The Modern Flat Top Haircut

The modern flat top is actually a longer length flat top that was very popular in the 1950’s. However, proficiency with any length flat top will give you a good understanding of the principles behind a man’s haircut. You will gain an understanding of the square shaped haircut and the concept of leaving weight in the corners. You will also learn how to master the clipper over comb technique, fading techniques, tapering techniques, as well as styling techniques.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • Understand the concept of putting a square shape haircut on a round object.
  • Understand how to have a consultation with the customer to determine exactly how they like their flat top.
  • Describe the correct order of steps to cut a flat top
  • Demonstrate the clipper over comb technique.
  • Demonstrate tapering and fading techniques
  • Demonstrate a flat top haircut.
  • Demonstrate styling techniques with a hairdryer
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  1. Comb the front or the entire top out of the way depending on the length.
  2. Use the clipper over comb technique to create your guide in the round of the head section.
  3. In the back cut down the crown area but angle your comb so that you leave the hair longer on the top.
  4. Cut the sides and back section. Start on the right hand side using the ½ inch metal blade or comb attachment. Using the blade on skin technique run the clipper up the side of the head to the temple area. Take an imaginary line parallel to the head straight up from the round of the head until you run out of hair. This will avoid leaving a line that needs to be blended out.
  5. Work the clipper around the head until you get to the back. Run the clipper up to the crown and round it off slightly. Even though this haircut is square in shape the back needs to be rounded off slightly for proper balance.
  6. Continue around the head until you reach the left temple area.
  7. Start the semi-finish with the detachable blade clipper and the 1 ½ blade. Use a scooping motion around the outline of the haircut with the tip of the blade. Make sure to start scooping the clipper slowly away from the head about a 1-2 finger width above the hairline. This is a much easier way to start the taper than using a clipper over comb technique with the smaller tools.
  8. Continue the semi finish with the adjustable clipper in the open position using the blade on skin technique. Using the scooping motion, place the blade facing upward and pull the clipper away from the head when it reaches the hairline or slightly below where you left off with step 6. This will leave a nice natural/tapered hairline. Follow this step from right side burn area around the head to the other side.
  9. 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
  10. Repeat step 8 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.
  11. 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 to far. That will leave too big of an arc around the ear sometimes referred to as a white wall.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Finish the opposite side of the neck and sideburn area.
  15. Cut the top section. Use a small amount of firm hold gel and a hair dryer and style the top standing straight up.
  16. Using the large flat top comb and a clipper over comb technique with the 1 blade. Begin in the back and work towards the front. Keep the comb parallel with the floor and comb through the first section in the center. Very small sections will be needed to avoid clipper marks or lines.
  17. Move to either the right or left side of the center section and repeat the process. Make sure the center guide and previous guide are visible. This will help to keep the correct speed and sectioning with the comb. Take as many sections as necessary to meet the guide on the sides.
  18. Repeat the above step on opposite side.
REVIEW QUESTIONS
  1. What section should you begin the haircut in?
  2. What technique will you use in the round of the head section?
  3. What clipper do you use for the semi-finish?
  4. What clipper do you use for the finish?
  5. Describe the process of preparing the top for an even cut.
  6. What technique do you use on the top section?
  7. What product do you finish with for a dry look that will hold the hair in place all day?
AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY

The flat top is one of the hardest haircuts to do. You are putting a square shape on a round object and no two are alike. Cutting a perfectly blended and square flat top is something to be very proud of. The most important advice I can give is to take your time and only focus on the step that you are on. If you do that the finished product will take care of itself.

 

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