Combs

5 Key Tips for Mastering the Comb

by kieran / last updated March 29, 2021

comb tips

The comb is notorious for being one of the most underrated tools in a hairdresser’s arsenal, so, by following these incredibly simple tips on mastering this overlooked bit of kit, you can really enhance your salon’s offerings with minimal effort.

“If there is any tool that gets us in trouble when cutting, it’s the comb and not using it enough” says Sam Villa, co-founder and chief creative officer of Sam Villa and global artistic ambassador for Redken. Every comb is designed with a specific purpose in mind and, when utilized properly, can aid in a hairdresser elevating their skillset from good to outstanding. Here’s 5 simple steps from Sam on mastering the comb.

Adjust where you are standing when using the comb

Combs can affect the ergonomics of the body. No matter where a comb starts, when pulled towards the body it defaults to the center of the chest. Ever notice why right-handed stylists tend to cut the right side of the head longer than the left and vice versa for southpaws? It’s because they favor one side and are off-center. “Where you stand affects the action of the comb which in turn affects the cutting line,” explains Villa.

Work on perfecting ‘the comb flip’

Master the comb flip and the increased dexterity adds control and saves time from putting tools down or switching from hand to hand. Practice enough to work equally efficient with both hands and anything is possible. You can learn more about the comb flip here.

Know which side of the comb to use when

Understand when to use each side of the comb or it will create inconsistencies in cutting. Fine teeth clean sections for cutting and provide high tension, whereas wide teeth allow hair to move through with less effort, which is ideal for cutting curly hair and creating looser texture. Wide teeth are also ideal for cutting one length bobs to create consistent tension and ensure even one-length hair.

Coordinate comb colour with hair type

Think of the comb as a guide to read the angle, elevation and cutting line. Use a black comb on lighter hair and a white on darker levels – the contrasting colours clearly define the cutting line and angle. 

Take note of the comb’s length

Consider the length of the spine – shorter combs are best on shorter hair because they get up close to the scalp for tapering around the ears and the neckline. Longer combs are designed for longer hair because they can handle larger sections. Line up the spine of a comb correctly and cutting will be spot on.

Sam Villa offers multiple ranges of combs, including the Signature series, which comes in Short, Long, Wide and Tail variations, and the Artist Series, which comes in Detail and Handle variations. You can learn more about each series here.

You can access free live weekly education from the Sam Villa team here.

Check out Sam Villa’s guide to tackling aches and joint pains common in hairdressers here.

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