The Basics:
The Bend Test for Cowlicks & Unruly Hair

Many times while giving a haircut, you may have questions similar to these. "How much length can I remove without causing the hair to stick out? Can I cut the bangs short enough to stay out of the eyes but still have enough to style away from the face? How short does the hair have to be to spike? How do you control cowlicks?"

The answers to these and similar questions can be determined by this simple test of the hair's natural bend. Grasp a strand of hair from the area in question at a point about two inches from the scalp. Push the hair strand toward the scalp and observe where it bends.

The Bend Test

The Bend Test
  1. A. Cutting below the midpoint of the bend could cause the hair to spike or stick up.
  2. B. Cutting ½ to ¾ inch beyond the midpoint of the bend leaves enough length for the hair to lie down.
  3. C. Cutting 1 inch or more above the midpoint of the bend leaves enough length for the hair to lie down and be styled in a definite direction.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Hair texture is always an important consideration. Coarse, thick hair will require more length to lie smoothly than will fine, thin hair. If you are still in doubt after performing this test, try leaving a little extra length. You can always cut more later.You will see the "Bend Test" icon at appropriate places in the illustrations as a reminder to use this useful way of determining length.

            The Bend Test Icon