Sunday, May 16, 2010

M: clipper, short, layering, clipper over comb taper

This is a haircut done with clippers. It starts at the top and works its way down to the perimeter where the hair is tapered. The top is done in layering where the top is pulled 90 degrees to the ceiling and cut parallel to the head shape. The curve of the top to side connection is then done. It continues pulling the hair to 90 degrees from the head shape and the hair is cut to follow the head shape over the curve. After getting over the curve the top of the side is cut to 90 degrees from the side. This 9o degrees from the side is continued low enough on the side to reach into the lower part of the haircut where the tapering will be cut.

Many of the other haircuts done in these posts start at the bottom and work their way to the top. This haircut takes the starting as the top and works its way down. Each approach has its advantages. Try this one to see which you prefer.

The layering in this haircut is done using the back hand technique. This technique has been described before in a post called: W/M: clipper, mid length, texture.
In this haircut a new way of doing this technique is used. In the old way the clipper is placed in the hand with the blade near the pinkie or heel of the hand. The cord end of the clipper comes out of the hand between the thumb and first finger. If the palm of the hand holding the clipper faces the ceiling, the blade of the clipper also faces the ceiling. This hand also holds the clipper comb with it inserted in between the second and third fingers. The teeth of the comb are facing the same direction as the teeth of the clipper blade. This allows you to turn the blade away from the client while combing the hair to you.
In this haircut, the comb is initially placed with the teeth of the comb facing the same direction as the teeth of the clipper. This is used for layering across the top and for layering the client's right side while you stand behind the client.
To layer the left side of the client, the stylist moves to in front of the client and decides to cut the layering by cutting sections from the front of the client to the back. The stylist combs the hair away from himself toward the back of the client. To achieve this he rotated the comb 180 degrees and had the teeth of the comb facing in the opposite direction that the teeth of the clipper faced.
I tried this and did not find it that useful for me. This may be because I have not practiced this. For me it was relatively easy to move to the client's front for cutting the client's right side by combing the sections toward me before cutting the side layering.

Layering the top
This is started by cutting a center section in the middle of the top of the head. The section runs from the front hairline through the crown.
This center section is not specifically sectioned off before cutting in this demonstration. This stylist has a ton of experience and holds records for haircutting speed. He does not need to comb out the section parts on both sides to see what has to be picked up in the section. For the less experienced cutter, it is a big help to clearly part off the section.
Once the section is determined, it is lifted up 90 degrees and cut to follow the head shape. This will be the guide for the rest of the haircut. The length of this section is determined in consultation with the client before the haircut is started. The hair is cut using the back hand clipper technique. The hair is held in the non cutting hand with the pads of the fingers closer to the scalp. The hair is then cut along the backs of the fingers.

Once the center guide is finished, sections are taken side to side from the middle top of the head to the side. These are pulled up to 90 degrees and cut to follow the head shape. Again this stylist does not comb out clear parts to show the limits of these sections in the top. For someone with less experience, making clear parts for each section is a big help. These are also cut using the back hand clipper technique. At the crown area, the sections pivot around the back of the head.

Layering the sides
Once the top of the head has been layered, the sides are layered by taking sections that connect the top through the sides. These run from the side of the top to down the side. The section should go at least through the widest parts of the head at the widest part of the parietal ridge on the sides and occipital bone in the back. Each section is combed to 90 degrees from the head shape and cut to follow the head shape. Do the other side of the top the same way. It may be more convenient to cut the client's left side from the front of the client.
If you start on the client's right side, you can continue these sections through the right side through the back and then through the client's left side. You could also start on the right side, work to the middle back, and then move the clients front left and work to the middle back again.

The guide for all the sections is taken from the hair above which has already been cut.

Tapering from the bottom up
A clipper over comb technique is used. The middle back is used to define the angle of the taper from the hairline to the blend with the previously cut hair.
Hair is combed into natural fall.
The comb is inserted into the hair at the middle of the hairline line with the teeth pointing up the head. The comb is then tilted away from the head at the desired angle of the taper. The clipper is then run along the comb to cut it.
In some other haircuts, the angle for the taper is described as following the head shape up to the occipital bone. This means the comb is tilted away from the head at the top until the comb is parallel to the underlying head structure.
Once the first cut is made in the taper, the comb is inserted into the hair again at a small angle from the horizontal like 20 to 30 degrees. The comb is moved vertically up the previously cut taper until the tapered part of the hair is seen at the bottom of the comb's teeth. The teeth of the comb is again tilted away from the head until it matches the desired angle of the taper. The amount of tilting of the teeth away from the head shape will increase as the comb is moved up the head. This will accommodate the natural slope of the head shape as it moves back going from the hairline to the occipital bone.
The hair protruding beyond the comb next to the guide is then cut.

When the comb reaches the already cut layering on the side the tapering from below should blend the joining of the taper from below with the layering above.

Once the first vertical section is cut to your satisfaction, move to the left or right of this section and start all over again at the hairline. Move vertically again and tilt the comb teeth away from the head shape to match the taper in the first cut. This travelling guide will take you around one side of the head to the ear on one side and then the other.

Cut the double taper in front of the ear
In front of the ear, the hair is cut with a taper that is similar to the taper behind the ear but with one big difference. In front of the ear there is also a taper from the front hairline to the top of the ear. This means there is a vertical taper going from the sideburns area and there is also a taper where the hair near the front hairline is shorter than the hair on top of the ear. This taper is achieved by having the comb closer at the front hairline and further from the scalp at the ear while tilting the teeth of the comb away from the head shape.
Once this double taper has been cut, it is connected to the taper behind the ear by using the comb to hold each taper at different ends of the comb. The cut is to then connect the two guides with a smooth line.

The taper part of this haircut is done with clipper over comb in this haircut. The commentary on this demonstration says this is the single most important skill to master in men's clipper cutting.

The taper can also be cut free hand or with a series of clipper guards going from longer to shorter.

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