Before cutting your own hair, look in the mirror and determine what type of cut would be best for your face shape and facial features. These two things will determine how long the top, sides and back of the cut should be. While oval faces can support almost any cut, round faces require more hair to slim the face, triangular faces require hair that is kept close to the crown to even out wide cheekbones, and square faces can use wavy bangs to lighten up the sharp angles of the jaw. Take your time and make the cut barber shop quality.
Crew cuts can be properly done in variations of short, semishort and medium length. In a short crew cut, the back and sides are cut significantly shorter than the top. In a semishort crew cut, the sides and back are a little longer, and in a medium length crew cut, the sides and back are almost as long as the top. Generally, in barber shop technique, the edging and siding are done before the top area is trimmed and shaped. To edge and side the sides and back, use the following technique: use a coarse clipper blade at the left sideburn. Cut upward to the hatband. Tilt the heel of the clipper back and continue upward, running off the side of the head. Repeat this movement to the back of the head for an even taper. Once the edging and siding are done, trim the top of the hair with a clipper, finishing off any uneven spots with a comb and shears. The top must be “graduated in length from the front hairline to the back part of the crown” as stated in “Milady’s Standard Textbook of Professional Barber-Styling.” The graduated length of the top hair should conform to the general curve of the wearer’s head shape.
In a brush cut, the sides and back of the head are cut to a short crew cut length. The top of the hair is kept one-quarter to one-half inch over the entire top of the head. The top cut should follow the natural contour of the head. This is especially important in a brush cut because the hair is so close to the scalp that the shape of the head is more noticeable.
The quo vadis is a short cut developed for curly hair that may get unruly when long and look uneven when cut short with a crew cut or brush cut. When done properly, the quo vadis will “achieve an even and smooth cut over the entire head,” as stated by "Milady." Use the #1 clipper blade to cut the hair close to the scalp. Go over once, using a clipper on the entire head. Follow a strip pattern when using the clipper. A #000 clipper can be used for the neck. Eliminate any patches or irregularities by going back over the head with the same clipper.
In a fade, the hair is kept close at the nape and sides. Gradually, the hair becomes longer toward the crown and is longest on top. Take a #1 clipper blade and start at the center of the back of the nape. Cut the sides using the next size up in clipper blades. Lightly trim the top section so that it remains the longest. With some practice, you will be able to fade the lines of each length with ease and precision.
- “Milady’s Standard Textbook of Professional Barber-Styling”; Milady; 1998