Texturisation adds depth and style to a haircut. It is through the use of texturisation that hair can be given a choppy layered look, a shaggy appearance, or pointed tips. It is also used to add volume, lift, and the illusion of thickness to thin limp hair that would otherwise sit flat and boring.
Razors tend to add texturisation fairly easily without added effort, but it is a more general texturisation that lacks the control and design that scissors can achieve. For this reason, scissors are primarily used even for a razored haircut to add a finishing touch to the style and pull it all together into a seamless masterpiece. There are a couple of typical techniques used to do this with scissors, and each of the different techniques leads to a certain result.
Point cutting, as the name suggests, involves taking sections of hair, combing them out flat, and cutting vertically into the section with the tip of the scissors. This technique removes tiny chunks of hair in a way that gives the ends a sharper angled look rather than being dull and hard against each other. It is the primary method for achieving styles that look wispy and feathered, and adds more movement to a haircut.
Taking a sharper more vertical angle with the scissors gives a softer result, softening hard lines in the hair style. A larger angle is used to create pointed layers for styles that look choppy and dramatic. Both soft and hard angles can be used for the same haircut to create significant depth of style.
Slithering is a technique where sections of hair are lifted away from the head and the scissors are gently slid across the hair, removing slithers of hair each time. This takes bulk away from thick hair and thins it out to make it more manageable. The technique is most appropriately used on thick hair, but shouldn’t be used on hair that is fine or coarse as it can either remove too much volume or lead to frizzing respectively.
Whilst slithering is primarily a thinning technique, it can also be used to add lift and volume to the hair. When slithering is performed closer to the hair roots, it creates small strands that are able to lift and support a voluminous structure. Slithering further from the roots removes bulk only, and a mixture of the two is often used. Razors tend to slither the hair automatically, which is why they add more texture without any additional texturisation technique.
Twist cutting is another way to remove bulk from the hair. Sections of hair are simply twisted into a tight coil and the scissor tips are gently used to slice out strands of hair. This results in a fairly even thinning of the hair like that of thinning shears, and is more useful to thin the hair than to add texture.
Weaving involves taking sections of hair and weaving them with the tail of a tail-comb as if you were performing highlights. The weaved section is cut, leaving the rest of the hair alone. This technique has the same general effect as slithering, but gives a result that is even, and more controlled and selective compared to the randomness of slithering.
Chipping hair adds volume and removes bulk. It is performed by chipping at the hair with scissors to shorten thin strands of hair more than the rest. Like slithering and weaving, the closeness to the scalp controls whether there is a volumising and lifting effect or a thinning effect.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of texturising techniques, and there are many more. Many hairdressers even invent their own techniques as they become more experienced and figure out what works best for them. It is often best to use a combination of techniques rather than any one technique alone, and the choice of techniques you use should be based on your hair type, and the effect you wish to achieve.