The Gentlemen’s Taper

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The Gentleman’s Taper is one of the most traditional barber haircuts. This haircut is often referred to as a “Regular Haircut” or ‘The Barbershop Regular”. It has been around forever and is always in style. This is a conservative haircut that has a side part and tapered outline which makes the haircut stand out. This is for the guy that is well groomed and dresses first class. The scissor over comb technique is a must for this haircut. A classic haircut deserves this classic technique.

[highlight]LEARNING OBJECTIVES[/highlight]

  • Identify the correct section to begin the haircut.
  • Understand how to cut with a traveling guide.
  • Understand the concept of a square shaped haircut.
  • Demonstrate the scissor over comb technique.
  • Understand the top down approach to cutting men’s hair.
  • Demonstrate a straight razor neck shave.

[highlight]Step by Step Guide[/highlight]

  1. Start on the top section in the center. Use the scissor over comb technique and start with a center section. Hold the comb parallel to the floor and pull the hair straight up using the bangs as a guide. This will leave the bangs longer which is necessary for the hair to be combed to the side. Take off the desired length in the first section and that section will serve as a traveling guide. Keeping the comb parallel to the floor move the comb slowly toward the crown with the proper angle so the hair will be left long enough not to stick up.
  2.  Repeat step 1 on the right and left sides of the center section. You will have a center guide and a previous guide in the comb. Repeat this step as many times as necessary until there is not any more hair to cut. When you get to the round of the head and the comb is parallel to the floor there will be a point that the hair will not reach the comb. This is OK because we are cutting a square shape and need the weight in the corners.
  3. Blend the round of the head section to the top section. Use the scissor over comb technique. Start in the back or crown area and take a section in the center with the comb positioned parallel to the head. This will ensure the square shape leaving weight in the corners. Take small sections and work to the right side and then back to the center and work to the left. The smaller the sections the easier it will be to see the traveling guide.
  4. Take the next section down in the sides and back area. Use the scissor over comb technique. Blend into the previous cut guide from the round of the head. You will see a faint line of demarcation from the previous step that you will blend to.
  5. Start the semi finish. Use the adjustable clipper in the open position and the clipper comb. Using the clipper over comb technique bevel the comb at a 45 degree angle and follow that cutting plane until you run out of hair.  This will blend perfectly into the previously cut area. Start in front of the right side burn and follow this step all the way around. Make sure to angle the comb so that you stop cutting after about a 2 finger width above the ear and hairline in the back.
  6. Continue the semi finish with the adjustable clipper in the open position using the blade on skin technique. Using a scooping motion place the blade facing upward and pull the clipper away from the head when it reaches the hairline. This will leave a nice natural/tapered hairline. Follow this step from right side burn area around the head to the other side.
  7. Repeat previous step with the adjustable clipper halfway closed and start scooping the blade about ¼ of an inch below where you left off in step 6.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the adjustable clipper in the closed position and start scooping the blade about ¼ of an inch below where you left off in step 7. This will complete the taper.
  9. Complete the finish. Use the t-trimmer to edge off the side burn area and clean up around the ears. Pull the ear down to make it easier to see any excess hair behind the ear. Just cut the hair that pops out. Do not go in too far. That will leave too big of an arc around the ear sometimes referred to as a white wall.
  10. Make the diagonal line on the neck behind the ear. Leave the line out as far as possible. Do not go in off the natural hairline and cut into the taper.
  11. Use an upward shaving motion to clean up the back of the neck. The taper is already complete so it is extremely important not to get anywhere near the hairline. Stop ½ -1 inch below the taper so a line is not made.
  12. Finish the opposite side of the neck and sideburn area
  13. The final step of the finishing area is the straight razor shave on sideburns, around the ears, and back of the neck. Apply shaving cream on the areas to be shaved. Start on the right sideburn and grip the side of the head with the palm of your hand. Place your thumb on the side burn and stretch the skin. Shave the bottom of sideburn using a free hand stroke. Next shave the right side of the neck below the ear with a freehand stroke. Move on to the hairline using the freehand stoke all the way across. Use your backhand stroke for the opposite portion of neck below the ear. Lastly use your backhand stroke again for the opposite sideburn. Wipe off excess shaving cream with a clean towel and apply aftershave.
  14. Style the hair. Remember this is a conservative hairstyle. A light grooming cream or paste will look the best. Make sure the hair is fully dry. Rub the product into the hair down to the roots. Comb the crown in the direction it grows and part the hair to its natural side.

[highlight]REVIEW QUESTIONS[/highlight]

  1. What section should you start this haircut on?
  2. What technique will be used to cut the top section?
  3. What section blends into the top section?
  4. What technique is used in the semi-finish section?
  5. Which tool is used in the semi-finish section?
  6. Which tool is used for the finish section?
  7. What kind of motion is used for cutting the hair from the back of the neck?
  8. Is this hairstyle best suited for a dry or wet looking finish?
  9. What type of styling product is best for this hairstyle?

Pay close attention to the way the client has their hair styled when they come in to the barbershop/salon. Remember, this is a conservative client with a conservative hairstyle and he pays close attention to detail. It is extremely important that you are comfortable with the scissor over comb technique. That is what this client is used to and prefers. It shows the client that you are proficient with your tools and taking the time to go the extra mile. The finish is also extremely important. The neater the taper and outline of the haircut is, the more the haircut stand out. This haircut should be styled very neatly. Make sure the client looks the same as they did when they sat in the chair. This is a consistent client that does not want to look like they just got a haircut.