Cutting Techniques With and Without Tension

(Sam Villa)

Cutting hair with and without tension yields different results. “It’s important to understand the role tension plays in various cutting techniques, because it can mean the difference incorporating it into the overall design of the cut and whipping it out throughout the cut to address specific situations,”Jesse Linares, Sam Villa ArTeam Member. Watch below as he demonstrates when and where to use tension. 

Cutting Without Tension

  • Cut without tension when addressing an issue and/or going for a generally looser result.  It’s good for fixing or removing something that isn’t desired. 
  • Elevating ends without tension on the mid strand and working through to the ends allows for a more open loose effect…not an exact result, but good for removing bulk.
  • Channel Cutting is done in natural fall and is great for adding a pop to the top of a short cut or for decreasing density in longer hair.
  • Some shears like the Sam Villa Artist Series 6” Slide Cutting Shear are designed to allow hair to slip as it’s being cut without tension to create a really nice soft edge.

Cutting With Tension

  • Cutting with tension is much more deliberate and usually part of the overall design plan. 
  • Techniques like Slithering and Pinch and Talk use light tension and shears slide down the hair without fully closing to create the same effect as a slide-cutting shear.
  • When using a slide cutting shear with tension, the shear does fully close as it moves through the hair, letting hair release.  Entire cuts can be executed with this technique and can even emulate deep point cutting effects.
  • Working with elevation as part of the design plan will result in a more deliberate design.


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