In the 20's and 30's every lady who set their hair also had their hair thinned out.
Thinned out hair holds waves and curls better, fluffier and longer, since the individual hairs don't weigh each-other down in a negative way. You can also build volume more easily if desired, because of the same reason.
It also reduces some problems with pincurls for people with extremely long and/or thick hair, for example it reduces drying time and thickness of the curles, so that you don't have to "pile the curls on top of each other" as one of my friends with very thick hair once stated.
The method I will describe is not complicated to do, but it is time-consuming. I recommend that every lady here sporting 20's and 30's hairstyles grab a friend and thinning-out-scissor and start cutting!
This method of thinning out hair is described in a Swedish hairdresser's book from 1947.
It is the first book concerning hairdressing written in Sweden, and that is why it also describes hairdressing of earlier decades.
This is described as the best, most sophisticated way of thinning out hair, although it can be done in a number of ways.
In modern haircuts thinning out hair in this manner never occurs. Our way of dealing with volume and support of either natural or artificial waves and curls are layers. Layered haircuts never occurred in the 20's to 60's as far as I know.
I must admit I don't know when layered haircuts came in to fashion, but I imagine they gained
their true popularity in the 80's and 90's and certainly continue in fashion today.
I would also like to mention that my native language is not English, so I might not use the
correct and certainly not the professional terms, and if someone would like to improve my
description I would be honored!
1) This is an illustration of natural hair-length. Notice how the length of the hairs is slightly different from each other.
2) A hair thinned out with a different method, where the top hair is left longest, and the hair at the bottom is shortest. This method will only make the hair fall closer to the head. It will not help to support curls or waves.
3) Illustration of how evenly thinned out hair supports hair sets.
* IMPORTANT! Use special hairdressing scissors made for thinning out hair! These have teeth on one or on both sides, and thus does not cut each hair between the blades! This method is applied on DRY hair.
4) This is the sub-sections that we work with. Start with the top-triangle, do either right or left side of the large triangle first, and work your way "inwards", so that you keep the
triangle shape. This helps you remember which sections of the hair you have already treated.
According to the book the HEIGHT of the subsection triangles is 3 cm. The sub-sectioned triangles are supposed to be equilateral.
1) Part the hair in the back like a big triangle from the swivel of the hair to the ears.
Fasten the other hair with combs (suggested, since it was a common tool in the 30's, you might as well use modern clips or whatever. Just keep it neat).
2). Pick up the first top sub-triangle-section.
3) Back-comb some of the hair to about half the length to the total hair. Backcombing more hair
will make you cut less hair away. Adjust the amount to the type of hair and amount of hair of
4) Cut the hair (once) with a thinning-out-scissor about 1 cm from the tips of the hairs you are
holding. Hold the scissor with close to vertical tilt. Suggested way of holding scissors is from underneath with the wrist facing upwards.
Then comb the hair out again.
5) Start back-combing the same section but push the hair further down, to about 2/3 of the total
length of hair. Make the second cut in the middle of the length (above the back-combed hair).
Then comb the hair straight again.
6) Back-comb the same section again. This time push the comb as closely to the scalp as possible.
Make the third cut as close to the scalp as possible without cutting through the back-combed
hair. Then comb the hair out again and pick up your next sub-section as described earlier.
7) When the hair in the back of the head is finished, make your main part (it is assumed that the client has a fixed part, since they often adjusted the haircut to the hairdo/hair set, which they wore more or less constantly).
After making the main part (illustrated with the little green dots), section the rest of the hair into triangles. Start at the top, closest to the swivel.
8,9) The hair is cut in the same way with the back-combing in the three steps that were
described earlier, but in the sections closest to the main part and forehead caution must be taken with the third step. Otherwise short stray hairs might poke up in an unflattering way.
Suggested method in the book is that you make the first and second cut in the top-corners of your subsection, and the third cut closest to the head in the bottom angle of the triangle, and not cut through the whole section.
The book does not mention how to handle the "upside down"-triangles. Maybe you can work with the
three flat sides instead of the corners of the triangles. I think the important thing is to not
forget to take caution with the third step. Common sense must be applied!
10) When all sections have been worked over, feel and look through the hair and even out eventual flaws. Make sure the hair is evenly thin in the back as well as the front. Also check the tips of the hair, that the edges are even and pretty. You should be all done after this!
I am not sure that this tutorial/instruction makes complete sense, so any feedback would be much appreciated.
Don't be afraid to ask any sort of questions you might have! I will try to answer them as best I can (together with the rest of the informed people in this community, I'm sure!)
After a few weeks I hope to make a revised version of this tutorial, release it as a PDF on various sites on the internet (such as the fedora lounge, here again, on my personal homepage and any other place you might suggest).
I found this information very hard to find when I first started doing vintage hairdos which is a real pity, since it's so essential to succeeding with these advanced hairdos.
With my modern piracy background I want to keep information free and close at hand to anyone who wants to find it.