Sunday, May 9, 2010

M: clippers, short

This haircut is all done with clippers. The initial part is done with the clippers used in a rocking fashion. The clippers enters the hair at the nape hair line. The clippers are then rocked so the teeth of the blade start to come off the scalp and to follow the underlying head shape in the nape area. By the time the clipper blade reaches the occipital bone the blade of the clipper should be exiting from the hair. This is followed by tapering below the initial taper in the back and using the shorter taper on the sides. The sides are then blended to the tapered part with a clipper over comb technique. The top and sides are then connected by cutting them at 90 degrees.

Initial taper in the nape area

For this part of the demonstration a clipper with a guard is used. Here a number 2 guard is used. This will leave the hair at 1/4 inch when resting on the scalp. It is not clear why this particular length was chosen. It was inserted into the hair and the teeth were rocked away from the scalp as the clipper worked up to the occipital bone. At this point the teeth of the clipper leave the hair.

This demonstration is done by someone with lots of experience. She was able to decide on the taper she wanted and to then cut it. If you have less experience, you might start with a higher number guard. This will leave you with more length in the tapered area. If you want to further refine the taper to a shorter length you can then work your way to the shorter length by using lower numbered guards. For these haircuts, the client may not have a clear idea of how close they want the taper and this will give them a chance to see how it looks at different lengths.

The initial taper can be carried out in several steps if desired. For example, an even lower numbered guard or no guard could be used at the very hairline for a very tapered look.

The exit point in this demonstration is just below the occipital bone. It is not explained. Other posts have encouraged tapering the hair through the widest part of the head to make the haircut look more compact or "lean." If this were used here the taper would be continued higher to the mid occipital bone area.

Cutting the second taper in the nape area

Once the final length of the initial taper is determined, the second part of the taper is started. In this demonstration, the second part of the taper is done with a number 1 guard on the clipper. The clipper blade is fully closed before putting on the guard.

The second part of the taper in the back is usually done in steps. In this demonstration, one step is used. Other demonstrations have shown using a lower numbered guard and going up about half the distance of the first taper. The same rocking motion is used with the teeth of the clipper at the closest to the scalp at the bottom and rocking away from the scalp so that the blade/guard is completely out of the hair half way up the first taper. The smoother this rocking motion, the more blended the two taper cuts will be.

This taper is carried higher up the nape areas behind the ears so they can connect to the closer taper used in front of the ears.

In front of the ear the same guard is used to cut the taper in the area from the front hairline to behind the ear. The demonstration says to not cut too high but this is not defined. It looks like it maybe just into the parietal ridge.

This is addressed differently in haircuts looking for the leaner look where the taper would be carried through the widest part of the parietal ridge.

Connect the taper to the weight on the side with clipper over comb

This is a continuation of the clipper over comb technique used in the previous posts. The comb is inserted in the hair on an angle so that it is not horizontal to the floor. One end of the comb is used to find the guide in the short hair and the other is used to define the slope of the blend. The clipper is then used to cut along the length of the comb.

The design in this part of the cut is how vertical you want the slope of the taper to be. More vertical, makes it tighter with less of an umbrella on the top of the head.

Connect the top of the side to the top

This is done by pulling the hair above the parietal ridge out at 90 degrees from the head shape and blending this with the top. The hair on the top of the head has been divided into side to side sections and as the side to side section is picked up, some of the blended hair from the area above the parietal ridge is included. The guide is from the top of the side and the top is cut to this length.

The side to side section is carried across the top of the head by pulling the section pieces to 90 degrees from the head shape and cutting it. The stylists worked front to back with the clipper in the back hand position.

In this demonstration, the stylists does not take partings to determine the side to side sections. A less experienced cutter may want to use partings to get all of the hair.

This cutting is then cross checked by taking front to back sections going from one side to the to

the other.


Comb the hair forward to the bangs area and trim to the length the client wants. Comb all the hair that will reach the bangs.

Check on the side blending again

They use the same technique as above to redo the blending on the sides one more time. There are some smaller sections taken to just get the little pieces of the unblended hair to make it all fit better.

Trim the perimeter

A trimmer is used for this to outline the perimeter and clean away hair outside of the outline.

They also used the trimmer to further refine the taper near the perimeter.

Some points
This a haircut with a taper that is cut partially freehand with guards on the clipper. In a freehand taper, the clipper would be used start the taper at the hairline and to cut the taper all in one step. An example of freehand clipper cutting is discussed in M: Clipper free hand cutting at perimeter.

It is worth noting that the taper at the front hairline is shorter than the taper at the same height in the back. The shorter taper in the back does not reach as high up as the taper in the sides.

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