Cutting Hair…With Fire


Mindlessly thumbing through Instagram turned up a rather alarming result Tuesday morning. Hairstylist James Pecis posted a photo of a barber casually lighting the back of his client's head on fire. In James's words hashtags, "#realhaircut, #nobullshit." A frantic email followed, subject line: Need info on the fire scissors. (Was originally "Fire talk with me," but unsure of his familiarity with Twin Peaks, the former was used.)

He replied, "This was an old way to finish off a cut. There was a time when people believed you needed to seal the ends after a cut so that you would not catch a cold. It's a way to close off the ends. This practice is still used on men's cuts and sometimes to seal off ends or close off the fly-aways around braids. It's a fun way to give a haircut...but can really go wrong."

Of all the old-school beauty tricks that require a flair for danger (bloodletting to get rid of toxins; leaded makeup; $8 pedicures), this probably isn't the worst for experimentation...but don't. Seriously. ITG can't be held liable for third-degree burns, property damage, or bad DIY haircuts.

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  • Scribble and Snap

    This may be a really obvious comment to make BUT the smell must be horrendous! However, I love the Vintage authenticity of it all. The idea that sealing the ends meant you would not catch a cold! if only this were to be true! :)
    Thank you for the read!
    Scribbles x

  • Emma Hager

    I used to do this while camping when I was younger. There's only so many ways you can keep yourself entertained during the long, cold nights of a 5 day camping trip. If I was roasting marshmallows, why not some locks of my hair?

  • Emily Knott

    I really don’t think this is something I will be trying out anytime soon!

  • rano

    Oh God that's a little bit scary to me

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I just did this with my grill! Totally accidentally mind you :)

  • katie

    This og's been doing the burn-cut for decades:

  • Eliza

    Ahhh I remember when I was like 12, I read a book where the main character cut her bangs with fire, and she mentioned it like it was the normal/casual thing to do (it was an Australian-authored book, maybe fire is bigger Down Under?). Thank God I didn't try at home (the one beauty mistake my 12-year-old self DIDN'T run toward with open arms).

  • Isabel

    Instantly tried it after reading this. Results were predictable; my hair burned (I only did a piece). I get the 'sealed off' thing, but it left me with tiny balls of melted hair at the end of each strand (feels rough if you run your fingers along the hair), not sure how this is preferable to split ends.
    I'll report back if I start getting less colds.

  • K

    Also works for arm hair over a gas stove.

    • ITGFerber

      Dear lord I hope you're joking...

  • Eliza

    Haha good to know!

  • Veronica
  • Tiff

    Where in the world do you find a hairdresser that cuts hair with heated scissors. I have never heard of such a thing, which is not saying much, I am no hair expert. But the fact that you could find such a thing blows my mind.

  • Haiku Jew

    Fire and hair don't mix
    kinda like bagels and Spam
    some things aren't kosher.

  • melissa

    OMG I forgot they use fire to seal off the braid (individuals, think Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice)! And definitely flyaways with the braids--- ideally you'd be getting extensions added with the braids...

  • TheJessjess

    Oooh, I live in suburban Melbourne (Kensignton) where's your hairdresser?