The Officer’s Cut

This is a classic haircut that you will see worn by men in their late 30’s and up. It is a very clean and professional look. We came up with this name because of the amount of professional clients that get this haircut that are also in the reserves of one of the branches of military. It also is a short haircut that still looks professional for the office and wears well with a nice shirt and tie.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • Understand the concept of a square shaped haircut
  • Understand the concept of beginning the haircut on the top
  • Demonstrate the scissor over comb technique
  • Understand fading techniques starting with the longer blades and working down to the shortest blades
  • Demonstrate the clipper over comb technique
  • Demonstrate a defined and tapered outline
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  1. Start on the top section. The hair will be too short to pick up with your fingers so you will use the scissor over comb technique. Start by getting a center guide and work from the bangs to the crown. Keep the comb parallel to the floor and pull the bangs upward perpendicular to the floor. This will leave the bangs at the correct length. If you comb the bangs straight down and cut across you run the risk of cutting them too short and not having enough hair to comb to the side or back.
  2. Take one to two sections on either side of the center guide to complete the top. Make sure you can see the center guide and the previous guide in the comb at all times.
  3. Next, cut a guide around the round of the head. This will make it much easier and help avoid leaving a line when you cut the sides and back. Use either the scissor over comb or clipper over comb technique. Start in the back and hold the comb parallel to the head. Take and imaginary line straight up in the air at this angle until you run out of hair. This will create a guide and blend that guide into the top.
  4. Cut the sides and back. Start with the 3 ½ (3/8”) blade. Use the blade on skin technique and follow that same imaginary line straight up in the air parallel to the head. As the head rounds in keep moving the clipper straight up in the air. This will leave a nice smooth blend into the previous cut guide.
  5. Next, use the 2 blade. This will cut the hair to ¼ inch. Repeat step 4 except this time when you get to the round of the head let it push the clipper blade outward and follow that line slowly until you run out of hair. This will blend into the previous cut without a line.
  6. Use the 1 ½ (1/8”) blade next. About ¼ – ½ inch below the round of the head start pulling the clipper blade away from the head in a scooping motion very slowly. This will blend into the previously cut area without a line. While the 1 ½ blade is on the clipper use the clipper over comb technique to soften the blend around the round of the head if there are any heavy spots. Remember, this is the blending blade. Use the tip of the blade over the comb to cut and blend at the same time.
  7. Move on to the semi finish area next. Open the lever to the adjustable clipper leaving it at the longest setting. Use a scooping motion about 1-2 fingers width around the outline of the haircut. This will start the taper.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the lever of the adjustable clipper halfway closed. Use the same scooping motion around the outline of the haircut ½ to 1 finger width.
  9. Repeat step 8 with the lever to the adjustable clipper in the closed position. Use the scooping motion about ¼ – ½ inch around the perimeter of the haircut. After this step is done the taper is complete and the haircut is ready for the finish.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Finish the opposite side of the neck and sideburn area.
  14. 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 stroke all the way across. Use your backhand stoke 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.
  15. Style the hair to the client’s request. Ask if they prefer the wet or dry look and how they part and comb their hair. A good trick is to pay close attention to how their hair is styled when they come in before the haircut. The customer who gets this haircut is usually very meticulous and will have their hair perfectly combed when they come in.
REVIEW QUESTIONS
  1. In what section should the haircut begin?
  2. What technique is best used in the top section for the required length of hair?
  3. What section should be cut after the top section?
  4. Which techniques can be used in the round of the head section?
  5. Should the fade area begin with the largest or shortest blade?
  6. Which clipper is best for the semi-finish area?
  7. What type of shaving motion should be used with the trimmer on the back of the neck?

AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY
Make sure you are very comfortable with the tapered look and tapering/fading techniques. This is a very precise haircut and no hair should be out of place. As we have talked about this client is very meticulous so there is no margin for error. When dealing with these short length hand dexterity with your tools is extremely important. A perfectly blended taper/fade depends on it.

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