Learn about Life in the 1920s

Scissors Cutting of Hair to create Bobbed Hairstyles

Not until short hair for women became the vogue was it necessary for a hairdresser to be a hair cutter, or a hair cutter to be a hairdresser. At the present time, hair styles are so varied and change so rapidly that it is necessary for every hairdresser to be or become an artistic hair cutter, in order to keep up with today's and tomorrow's hair fashions.

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NOTE: The following text is taken from one of our books on 1920s hairstyles. While you can read the complete text of this book online, most of the illustrations are missing. However it gives you an opportunity to assess the content and if you're interested you can buy a digital download version of the Book complete with 119 illustrations and photos - Click here to buy "1920's-30's Haircutting and Styling"

In the following articles you will find the correct procedures of cutting, thinning, tapering and shingling the hair.

The next series illustrates the cutting of long hair to one of the simplest short hairdresses. Virtually every step is shown and explained as clearly as possible in order to make it simple and understandable to the beginner. Yet the experienced hairdresser will, I am sure, find much here of value and interest to improve his or her technique.

In the second chapter you will find all the information for holding and using every implement necessary for hair cutting.

• Fig. 8

Long hair, ready to be cut. Before hair can be properly cut, be sure to free the hair from all tangles, by combing and brushing.

• Fig. 9

Here the hair is parted in the center, from the forehead to the nape of the neck. Take all of the hair on one side of the part in the left hand and cut the strand off to about shoulder length, so that it does not interfere with the thinning and tapering.

Do the same with the other side.

Side view of Figure 10, showing combs placed in the hair to hold this section out of the way.

• Fig. 10

Part across the crown from ear to ear. Part at about each temple, to the crown. Take remaining top hair and pin on top of the head, out of the way. Then hold the side parts with combs, so they do not interfere with the cutting of the back part of the hair.

• Fig. 11

• Fig. 12

Shows the holding of a section or strand of hair about a half inch wide. Some hairdressers hold the strand of hair between the index and middle fingers, which is not advisable because the hair slips through the fingers easily and it is difficult to determine the thickness or thinness of the strand of hair.

The hair should be held between the thumb and index fingers, as there is more strength in these fingers to prevent the hair from slipping through. Also the sense of touch is more developed in the tips or cushions of these two fingers than in the others.

Take hold of a strand of hair about three or four inches away from the scalp and begin with the scissors wide open and slide along the hair toward the end of the hair until you lose that strand.

The length of the stroke depends on the thickness or thinness of the hair. For instance, if the strand is thick, the stroke is shorter; if the strand of hair is thin, the stroke is longer.

Proceed in the same manner with the remaining sections until you reach the part.

After the top layer has been thinned, part off and take care of layer B. Always have a side comb ready to hold the hair, which has already been thinned, out of the way.

This sketch shows sections of the hair parted for thinning the various layers.

When cutting the hair, the comb should be held in the palm of the left hand (as illustrated). This is more convenient and saves time which would otherwise be spent in laying the comb down and picking it up again and again.

• Fig. 13

Showing thinning of layer D, section 1. Proceed in the same manner up to layer F.

• Fig. 14

Here you make the foundation for the back. After finishing the thinning, take down the layers that are thinned and cut straight off a trifle below the ears.

• Fig. 15

Side view of finished back. Remove side comb and take the hair down from the top. Proceed to part the hair in the center as shown in Figure 16

• Fig. 16

Hold the complete section of side hair in the left hand and cut about an inch and a half or two inches below the length of the finished back hair. Part off an outside thin layer as indicated. This outside layer of hair should never be thinned.

• Fig. 17

Showing layers and sections of sides to be thinned. Take the top layer off, next to the part, and hold in place with side combs, as this outside layer must not be thinned. Then take section 1 of layer B and start thinning, the same as explained under Figure 12.

• Fig. 18

Here we have layer "C"; again beginning at section 1, thereby taking care of each section to section 5.

• Fig. 19

Thinning of layer D, beginning at section 1, up to section 5. This is the last layer to be thinned, otherwise the ear would show through. Never thin the hair too much over the ear, if the hair is worn covering the ear or with a back slant over the ear. Make sure there is enough hair left to cover the ear.

• Fig. 20

After layers B, C, D, and E have been taken down and combed smoothly, cut them even with layer E, thus giving the hair the same length all around. Follow the same procedure for the other side of the head.

• Fig. 21

Shows finished hair cut on the order of a Dutch Bob, without the bangs, for hair to be worn straight.

You may dampen the hair a trifle, then take the fine part of the comb and curve the hair around the face.

• Fig. 22

Hair tapered off on the sides, but left a trifle longer if the hair is to be worn finger waved or marcelled.

• Fig. 23

Here we have the same Dutch Bob with bangs added. This has been so well-known as the "Colleen Moore Bob".

• Fig. 24

Illustrating how curly hair is cut over the fingers. This is usually done after the hair cut is completely finished and this method is advisable when the hair is naturally wavy or the ends are very dry and brittle.

The hair is taken in sections over the entire head, combed straight from the scalp, held between the index and middle fingers and just the very tips of the hair are cut off.

Another method . . . when the hair is naturally wavy, dampen the entire head of hair then comb down perfectly straight, close to the contour of the head. Cut off the longest hair and repeat until there is no long hair visible.

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