How To Cut Short Hair

How to cut short hair is one of the most popular topics in barbering and men’s hair cutting in general. There are many different definitions of short hair. All of your customers will have a different opinion of what short hair means to them. It is your job during the customer consultation to figure out exactly what they want and determine the best barbering techniques to give it to them. For the most part short hair today means fades, tapers, and graduated haircuts. The key for all of these haircuts is to finish with a perfect blend without any line of demarcation visible. This means any haircut ranging from a bald fade to a graduated haircut with a short taper around the outline and plenty of hair on top to style.


Fades: Fades generally range from a 1 blade or shorter with little hair on top. The key is to see a gradual increase in length without any line of demarcation.

Tapers: Tapers a generally more along the lines of a business cut. The guy wearing a suit and tie to work with a side part and a cleanly tapered outline. This is a more professionally finished haircut than a square back. Imagine a 45 degree bevel around the outline of the haircut and a taper on the back of the neck.

Graduated Haircuts: These are the haircuts that have plenty of hair on the top to style with a clean outline. The outline is generally tapered and the hair gradually gets longer toward the top. A great example of this is Pompadours which are popular right now.

Barbering Techniques For Short Haircuts:

Scissor Over Comb: Scissor over comb is the most basic technique for cutting short hair. My education required me to be able to cut all short men’s haircuts with the exception of bald fades with a scissor and comb. In my opinion this is the best way to learn. It gives you and excellent understanding of the fundamentals of barbering before you pick up a clipper.

Clipper Over Comb: Once you are able to master your scissor and comb clipper over comb will be easy. Now that you have an understanding of how to master the different haircut shapes and graduation the clipper is a tool that can make your job easier.

Blade On Skin: Once you master scissor and clipper over comb you can move on to cutting with attachments. The problem with starting to learn with attachments is that they become a crutch and get in the way of  mastering your barber tools and barbering techniques.

Men’s hair cutting and barbering is a lot of fun, creative, and is very rewarding. Take the time to learn correctly. Master the three types of short haircuts as well as the three barbering techniques for short hair and you will be on your way to a long and profitable career.

James Bond Haircut

For anyone who has young children you know what a big deal it is to go on a dinner and movie date with your spouse. This past weekend my wife and I went to see the new James Bond movie Skyfall strarring Daniel Craig. As usual I can never turn off my mind from thinking about barbering and haircuts. As soon as the movie started I noticed the new James Bond Haircut. It is a classic Princeton haircut which is a throwback to the 1950’s. I have my mother’s highschool yearbook from that time period and all of the guys have this haircut or a flattop. Check out the tips below for giving this exact haircut. 

James Bond Haircut Guide:

1. Taper up the sides and back with the 1/2″ attachment on your clipper. Clipper just past the round of the head.

2. Taper up the sides and back with the 3/8″ attachment. Taper away from the head just below the round of the head.

3. Taper a 1 finger width area around the perimeter of the haircut with the 1/8″ attachment.

4.Repeat step 3 with the adjustable clipper with the blade in the open position. Use a scooping motion to leave a natural hairline

5. Line of the sideburns and clean around the ear and the back of the neck with a trimmer.

6. Blend the tapered sides into the top of the haircut. Use the clipper over comb technique with your comb slightly angled away from the front fo the head to leave the bangs longer. This is a contoured shape haircut so follow the shape of the head while cutting the top.

7. Finish with a light, dry paste or wax. This will give the hair a light hold while leaving a natural finish.



How To Cut Short Hair

Scissor Over Comb

Clipper Over Comb

Many times when beginning a career in barbering or men’s haircutting a barber or cosmetologist will struggle the most with learning how to cut short hair.  Especially, when the hair is too short to pick up with your fingers but the desired length is to be left longer than using the largest clipper attachment. In my opinion this is what separates truly talented and dedicated barbers and cosmetologists from everyone else.

There are two barbering techniques that are used in this situation. The first one is scissor over comb. This barbering technique is used when the comb slowly moves through the hair picking it up and the scissor held in the opposite hand opens and closes quickly cutting the hair. This is the oldest technique in barbering. (Yes, there was a time when the electric clipper did not exist.) With time and practice this barbering technique will become second nature and you will start using it on longer hair instead of picking it up. You will find this barbering technique to be much more efficient as well as more accurate than picking up the hair in many small sections.

The second barbering technique is clipper over comb. This works the same as scissor over comb except you are using a clipper. I recommend using an adjustable clipper or detachable blade clipper but never a trimmer. The trimmer is not powerful enough and the blade is too fine causing clipper lines in the haircut. Another benefit of this technique is you can begin the taper around the outline of the haircut after you finish each section. This will drastically increase the efficiency of your haircutting without increasing your hand speed. It is extremely important that the customer never feels like you are rushing them out of your chair.

Learning these two barbering techniques will improve the quality of your haircuts as well as the different types of men’s hairstyles you will now be able to cut.