Learn about Life in the 1920s

Thinning and Tapering Hair for a Bobbed Hairstyle

Thinning and tapering the hair is still in its infancy, as far as correctness is concerned. I remember the time when hair was thinned by cutting off chunks here and there, over the entire head, so it looked like little islands scattered in a sea of long hair. This was absolute butchery!

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I also recall that when the long hair used to be thinned out, one round piece of hair was cut out and off the head and sometimes even shaved, for economical reasons, so the hair would not grow in so fast. The result was that when the long hair was dressed there was no foundation to which to pin or to anchor the rest of the hair and to keep it from sliding all over the head!

Some hairdressers also part off the hair in large chunks and cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible. The result is that when this begins to grow, the short and stubby hairs force their way through the long ones. You can imagine the effect!

This is really an abuse of another method of thinning hair which is not in very wide use today. But it requires an expert to do this properly. The very finest pair of scissors should be used for this work. The hair should be touched only with the points of the scissors, about an eighth of an inch from the scalp and just a small strand should be cut at a time.

Another error which happens very often is leaving the top hair long. Thus it covers the underneath short hair which may be shingled or cut short. A patron will frequently make the request to leave the hair longer on the top; (you know the phrase, "So it may be waved down to the nape of the neck"). But she does not know that if she would get this kind of hair cut, every move of her head would cause the longer hair to stand away from the head. Such incorrect cutting is the reason why numerous hairpins are needed to hold the outside layer of hair in its place. Patrons often know just what they want, but they do not know how the hair should be cut. That is why you, as an artistic, intelligent hairdresser, should know how to properly advise your customers.

These sketches will give you an idea of the appearance of a strand of hair before and after thinning.

Fig. 6

Figure 6-1 shows a strand of hair cut off perfectly straight, that is, club cut.

To thin the entire length of hair, and at the same time shorten it, one method is what we term "ruffing" the hair (See Figure 5-A), meaning to hold a strand in the left hand, pushing back the shortest ends toward the scalp with the comb. Then holding the remaining long ends in the hand, place your scissors just beyond the fingers which are holding the strand of hair and work with a movement of the scissors toward the scalp up to the "ruffed" hair, never away from it. This will thin and shorten the hair.. (See movement of scissors in Figure 31.)

If you wish to thin the hair out more, again push back the shortest lengths in the strand of hair and then place your scissors in the center of the strand and repeat with the gliding movements toward the "ruffing," using Ions strokes.

Now, here's something to remember ... if you take too much hair at a time, the thinning and tapering will not be satisfactory and will be uneven.

Figure 6-1 shows the unthinned strand of hair. Figure 6-2 illustrates the medium thinned strand and Figure 6-3 shows an extremely thinned and tapered strand of hair. The degree of thinning necessary depends upon the type of hair arrangement and the texture of the hair.

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