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What Is a Cutting Comb?

Rachael Cullins
Rachael Cullins

A cutting comb can refer to either a type of hair comb used by salon professionals when cutting a client’s hair or a comb that has built-in razors for self-cutting. Professional cutting combs are characterized by thin, small-spaced teeth that allow for reduced tangling and straight combing. This helps to ensure an even haircut. Self-cutting combs have built-in razors that allow for quick trims using the comb itself and are generally used only on short hair.

A salon professional has many different options when it comes to a cutting comb. A standard cutting comb features a line of short, close-together tines and can be made of plastic, tortoiseshell, or a heat-resistant material. Many of the combs have teeth that are rounded at the bottom to avoid damaging wet hair. The comb helps the hairstylist to smoothly comb hair so that an even-length haircut is achieved.

Cutting combs are usually heat-resistant.
Cutting combs are usually heat-resistant.

There are many different variations on a stylist’s cutting comb. Many combs are heat resistant so that they can safely be used in conjunction with a blow-dryer or straightening iron. Some include a bottom piece that holds the hair to the comb from underneath, creating tension that is effective for hair straightening. Cutting combs come in all varieties of length and color. The second tooth on many cutting combs is shortened, allowing the stylist to effectively make a straight part in the hair using the first tooth.

A self-cutting comb is best used on short hair, as longer hair would be difficult to evenly trim using this type of product. This type of cutting comb, intended to actually cut hair, is very different from a regular cutting comb. The comb is outfitted with built-in razors and has evenly spaced tines much like a regular comb. The user combs through his or her hair and the razors trim a bit from the hair ends.

The razors of the comb cut small amounts from the ends of the hair, often requiring several passes through the hair to achieve the desired length. This style of comb is best used on men or those with short hair, as it would be difficult to trim only the ends of long hair with a razor comb. Using a self-cutting comb that comes with detailed instructions or video instruction is best to ensure that the hair is cut correctly and evenly. The self-cutting comb is not widely used and the term “cutting comb” usually refers to a salon professional’s comb.

Discussion Comments


Some hair stylists now use a razor comb to thin hair after a haircut. It's usually done for people with thick, dense hair. I had my hair cut that way once and I was not happy with it at all. I got many fly-aways and my hair actually became damage and formed split ends too. Now I insist that a razor comb is not used when I get a hair cut.

There is also a razor comb used for pets but that's a different kind of product. It's used to remove mats and tangles in dogs with long hair that are prone to these.


@burcinc-- I'm not a hair stylist but I myself use a regular fine toothed plastic comb for this purpose. So it works just fine.

Just make sure that the comb has the same width tooth all across. Some combs have two different tooth widths. Half of the comb has teeth with wider space between them, and the other half is teeth with closer space. If you use this type of comb, it will comb through the hair unevenly and you might get an uneven trim. So make sure that the comb has even and same width teeth. A fine toothed one works best.


I want to start trimming my hair at home. I get a trim frequently and it's starting to cost too much for my budget. I've found some instructions on trimming hair and I think I may be able to do it myself. I do need a cutting comb though. I always see the hair stylist use one when trimming.

I'm sure I can't buy a professional one but will any regular fine toothed comb without a handle work? I've seen some plastic ones at the beauty salon that I can definitely afford.

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    • Cutting combs are usually heat-resistant.
      By: Ian 2010
      Cutting combs are usually heat-resistant.