1. Cut hair at one length with same length on back and sides per previous post.
2. Section into four sections with a center part on top through the nape, and a part from apex to behind ears.
3. Measure where you want start the layers and where you want them to stop:
For shorter layers on the side. See post about ideas on layering.
3.a Take a horizontal section at the front hairline extending from the center to the top of the parietal ridge.
b. From in front ( or in back) of the model hold this horizontal section between the first two fingers of the left hand at the estimated length of the flat cut parallel to the ceiling.
c. In the right hand pinch the end of this section (at the estimated cut line) that is closest to the center of the head and separate it from the horizontal section. Continue to hold the other part of the horizontal section with the left hand.
d. Drop the section in the right hand slowly so you can see exactly how far it will go down the head. Take note of this. It is where the tapering will begin. Remember if this is eye level, nose level, chin level, etc. Be sure to put a clip at the spot so you can go back to it.
e. Now take the end of the original horizontal section closest to the parietal ridge and hold this in the right hand with the thumb and first finger at the estimated cutting line.
f. Pull this out to 90 degrees from the parietal ridge and take a vertical section below it to the bottom hair line while holding the position of the estimated cut. The bottom of this section should be held in the right hand between the thumb and first finger.
g. Lower this piece slowly and see where it stops. This will be where the layering will stop. Take note of a physical landmark like lips or chin where the pieces reaches. This is the lower boundary of the taper.
h. If these agree with your design, you are ready to start cutting. If not then redo the original horizontal section on top and move the cut line up or down to change where the taper will fall. The higher the cut is from the scalp the lower the tapered area will fall, and the lower the cut line the higher the tapered area will be.
For longer layers on the side. See post about ideas on layering.
3.1 Do the same steps in 3.a, 3.b, 3.c, and 3.d as for shorter layers above.
3.2 Continue the horizontal section in 3.a above to the side as a vertical section on the side.
3.3 Comb the vertical section straight up to the ceiling.
3. 4 Place the holding fingers of the left hand at the estimated cutting level as was done in 3.b above. Not all the hair from this section may reach the estimated cutting level. Let the parts that don't reach fall.
3.5 Take the hair strands from the remaining hair in the section to be cut and hold them at the estimated cutting height.
3.6 Take the strands farthest from the middle of the head and slowly let them fall to see where the bottom of the layering will fall. Note a physical landmark like jawline.
3.7 As in 3.h above, if this fits your design you are ready to start cutting the layers. If not redo the horizontal and vertical sections and adjust the height of the cutting line.
4. On top center of the head take a vertical section down the middle of the head. This section will go from the front hairline to the crown.
5. Cut this section flat with the ceiling at the length determined in 3 above. Use this as a guide for vertical sections on the top and cut both sides of center to the beginning of the parietal ridge.
6. When step 5. is finished go to the sides.
6.a For shorter layers on the side, pull the guide from the top 90 degrees to the parietal region and take vertical sections. Cut flat with the wall.
6.b For longer layers, horizontal layers can be taken and combed straight up to the guide at the top. Continue to cut these flat to the ceiling. Stop when the layers no longer reach.
Added Note: Some instruction sees 90 degrees of elevation (horizontal to the floor) as in the range of graduation and not in the range of layering.
Elevating the hair 90 degrees from the head (horizontal to the floor) is seen as graduation. Holding the hair so it will be cut straight up and down means the hair will be cut perpendicular to the floor. This will move the line of graduation higher off the hairline compared to cutting the hair at 45 degrees. While the hair is held parallel to the floor, it is usually cut at 45 degrees by pointing the scissors toward the client's neck. This moves the line of graduation closer to the hairline compared to cutting it straight up and down (perpendicular to the floor).
These techniques are still seen as graduating the hair. To cut layers the hair has to be elevated above the line parallel to the floor. This means it has to be above the line horizontal to the floor.