This Haircutting Technique Adds Crazy Volume — and Requires No Scissors
If you have fine hair, then you're probably familiar with the challenges that come with trying to get voluminous, cascading strands that effortlessly flow with every step. Sometimes, it may even feel like despite testing every texturizing spray, gel, and pomade you could get your hands on, your hair will undeniably become pin-straight by the end of the day. If you can relate, consider changing up your haircut instead of your products. Yes, I know it sounds a little wacky but hear me out.
The calligraphy haircut, a unique low-maintenance haircutting technique, can give you exactly what you're looking for in terms of volume. So you can skip the rounds of products on wash days.
You might recognize the term "calligraphy" as that intricate, decorative style of handwriting, but a calligraphy haircut is a bit different. Originated in Germany hairstylist Frank Brorman over 20 years ago, a calligraphy haircut is a unique haircutting technique that only recently made its way to the United States about five years ago.
It's known for adding volume throughout the hair on all hair types, but what makes this style of haircutting so interesting is the fact that instead of using scissors, the stylist will use a "calligraphy pen" — a long, metal tool with a thin handle and blade at the end, which cuts the hair at a very specific angle to add more bounce and texture throughout.
I was first introduced to this style when I got my own calligraphy cut by Maureen Doyle, a gold-certified calligraphy artist at Beauty x Mark Salon in Bellmore, New York, and I wanted to know more about the technique. To learn more, I talked with a few hairstylists to find out the benefits of a calligraphy cut and the best ways to style your hair after the fact.
What Is a Calligraphy Haircut?
"A calligraphy haircut is a newer form of haircutting which utilizes a specialized cutting pen that uniquely cuts hair at a 21-degree angle," says Nick Stenson, celebrity hairstylist, and Matrix brand ambassador. "The haircut is designed to add volume and fullness to fine and limp hair," he says.
Jamie Wiley, a celebrity stylist and global artistic director at Pureology, says that cutting the hair at this specific angle helps cut diagonally across the end of each hair strand. "[This technique] maximizes the surface area of the hair and allows each hair strand to absorb the most amount of moisture from products, which helps the health of the hair," she explains. When getting this haircut, Wiley says that you'll notice the stylist doing pulsing strokes in an up and down motion, almost as though they're writing — hence the name.
Due to the specific style of cutting, hairstylists have to be trained by taking workshops from those who are already well-versed in the technique. When I got my haircut, Doyle explained that there are three different certifications one can get to complete this type of haircut. The levels are black, silver, and gold. And if the hairstylist received the highest certificate, this means they've completed over 100 calligraphy haircuts.
What Are the Benefits Of a Calligraphy Cut?
One of the biggest payoffs of getting this haircut is the added volume, texture, fullness, and movement it gives your hair no matter your length. Wiley explains that getting your hair cut with the blade leaves the ends of your hair more tapered and softer than with a pair of scissors, which results in a lighter finish that falls effortlessly. "It can also create up to 300% more volume in the hair," she says.
Another benefit is the customization and versatility of a calligraphy haircut. When cutting the hair with a blade, Stenson says it cleanly cuts each hair strand. "This customized and gentle approach allows for hair to live in a much more voluminous and lifted state," he says. "Additionally, this cut is said to last several weeks longer than other haircuts due to its unique customization."
Who's a Good Candidate For a Calligraphy Cut?
While those with fine hair may especially love the idea of a calligraphy haircut, anyone can reap the benefits. "Adding fullness and bounce can add excitement to straight, wavy, and curly hair," says Stenson. No matter your hair texture, type, or length, if you're someone who wants more volume, movement, and a low-maintenance haircut, then you might be pleasantly surprised.
That said, because this kind of haircut is still growing in popularity here in the United States, it may be a little difficult to locate a stylist that's well versed in the technique.
"My suggestion would be to start your search on social media by searching the hashtag #calligraphyhaircut (or #calligraphycut) and find a stylist in your area," recommends Stenson.
You can also ask your current salon if they have any trained artists on staff or have any recommendations. But trust me, the search is worth it.