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Last updated: January 20, 2022

6 Tips For Dry Cutting & Styling Lived-In Layers

Learn How To Maintain Density & Style Long Layers!

RUSK® Haircare Global Creative Director Matt Swinney (@matt.swinney) showed us how to cut long layers with lived-in texture using his six-figure haircut—a textured cut with an easy grow out that’s guaranteed to grow your business! Grab his dry cutting tips for creating a strong perimeter and face frame below, plus styling tips to achieve the lived-in look your clients love.


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1. Prep The Hair With A Blow-Dry

Before you start cutting, wash and blow-dry the hair for a clean canvas. You don’t need to do a full blowout service, simply smooth the hair with a round brush. Body and volume can be added later once the haircut is complete.


Static can occur—especially in winter—because the hair lacks moisture. Before blowdrying, use a moisturizing product like RUSK® Puremix Native Fig Replenishing 3-In-1 Leave-In to hydrate and eliminate frizz. Matt likes to pair it with RUSK® Plumping Mousse for added frizz-control. 


2. Here’s Why You Should Dry Cut

Matt prefers to dry cut because it allows you (and the client) to see exactly how much hair you’re taking off, especially when you’re dealing with long-haired clients. Cutting the hair wet can be deceiving and you can easily cut off more than you mean to. 


3. Set The Perimeter

Once the hair is prepped, it’s time to start cutting! Matt likes to start in the back to establish the cut’s perimeter. Do this by creating a part from the occipital bone to the nape, then point cut a line using a wide-tooth comb to hold the hair with zero tension, elevation and over direction to maintain density.


Check Out The Before & After!

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4. Cut Parallel To The Hair For A Softer Line

The way you hold the shears determines how hard or soft the lines will be, Matt explains. For example, he holds his ARC™ Scissors Paragon II scissors parallel to the hair to create a soft line. If he cut across the hair, he would create a harsh line. The softer the line, the less texturizing you’ll have to do to blend it out.


5. Cutting The Face Frame

Wondering how to get soft, curtain bangs at the face frame? Do this!


  • First, create a small triangle at the hairline about 1-inch wide and ¾-inches deep.


  • Elevate the section and point cut vertically an inch into the hair for softness.


  • Carve out another section and cut at zero elevation to maintain density and create a rounded shape along the face.


  • If the client’s hair is thick, start off with a 1-inch wide and a ½-inch deep section. For fine hair, go in 1-inch wide and deep.


Pro Tip: Stop sectioning for the face frame at or in front of the ear. If the hair is thick, stop on top of the ear. Hair with medium to light density should stop in front of the ear if there’s enough density to work with.


6. Creating Lived-In Waves

The key to delivering perfect lived-in layers is to finish strong! Here’s how Matt does it:


  • First, create lived-in texture using a curling iron. Simply wrap the hair around the barrel for a slight bend, then release completely.


  • Go back in to smooth the ends for a modern look.


  • Once the hair is completely curled, have the client flip their hair upside down and apply RUSK® W8less Hairspray for hold. 


  • Finish the look off with RUSK® Deepshine Lustre at the bottom of the hair for separation and shine.

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