
Good quality hair extensions will be thick and blunt, which is great, but once fitted to achieve a natural looking finish they need to be softened, especially around the face. The best way to do this is by cutting into the ends using a point cutting technique. Also, choosing a V-shape application method, rather than a horizontal application method will help towards natural looking results.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUTTING NATURAL HAIR AND EXTENSIONS?
Cutting natural hair and extensions can be quite similar depending on the look your client wants to achieve. Producing a stylish blunt cut is possible but extensions will leave a solid thick line if cut bluntly. Point cutting will soften this, while maintaining a blunt style that looks natural. Avoid using a sharp cutting technique if adding layers to a client with extensions, as chunks will be missing when finished. Always use point cutting to add layers.
SHOULD THE EXTENSIONS BE WET WHEN CUTTING?
Extensions are much easier to cut dry for a precise blend. Cutting extensions wet will leave uneven results.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE ON REMOVING THE HEAVINESS?
To remove the heaviness of extensions I would recommend point cutting all the length and softening around the face. Use texture scissors where necessary to remove the bulk.
HOW TO HANDLE CLIENT’S UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS?
A thorough consultation is always key to handling unrealistic expectations. Social media has had a huge impact on what my clients ask for. If a client shows a desired hairstyle from social media, I try to imagine what the style looks like from all angles. Ask the client what they like about the style and any aspects they want to avoid. Then compare the style to your client’s head of hair. Is the texture, length, colour in any way similar? And is it possible to achieve the result they want? If so, explain the process and time. It could take more than one appointment. Use your background knowledge to explain how adding extensions could affect their lifestyle and how they like to wear their hair. Most importantly, never copy an inspirational hairstyle. Always discuss the likes and dislikes and then recreate it for your client.
Cutting and blending well will only look good if application is done correctly. Sectioning correctly is critical. Messy sections lead to incorrect placement. This can impact the entire look, cause damage, make it more difficult to cut and blend, and a struggle to re-fit.