How-To: Razor-Cut Step Layeringfeaturing Jatai
Remember Patti Smith, Mick Jagger and Stevie Nicks’ ‘70s rocker shags? Heavy bangs, lots of layers, very short on top, but still narrow and vertical? We wanted to know how to recreate this iconic cut, so we invited Jatai Academy Director of Content Russell Mayes to host an Instagram live on @MarloBeautySupply.
During the live, Russell broke down razor-cut step layering - the technique that gives these cuts the height and shortness on top without compromising length. He also shared his secrets to the perfect blend, how to avoid “lumpy” layers and answered your best razor FAQs. Keep scrolling for all the answers!
Razor Cut Step-By-Step: Establishing the Perimeter
1. Find the natural or center part and section straight back to the center of the nape.
2. Create a horizontal section in the nape area, and clip everything else away.
3. Starting in the middle, create a section that is the width of where the comb lays flat against the head. You don’t want to cut across any curves of the head, changing the angle of your cut line.
4. Using short strokes, very gently move your Jatai 7.25" Feather Styling Razor up and down to cut straight across.
Tip: tilt the head forward at a slight angle, then comb straight down toward the floor, which will make the sides shorter than the center for a slightly beveled shape.
5. For the next section, create a horizontal parting from the top of each ear. Again, comb straight down, and use your razor to cut straight across.
Tip: you want the blade of the razor to lay flat against the section, which keeps the line solid but the texture soft.
6. Release the remaining hair, comb it all down so it’s evenly distributed, and follow your guide underneath to finish the shape.
Step-By-Step: Fringe Area
1. Section at the center of the recession and right where the head starts to curve forward. Adjust slightly based on your client’s head shape, then section into smaller, more manageable sections.
2. When you first start, leave the hair a little longer than you want - aim for the bottom eyelid - knowing it will spring up a little bit.
Tip: The further down you hold the section, and the shorter your razor stroke is, the more weight you’ll introduce.
3. Continue combing each section to its natural fall, aiming for the same spot. Try to fight the urge to make it longer toward the edges by combing it straight down as opposed to pulling it forward.
Step-By-Step: Face Framing
1. Next, section from the high point of the head straight down to just a little behind the ear.
Tip: Make sure the hair has an even amount of wetness to it. The razor will cut inconsistently on different wetness levels.
2. Pull sections straight forward, with your fingers parallel to your parting, and cut straight up and down. Continue section by section, removing weight where necessary.
Step-By-Step: The Back (Step Layering)
1. Start in the center of the head and take a triangular section in the crown. Hold straight up and down and cut “uncomfortably short.” Don’t worry about how to connect this to the long layers - we’ll get there!
2. Add 1/2 - 3/4 inch and comb straight up into the previous section, then cut one finger length past your guide.
3. Remove the first section, then repeat step 2 until you run out of hair. Then repeat on the other side of the head.
Tip: To avoid “lumpy layers,” make sure to hold at maximum elevation and don’t cut too much longer than the previously-cut guide.
If you feel like there’s too much weight in certain places, you can use the “filet” technique (laying your razor flat against the hair). This helps you remove the weight without changing the shape.
Razor Cutting FAQs
Have a razor-cutting question? Russell answers some of the most common questions below.
Q: How often should I change my razor blade?
A: Whenever it starts to push the hair or you feel any resistance.
Q: What’s the ideal texture for a razor cut?
A: A lot of hair! This gives it natural fullness and you can really go to town with the razor.
Q: How do you prep hair for a razor cut?
A: Make sure the hair is completely wet (but not sopping). I use Jatai Blade Glide, which is a leave-in conditioning cutting lotion. Also, I always make sure I have a sharp blade!
Q: Any tips on cutting upward when you elevate the hair?
A: Hold the hair palm down with your elbow up and out of the way. Then when you take your razor, turn your hand over so both your elbows are up and out of the way.
Q: How often do you recommend maintenance cuts?
A: I would wait as long as your clients can stand. When you get a good haircut, keep it as long as you can. It’s also hard to razor cut when you’re not taking a lot of length off.
Watch Russell’s Full Process!