Feathering is a technique for softening and texturizing hair ends, layers and bangs. Hair should only be feathered with scissors specified for this technique. Scissors made of a cobalt alloy work well for feathering because of their durability and their ability to break the hair tension while cutting. Stainless steel medium precision scissors with a semiconvex stepped edge are also acceptable for feathering, because they will cut the hair without catching or causing split ends. Well-maintained shears that have been broken in for about six months will perform this technique better than a new pair. Feathering is a cutting technique for texturizing hair, not to be used for the primary haircut.
Separate a small section of hair. Pull the section tight. Hold the ends of the hair in one hand and the scissors in the other.
Hold your scissors against the hair at an angle between 80 and 90 degrees, open to about two-thirds of the scissors' full capacity. One blade should be on top of the hair section and the other beneath it but not touching it.
Fan the scissor blade across the hair shaft, preparing to cut in a forward direction. You are not snipping with the scissors, but using one of the blades to shave away the hair in varying lengths.
Start feathering up to 5 inches above your fingers along the hair shaft. With short, scraping motions, stroke the scissors along the hair section. The cut hair should fall away as you move closer to your fingers. As you reach the end of the hair, carefully glide the scissors toward your fingers, finishing the ends just as you release the hair section.
Repeat these steps with the next section of hair until all the sections you want to feather are completed. To add more texture to the hair ends, hold the hair section close to the tips between two fingers, and snip at the ends with the scissors held parallel to the hair shaft.
Keep section sizes small for more-precise cutting. Feathering works well on wet or dry hair. Practice this technique on a hair dummy before attempting it on yourself or another person. Feathering should be done after the bulk of the haircut is completed. Cut the hair to the desired length, then do the feathering as a final touch.
Avoid opening the scissors fully while cutting -- this will cause the hair to catch and cut unevenly. A high precision scissor is too sharp for feathering. Using a high-precision scissors may result in catching the skin and hair in the scissors. Working with a scissors that is too sharp will damage the hair and produce split ends. Never use scissors designed for other purposes to cut hair.