Here I will explain how haircuts are built. I say built because it is important that the cut has a foundation so that it will last for a reasonable time and be easy for the customer to re-create at home.
I will change the cut every month but if you want to see the technique used for a particular cut then please contact me through the Advice page.
The graduated cut is fairly straight forward to perform. First, I’ll explain what it is as there is a lot of confusion with another haircut called a graduated bob. When referring to a haircut, graduation can best be described as a narrow band of layers at the outline. The graduation is used to direct the hair away from the face so that the outline brushes back and around the ear. The best-known cut using this type of graduation is the Wedge. For this explanation, I will be cutting the hair with the outline length about halfway up the ear dropping down to a square-shaped back.
After shampooing and conditioning, I find the parting and crown. Then standing at the side of my customer I separate the hair from either side of the ear, combing the hair from behind the ear towards the centre of the back of the head.
I take a thin horizontal section from the front hairline to the dividing line I placed behind the ear. I angle my fingers slightly down (from the face toward the back) and holding the hair at the skin, cut my first line. The downward angle is because as the hair brushes back, the short hair from the front of the section will push the longer hair at the back of the section and the line will level itself.
I now take another thin section but this time I lift the hair away from the skin (approximately as far away from the skin as the thickness of the section) and cut this section. Each successive section is lifted by the same amount until I get to the parting. Once the side is cut I comb the hair down flat against the skin and see if my line needs to be cleaned up by trimming any missed hairs.
I go back to my first section and now take another section from behind the ear that is the same thickness. Using my original line as a guide I pull the hair down and low creating an angle that leaves extra hair behind the ears as seen in the sketch above.
I continue taking thin sections as before, pulling the hair to the same place behind the ear and lifting to the same height as I did when cutting the side sections. I work my way through to the centre of the back. Then I comb the hair down flat behind the ear and remove any excess hair that is present, giving me a clean outline behind the ear.
Moving on to the other side, I take exactly the same sections as the first side and follow the same method until I get to the centre of the back again. I comb the graduated areas of the hair back and down behind the ear to check if they look OK. If there are any problems with the way it looks I will go back through my sections and check if I have missed the line and recut if necessary.
Once I am happy with the outline and the graduation, I move on to the length of the back. With the customer’s head upright, I look from various angles to decide on the exact length I will cut the back. I find it’s best to pick a length that balances the jawline. Too short and the jaw will look too prominent, too long and the cut will be weak and floppy.
When I am happy I take a centre parting from the crown to the nape and ask my customer to put her head slightly forward (this is to create reverse graduation in the back line) I then take a thin section from one side (the same as when cutting a one-length bob). and comb the hair flat, I deliberately don’t stretch the hair by combing too hard, I then cut my line against the skin. Again, as with the bob, I take a matching section from the other side and repeat the process until I get to the crown.
I then check everything over to see if I’ve missed anything, if it’s OK I will blow-dry the cut. For this cut it’s best to use a Denman brush as it gives a better finish than a bristle brush.
When I have finished drying the hair I check it over again – just in case.