The Flattop Haircut

The flattop haircut is one of the most basic barber haircuts. With that said basic does not mean easy. You are creating a square shape on a round object and with the hair being so short any imperfection will show.  Proficiency with the flattop hairstyle will give you a good understanding of fading techniques, clipper over comb techniques, and scissor over comb techniques. You will also gain an understanding of the square shaped haircut and the concept of leaving weight in the corners that most men’s hairstyles require.

The Flattop Haircut:

1. Fade the sides to the desired length.

2. Taper the outline of the haircut.

3. Blend the round of the head section into the top section using the clipper or scissor over comb technique.

4. Apply a light hold gel to the hair and blow dry the hair so that it is all standing up evenly.

5. Using a large flattop comb and the clipper over comb technique create your center guide. Make sure to leave the front longer and angle slightly downward in the crown area.

6. Repeat step 5 on the left and right sides evening off the top. Make sure to always keep your comb parallel to the floor to ensure the square shape and preserve the corners.

7. Apply the final styling product and complete the final touch up. I recommend spinning the chair 360 degrees and checking from every angle in your mirror before letting the client leave.

Undercut with a Comb Over and Hard Part

Undercut with Hard PartI had the opportunity to give a fun haircut with a twist at a recent class I taught for the O’Ba Men product line. This hairstyle is an undercut with a comb over and a hard part with a bald fade. I know that is a mouthful but it stresses the importance of my teaching methods. You need to be well versed in all of the basic barbering techniques as well as different hairstyles. This particular haircut is a combination of four different hairstyles: Undercut, Side Part, Hard Part shaved in, and a Bald Fade. It also uses the following barbering basic techniques: Scissor over Fingers, Blade on Skin with a detachable blade clipper, finishing clipper, and straight razor.

Undercut with a Comb Over and Hard Part

1. Shampoo and condition the hair so you can control it better. Lightly trim the ends to remove any dead ends with the scissor over fingers technique.

2. Use the blade on skin or fading technique on the sides. Hold the hair out of the way with the comb and start with the quarter inch attachment or blade. Shave up the part and keep it even all of the way around the head. This will leave the hair dark enough that you will see the contrast when you cut in the part.

3. Work down through the 1/8th attachment or blade and then the 1/16th. Fade each shorter blade into the previous blade by using a scooping motion just a little bit lower than the previous one.

4. Use an adjustable clipper in the open position to continue the process. Work the same steps as above moving the lever shorter each time. I usually repeat this step about 3 or 4 times to avoid leaving any lines of demarcation.

5. Repeat step 4 with a powerful trimmer. Lastly, follow up with a foil shaver or electric beard trimmer to complete the fade.

6. Shave in the part with a t-outliner by making a line along the natural part back to the pivot. Touch up the line with a straight razor to make the line more noticeable. Make sure to use a shave oil so the blade does not pull but you can still see the area you are shaving.

7. Use a pomade for a wet look or a dry paste for a dry looking finishing. A brush will give a more textured look or you can use a comb for a more slicked look.

Have fun with this hairstyle and be creative…


How To Cut A Low Fade – Low Taper

This haircut is one of the most difficult and popular hairstyles you will come across. Learning how to cut a low fade or low taper requires the ability to blend from a skin length to a professional length on the top without a leaving a line of demarcation. The fade or taper must be kept low so there is enough weight left in the corners for the hair to be combed into place. The client that generally gets this haircut is a young professional that is extremely meticulous. If one hair is out of place they will notice it.

Step by step instructions to for cutting a low fade- low taper:

1.        Start on the top area and using the scissor over comb technique. Pull the bangs up at a 90 degree angle and work your way back to the crown. Move the comb slowly so you can always see your previous guide in the comb.

2.        Take 1-2 sections to the right and left of the center guide. Keep using the scissor over comb technique and be sure to keep the comb parallel to floor to insure a square shape (leaving weight in the corners).

3.        Cut the round of the head section. For this step you can either start in the back or either side depending on if you are right or left handed. Use a scissor and comb technique holding the comb parallel to the sides and back area of the head and blend to the top area guide.

4.        For the sides and back section use the 3 ½ (3/8”) blade on the detachable blade clipper and the blade on skin technique. You will start to bevel the blade out slightly just below the temple area.

5.        Repeat step 4 with the 2 (1/4”) blade and then the 1 ½ (1/8”) blade. Make sure each time you drop down a blade size you start beveling the clipper about 1/2 inch below your previous guide (where you left off with your previous blade).

6.        Use the clipper over comb technique with the detachable blade clipper and the 1 ½ blade to finish the blend into the round of the head section.

7.        Cut the semi-finish area. Use the adjustable clipper with a 1/16” attachment. Set the lever to an open position to allow for a longer length. Next close the clipper blade for the next shortest length and repeat.

8.        Use the adjustable clipper without an attachment and repeat the previous step 3 times. First with the lever all the way open, next with the lever closed half way, and last with the lever closed all the way.

9.        Move on to the finish with the trimmer using the blade on skin technique. Stretch the skin around the finish area using a scooping motion to complete the fade.

10.      If further blending is needed in the fade area, use the scissor over comb technique with the finishing comb and the 40-44 thinning shears.

11.      Optional: 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. When finished with the shave wipe off excess shaving cream with a clean towel and apply aftershave.

Step by step video instructions are available with a premium membership at

Clipper Cutting: How To Ask For A Clipper Cut – Part 2

In the previous blog in this series I wrote about why it is not a good idea to cut by numbers. In this blog I am going to give you some clipper cutting communication tips to make it easier to find out how your customer would like his hair cut.

The questions I like to ask are:

  1. Would you like to have skin showing?
  2. Would you like to see a light or dark shadow?
  3. Would you like to see complete scalp coverage?

With experience you will know which blade lengths show skin, a light shadow, a dark shadow, or cover the scalp. The blades used will be different for different types of hair.

The final question I ask them is to point to where on spot on their head they would like their hair faded. This is very important. Every customer is different. Even if they would like the same haircut as someone else the fade will most likely not be in the exact same area. There are a lot reasons that determine how high the fade should be other than customer preference. I will cover all of these in upcoming blogs.

Lastly, I would like to give you my final reason for not cutting by numbers when giving a clipper cut. Most attachments made by different clipper companies have different numbers on them. A number one attachment for one brand may be the longest whereas a number one attachment on another brand may be the shortest. Some of them do not even have numbers on them, only measurements. The metal blades are different from plastic attachments and have many more sizes.