As stylists, if we’re not careful, we tend to fall into patterns behind the chair. We get client after client who wants long layers, but then we get someone with a different texture popping. So when we go in with our long layered cut, it can look really … different.

We can quickly remove too much bulk or too much length without even thinking about whether we need to.

All this really clicked for me after a little trial and error, to be honest. I was trying to cut certain shapes and I wasn’t learning from my mistakes.

When I started to get more advanced education is when it all came together: the five elements a stylist needs to create a great haircut for every client.



Finalist images for the 2024 Contessa Awards.
Finalist images for the 2024 Contessa Awards.  (Robin LaChance)

The leading pro tip I always preach from the sky is to think about the shape you want to create before you start cutting hair. It’s essential that we choose the right shape.

Haircuts are really patterns that give you a shape. It’s the same as building a house; contractors have blueprints, and we have patterns.

So when we’re choosing a pattern to cut, we need to think about what we want to create on the person. Do we need to remove length? Do we need to remove weight?

If you’re doing a curly cut, you need to pick a round shape. If you’re doing an angled bob, you’ll need a more triangular shape. If I’m cutting curly hair and I cut traditional layers, I’ve made a rectangle. I can prune it out all day long, but it’ll always be a rectangle.

We have to remember that as stylists we can see people in three dimensions, but when you’re the guest in a salon you only see yourself in two. I can see how the hair moves in different positions, but the client is only seeing that one shape, one silhouette in the mirror. This is why it’s so important that you as the stylist be the final authority on the shape.




We decide the pattern during the consultation. Facing our guests one on one — not standing behind them and looking at them in the mirror.

While listening to and connecting with clients, we can analyze their face shape and think where we want the heavy weight lines to sit.

I always find out what they want to achieve with their hair. I’ll start with, tell me what you like about it.

And then I ask questions about their lifestyle: how much time do you spend on your hair? do you like to blow dry it? do you like to use your natural texture? how much maintenance are you willing to spend? And I go through the list.

These questions round out the consultation so we can really tailor a haircut for that person.



It’s important to be super familiar with different types of hair texture. Certain textures will lay down and others will defy gravity. So if I choose the wrong shape, I have reinforced that shape living off the head.

I really interact with curls. I let them move, let them breathe. I have people shake their heads a lot so I can see where they fall.

In Canada there have been some major gaps in the education system around texture. So, if you’re not learning it or didn’t learn how to cut textured hair, you need to take the responsibility to find that information.

YouTube and Instagram are great sources for learning. You can search for the cuts and shapes and styles you’re looking for.

If you’re not super comfortable with creating a style, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, ‘I’m not the right fit for you, but let me help you find somebody else’ — instead of just winging it.



Tinted Love Hair Studio's 2023 Team Collection
2023 Team Collection for Tinted Love Hair Studio. (Robin LaChance)

Besides face shape, I call it head mapping: when we’re analyzing how somebody’s skull is shaped. Head mapping is extremely important.

There are different head points. We have a high point, recession areas, a parietal ridge. If I pay attention to the way gravity will pull the hair, I can manipulate it so it can live and breathe how it wants to fall. If I crack an egg on top of the head, how will gravity pull down that egg?

Pay attention to where those growth feeds and pushes are happening.  We’re looking at recession areas — do we protect hair lines? do we cut into them? These are all tiny manipulations that are super important in the end game.

Thinking of the hair as an outward shape, a silhouette beyond the face, you can really personalize and tailor the cut. Once you have the proper shape and pattern, you build your structural foundation and then you can go in and detail and customize it.

Then the hair will fall into place where it naturally wants to live.



One absolute essential for a great haircut is to think about our body position while we’re working.

We want to make sure our hips and shoulders are square to the section we’re working on. We can do a lunge or a squat when we move down so we can stay aligned, so the tension stays even on the hair and we don’t create a weird manipulation.

This means when we’re working on our left side, we step in with our left foot, and vice versa when working on our right side. When you’re stepping in like that, it prevents you from gliding into another area you shouldn’t be cutting.

This is something too that protects our bodies behind the chair — so we’re not doing more damage and can have more fruitful, long careers. And it improves the quality of our work. People find their bodies feel better and their haircuts turn out better when they align their position with the hair.


Robin LaChance is an award-winning stylist and member of the Schwartzkopf Canadian Artistic Team. She will be teaching “Custom Cutting” and “Creating Editorial Texture” at the International Beauty Show-Las Vegas from June 22-24.