2023, 2022 & 2021 Reader’s Choice Awardee in Best Shears Beauty Launchpad Magazine. Read more
Earl Sagewolf
Hattori Hanzo Shears


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With the ever changing trends in the haircutting world, you can always count on precision haircuts to be a stationary need. Precise structured haircuts became popular in the Vidal Sassoon era, and was expanded upon by Paul Mitchell. Throughout every decade, the precision haircut always reigns supreme. With the proper shears and other tools, proper technique, education, and a good clear mind – precision haircutting can be effortless. However, most hairstylists and barbers know that one of the most difficult things we can do is to create a perfect blunt line. The idea behind precision haircutting was to benefit everyone. By paying attention to all the details, any hair texture can be tamed and styled with ease with these styles of haircuts.

Creating a precision haircut takes practice, time, dedication, and inspiration. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Platform Artist and Creative Director Earl Sagewolf to ask him for tips and suggestions when it comes to creating the perfect geometric precision haircut. Earl Sagewolf is currently in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been a platform educator for 9 years and behind the chair for 16 years. He works at Bauhaus salon in SLC. He educates for Cloak and Dagger, Hattori Hanzo Shears, and is the Director of the Barbering Program at Taylor Andrews Academy. He is a master hair cutter with shared love for all styles of haircutting.

INSTAGRAM: @Earl_At_Work

What does it take to be able to create a precision/geometric haircut?

“I think an inspiration, a clear consultation where you’re pretty much in your guests head, and just knowing what the end result is. You should know exactly where you want to go for each corner and with each cut.”

How do you stay calm and organized when you’re cutting precision haircuts?

“The best way I work and get the best results, is to just stay present with each moment. Stay present with each section to subsection. Always make sure to cut on the backstroke and keep consistency throughout the entire haircut. I don’t have time to get nervous or psych myself out if I just stay present in each cut so that I can make sure I’m being consistent.”

How do you determine the best geometric and precision shape for a guest’s head?

“If a client brings in a photograph, I try to take the picture and customize the “idea” for them so that it works on their head shape. Bone structure is very important with these haircuts. Let’s say that someone’s idea won’t look great on their head, you must take their idea, and find a way to make it work. By customizing the cut shape to their head shape, you can create an end result that will be effortless with their hair type and head shape, and what they want. There’s a fine line on how you educate them if a certain haircut won’t work on their head shape, so that they can have the best experience and haircut that they desire. They should feel safe and comfortable with what the end result is going to be for them, and we need to tell them what will work versus what won’t work during the consultation.”

What are some tips that you can give to help someone who might struggle with precision haircuts or are just starting out in this? What’s your best advice as an educator?

“There are so many things that just popped into my head. One of the main things is having the right tools. Right from the very beginning. Even small things like having the chair pumped up and right directly in front of you. The chair should be right in front of the mirror. These little things, people miss and get discouraged when something doesn’t work out. As an educator, I’m constantly educating on these smaller things. Also, the right combs, clips, product, irons, brushes, blowdryers, liquid tools, all of these are just as vital as the scissor. Using your mirror from different perspectives to help create your shape. Have a clear picture of your end result and end shape. Make sure your elbows are up. Clean sections are huge. We are professional comber and sectioners, because that’s what we do the most of. Even when you’re doing color applications, we are constantly sectioning and combing. Find the best shape for what works for the client’s bone structure. Body positioning, make sure to step into your cut. Elevation is important. Staying consistent throughout the entire haircut with the elevation needed in each subsection.” At the end of all that, the style, the blow dry, the straightening, and the finish is a prime thing that you need to get down to do the refinement part of the haircut. Straightening the hair essentially is you placing the fabric where you need it to be for the precision to be detailed.”

How important is educating your guest on styling their own hair?

“Very important. As I’m cutting, my inner educator comes on and I speak what my hands are doing during the styling portion. I teach them the styling, the sections I’m taking, and how to properly apply the product I’m using. I’m always educating which helps me with take home products and retail sales. They want to buy my flat iron, my brushes, my product, they want to buy everything that I have because they recognize the importance. I’m not selling them, I’m educating them. I’m not selling, I’m telling. If they’re not using what I’m using, they’re not going to see the same end result that I’m giving them. If they’re using a different product than I’m using, it’s like cause and effect, of course they’re not going to see the same end look that I’ve created.”

How does one build a clientele in precision haircuts?

“Try to find one or two models that you can practice on and photograph. Once you put that energy into the universe, your clients and new clients will see and they will come to you. The more of that energy you put out, the larger your clientele list will grow for precision haircuts.”

Any last final thoughts?

The best way to gain education or strength in this subject is to take a class. As I break down my tips in precision cutting, I try to, verbally, make it as simple as possible as well. Having a good, guided education on this subject will help and is probably the quickest way into becoming better at this style of haircutting.”

Earl is available for precision haircutting classes, as well as many other classes that he specializes in. Reach out to andrew@hanzonation.com to schedule a class with him or one of our other educators.

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