Learn about Life in the 1920s

Cutting and Thinning Hair for Permanent Waving

The proper cutting and thinning of hair is essential to the success of any permanent wave. When a strand of hair is thinned beforehand, it will take a quicker and better permanent wave. Care must be taken to do the thinning evenly, for if there are too many short hairs among the long ones, the hair is difficult to wrap, with the result that the short hair will be too curly among the long hair and will stand out all over the head.

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We thin and shape hair that is too heavy in order to arrange it more easily and to give the head more graceful lines.

We thin and shape hair also to shorten it in a manner to defy nature and to take away an appearance of stubbiness.

Any hair to be dressed in curls, bangs, etc., is thinned and shaped to the head to preserve the hairdress for a longer time.


A very important factor in thinning the hair is the position of the scissors. (See Figure 31.) The scissors should be half open when you thin a strand of hair. Hold the strand of hair to be thinned in the left hand and place the scissors directly beyond your fingers. (See Figure 12.) Then with a light opening and closing of the scissors, slide it from the end of the hair to the roots. Never work from the roots down to the end when cutting with the scissors.

By opening and closing the scissors and using a movement toward the head, the hair will be thinned out in an uneven length. Repeat the up and down cutting movement until only the longest hair of the strand being thinned out remains in your left hand.

Always use the inside of your scissors and never the point.

Take a small section of hair (as indicated in the sketches) to accomplish more of an even thinning throughout the entire head of hair.

If you want to thin the strand of hair just a little and shorten it a trifle at the same time, back comb the hair (ruffing, as illustrated in Figure 5-A), pushing the short hair among the long hair, towards the head, being sure that not too much of the short hair is combed up. With short Strokes and the up and down gliding movements of the scissors, begin thinning. To thin the hair more, use the gliding movement of the scissors with a longer stroke.

For Croquignole permanent waving, when the hair must be thinned in the back, or wherever a tight curl is desired, thin the hair in the following manner. Take a thin section or strand of hair and hold it perfectly straight away from the head. Use short strokes with your scissors in an upward movement so that only the hair near the scalp is thinned. Comb out, then hold the end of the strand of hair and repeat in a very careful manner.

This is the little secret which aids you in producing beautiful and tight ringlet ends.

Wherever the hair needs no thinning, you may start at the bottom and work up, as explained in shingling and tapering.

• Fig. 7

Left, is a diagram indicating the markings of the layers and sections of hair which are followed throughout the text to make the explanation more readily understandable.

The layers of the hair run horizontally and are marked A, B, C, D, E, and F.

The sections of the hair run vertically and are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

This applies only to scissors hair cutting . . . not to razor hair cutting.

See Index below for next Chapter


How to Create 1920's and 1930's Hairstyles

1. 1920's Hair Styling and Design

- Foreheads

- Cowlicks

- Neck Lines

2. Hairdressing Tools

- Combs

- Razor Comb

- Scissors

- Thinning Scissors

- Clippers

3. Thinning and Tapering

4. Cutting and Thinning the Hair for Permanent Waving

5. Scissors Hair Cutting

6. Shingling

7. Razor Hair Cutting

8. Hair Form and Structure

9. Layer Hair Cutting

10. Alteration Hair Cutting

11. Bangs