Basic Barbering Techniques


In order to become an exceptional barber or men’s hairstylist you must learn the basics first. There are four basic techniques that are the foundation of men’s haircutting. In order to master this craft these techniques must become second nature. We cannot stress enough the importance of this lesson. Everything you do from now on in your career depends on mastering these four techniques.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • Identify the four basic haircutting techniques used in men’s haircutting.
  • Identify the tools used for each of the four basic men’s haircutting techniques.
  • Demonstrate the scissor over fingers haircutting technique.
  • Demonstrate the scissor over fingers haircutting technique.
  • Demonstrate the clipper over comb haircutting technique.
  • Demonstrate the blade on skin haircutting technique.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  1. Scissor over fingers. This technique can be used for layering with vertical or horizontal sections.  It can be used in all sections of the haircut depending on the length of the hair and with any of the scissors.
  2. The first way to do this is to cut the hair over the top of the fingers. Hold the hair between the pointer finger and middle finger with the palm facing down and the pinky resting on the head to stabilize the section. Use the front portion of the scissor and do not cut past your second knuckle. If you do you run the risk of cutting finger. If you use more than the front portion of the scissor to cut the hair you will lose control of your scissor and run the risk of cutting yourself again.
  3. The second way of using the scissor over fingers method is with the palm facing up and cutting in the palm of your hand. This technique can be used for trimming bangs, the perimeter of longer hairstyles, and horizontal layering.
  4. Scissor over comb. This is the staple of a true master barber. Every time you use this technique on a customer they will recognize that you are doing something that requires a more advanced skill level. There was a time when there was no such thing as an electric clipper. Everything was done with a scissor and different size combs. This technique can also be used on all sections of the haircut depending on the length of the hair.
  5. Correct posture allows you to hold the tools properly. Stand upright leaning slightly away from your scissor hand. Hold your elbow up slightly and extend the scissor out in front of you. This will ensure you open and close the scissor with just your thumb. Once you drop your elbow you will be using all of your fingers to open and close the scissor and it will not cut properly.
  6.  The comb and scissor always move together in the same direction. Angle the comb slightly inward to pull the hair straight out from the head allowing for more control. Use the first third of the scissor blade to cut the hair in the front portion of the comb. Do not cut across the comb. One small section/panel at a time. Make sure the comb is moving slow and the scissor blade is opening and closing much faster. The slow movement of the comb allows for extremely small sections and eliminates lines of demarcation. You should always be able to see your previous guide in your comb.
  7. Clipper over comb. The same technique as scissor over comb only you are using a clipper. This technique is excellent for removing large amounts of thick hair. You will also be able to achieve a different finish on the hair depending on what size blade and/or clipper you use. It is also easier on your hands on days when you will be doing 15 or more haircuts. The length of hair and area of the head you are working on will determine which clipper and comb to use.
  8. The flat top comb will be used for the top and the sides and back. It is excellent for controlling large amounts of thick hair. It moves through the hair with ease because the teeth are wide and the comb is thicker and heavier than most others. This comb will be used with the large detachable blade clipper. The most powerful clipper is needed for removing large amounts of thick hair.
  9. The clipper comb is used for the sides and back and semi-finish. It will be used in the top area when blending in a short haircut where the crown is cut off such as a princeton or a flat top. This comb is excellent for blending because the teeth are closer together and it is thinner which allows for picking up the hair closer to the scalp. This comb can be used with the detachable blade clipper for blending fades to the top section and for fine hair worn in a short to medium length. It can also be used with the adjustable clipper on the same type of hair and for the semi-finish area.
  10. The finishing comb will be used for the semi-finish and the finish. This comb is excellent for the finishing steps because the comb itself is flat without any grooves which allows for the clipper to move across very smoothly. It is also flexible unlike the larger combs which allows for it to bend easier around the ears. This comb will be used with the adjustable clipper for the semi-finish area.
  11. Blade on Skin. This technique will be used for the finishing or outlining of a haircut with a clipper or a scissor. It will also be used for faded/tapered haircuts when a clipper blade or comb attachment is needed.
  12. You will use this technique with a scissor in a few different areas:
  13. Use this on the bangs for a shorter length haircut by gently resting the stationary blade of the scissor on the forehead and slowly moving the scissor away from you opening and closing the scissor with just your thumb.
  14. Use this technique in the temple to sideburn area in the same manner. You can cut from the temple to sideburn or sideburn to temple whichever is more comfortable.
  15. This technique will be used around the ears. To get a nice clean outline on a medium length haircut comb the hair down and gently rest the stationary blade of the scissor on the skin and cut the outline around the ear. Make sure to hold the ear down and out of the way of the cutting blade. This will be done at the end of the haircut when the bulk of the hair has been removed. You will be able to control the hair easier and getter a cleaner cut. If you do this first, you will have to go back and do it again.
  16. Use this technique on the back of the neck for a nice clean hairline. This will be used for a square or rounded hairline. Gently rest the stationary blade on the skin and cut across. Make sure the bulk of the haircut is finished and this is the last step. If you do this first you will not be able to clearly see how the hair grows and exactly where the hairline will fall and look best.
  17. You will use this technique with a finishing clipper in the same areas as a scissor.
  18. Use this clipper in the bangs and temple area for the outline. When making the line make sure to use a straight in – straight out movement. After the line is made turn the clipper around so the stationary blade is gently touching the skin and shave up to the line. This will ensure the clipper works properly and you don’t leave razor marks or small scrapes. Not every customer wants the outline on the forehead and temple area so be sure to ask first.
  19. Use this clipper for the sideburns, around the ears, and back of the neck. Make sure that the bulk of the haircut is completed before this step so you can see where the hairline/outline naturally falls. When making the line make sure to use a straight in – straight out movement. After the line is made turn the clipper around so the stationary blade is gently touching the skin and shave up to the line. This will ensure the clipper works properly and you don’t leave razor marks or small scrapes. This instruction is repeated again due to its importance. It cannot be stressed enough that this is the way the trimmer was designed to work.
  20. This technique will be used with a detachable blade clipper or an adjustable clipper with/without attachments. You will use this for haircuts in which you will run a blade/attachment up the sides and back of the head to get a length as short as or shorter than your combs. You will also use this for the semi-finish with the adjustable or detachable blade clipper to taper/fade the hairline.
REVIEW QUESTIONS
  1. What are the four basic men’s haircutting techniques?
  2. What two types of sections can be used with the scissor over comb technique?
  3. Which sections can the scissor over comb technique be used for?
  4. What is the clipper over comb technique good for?
  5. Which comb is used for removing a large amount of hair with a clipper?
  6. Which comb is used with clipper over comb or scissor over comb in the semi-finish and finish sections?
  7. What four areas of the finish is the blade on skin technique used for?
  8. What is the significance of be able to use the scissor over comb technique successfully?

AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY
As stated earlier these techniques are the building blocks to mastering men’s haircutting. They will become second nature by practicing every chance you get. Mastering all four of these techniques is the key to becoming a master of barbering.