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How do You Handle Chaos?

October 14, 2023

How do You Handle Chaos?

It was a good question, and one that many clients have asked in different ways over the years while watching the drama of their hair transformation.

Through the mirror, it may appear to lack method in the waving arms and the madness of swirling hair. But it is highly complex and technical. The difficulty in carving shapes in hair as opposed to wood, stone or garden hedges even, is that the hair doesn’t present itself in a stable form.

Up to 150,000 strands of variable textures and flexibilities behave in what seems like endlessly random ways. Very short barbered hair, or one-length bobbed hair, is cut where the hair finally sits. These are the simplest ways to deal with the chaos in hair and where most of the industry operates - Bobbers or Barbers. Layered hair however, requires a different skill set, because you cannot access the ends of the hair where they fall. It needs a special approach.  

For each unique layered haircut, two templates have to be visualised. Firstly, the optimum aura of the shape as it falls around the face. And then to access those layers for cutting, a second spatial template has to be visualised (in mid-air) that relates to how the hair will naturally fall into that finished look.

The longer the hair, the more amplified the errors in the shape if the coordinates in the spatial geometry are off. It's at this level of hairdressing that the creative eye depends on precise and deep technical dexterity. Further variables involve textures and thickness all around the head which are considered and compensated for to give a balanced effect.

Nobody's face or head is the same both sides so countless adjustments are made to cut each side slightly differently so they appear the same.

Chaos Theory is an entire subject of scientific study and a branch of mathematics that can help explain complex, dynamic systems, that were once considered completely random states of disorder and irregularity.

It tries to explain that within the visible randomness of complex, chaotic systems, there is inherent repetition patterns, self-organization, interconnectedness and constant feedback loops. 

The Butterfly Effect shows how a small change in one state of a non-linear system can result in a large change in a later state. A metaphor being, a butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo can cause a tornado in Texas.

Applications of the mathematics of chaos are diverse, and include the movement of star clusters, aspects of body physiology, plasma physics, pandemics and population dynamics.

I think masters of hair intuitively process chaos theory when cutting complex layered hair.


Michael Van Clarke

 





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