5 Things to Keep in Mind When Precision Cutting

Sam Villa precision cut

In hairdressing, the end result largely depends on the tools you're using. This statement rings especially true when it comes to precision cutting. Because the goal of precision cutting is to create sharp, exact edges that are still elegant, Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa, says, "You have to think much smaller in terms of tools, tension, elevation and sectioning." To achieve the exactness it requires, you have to simplify the process. 

Sam Villa precision cut

hair: Sam Villa | photo: Katie Parker | makeup: Nicole Schimel | Wardrobe: Brittany Hart | Model: Caylee Lamb 


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"Using smaller tools allows you to get closer to the head, and sub-sectioning allows you to incrementally follow the shape of the head for cutting that creates accurate shapes and texture," Carruthers adds. Here, he shares a few things to keep in mind when precision cutting. 


Tension is needed to cut clean lines. The more the tension, the greater your control and the softer the line will be. 

Over Direction

Over direction is needed to control weight and balance from front to back. In more heavily textured haircuts, little bits of variation can go unnoticed, but when keeping things precise, those little variations can create big challenges.


Variation in elevation can make a huge difference, especially when working with strong precise lines. Make sure to adapt elevation based on the natural shape of the head to maintain the desired effect of the cut.


Cutting a one-length perimeter can be one of the most challenging aspects to a precision haircut. Make sure to follow the natural head shape and craft sections to mirror the desired edges. Horizontal sections create a flat perimeter; slightly diagonal sections forward make hair fall towards the face; and slightly diagonal sections back cause hair to fall away from the face.


Precise graduation can be tricky, especially when getting really tight down at the neckline. Use a small comb like the Sam Villa Artist Series Detail Comb and sub-sections to create a precision rounded line. Bring fingers completely flush to the head and then move the tips out while leaving knuckles on the neck for exactness.