Donald Scott Explains How a Tool Can be the Key to Creativity

The Razor’s Edge

Donald Scott understands how you feel. “A lot of stylists are petrified of using a razor,” he says. “I used to be one of those people.”

The stylist, platform artist, educator and founder of Donald Scott NYC had his razor epiphany while working for Paul Mitchell. Frustrated with the limitations of shears and uncomfortable with the feel of a straight razor, Scott had the idea of gluing a razor to the end of his comb. “I’d cut with the razor/comb in one hand and scissors in the other,” he says. “The scissors I used for blunt cutting. But I found myself spontaneously flipping the comb around when I wanted a softer shape.”

Just the act of working with the razor in hand and at the ready—rather than stopping to put down his comb—freed up his hands and his mind. Scott says he found his work becoming more fluid and more intuitive.

He developed a method he calls free-form precision, which he now teaches at salons and via tutorial videos on the Donald Scott website. “It’s a misunderstood technique,” he says, explaining that most stylists don’t think razor cutting can be used for precise, technical cuts like a geometric bob. One technique is called exclusive point-cutting. Holding the end of the hair flat, the stylist flicks the razor back and forth over the ends, creating the shattered line of a point-cut edge. A razor with a 25 or 50 percent carve is the perfect tool for blending in color, he says, as well as blending hair extensions or detailing wigs.

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Scott says students and new stylists tend to be the most receptive to his techniques. “They’re freer and more apt to try something new than some seasoned stylists,” he explains.

As with any tool, choosing the right razor depends on finding something that supports the kind of work the stylist is doing. “It’s one part of a stylist’s repertoire,” says Scott. “Another paint brush to add to their tool kit.”