How To Cut Men’s Hair – Understanding Haircut Shape And Graduation

Men's Graduated Haircut
Men's Contour Shaped Haircut
Men's Square Shaped Haircut

Learning how to cut men’s hair at an expert level requires an understanding of the different shapes of a man’s haircut and the degree of graduation required for the haircut. These two terms may sound complicated but I am going to make it real simple for you to understand.

Haircut Shape:

There are two basic shapes of a men’s haircut:

  1. Square: Think about a flat top. You are putting a square shape on a round object. The hair is longer in the corners and in the front. The majority of men’s haircuts are very similar. The hair needs to be longer in the bang area so the client can comb them to the side or back, longer in the round of the head section so the hair can be combed down or back without sticking out, and longer in the crown so the hair will not stand up. All of your business type haircuts, classic boys haircuts, and the majority of low fade haircuts fall into this category.
  2. Contoured: These are the haircuts that follow the shape of the head. Instead of leaving the hair longer in the corners or the round of the head section the hair is cut to the shape of the head. Some of these haircuts include brush cuts, faux hawks (and all of their variations), Cesar haircuts, and most variations of short, bed head style haircuts.


This word is nothing more than a fancy way to say taper or fade. It means the hair is gradually cut from shorter to longer. When cutting any men’s hairstyle you need to determine ahead of time the best area of the haircut for the graduation. The area of graduation is determined by the length of the top. The longer the top the more extreme and lower on the head the graduation should be. The shorter the haircut the higher on the head form the graduation can be. The principles are the same whether the haircut is a low skin fade, a blowout haircut, or businessman’s haircut. The only differences are the tools and techniques used.

Through the proper men’s haircutting education and experience these concepts will become second nature. Mastering this attention to detail will keep your barber chair booked up weeks in advance.