Short Graduation

A classic style, the short graduation is also known as a tapered or short business man’s cut. With this common men’s hair style, the hair is left long enough to be able to come on top and then tapers down in length around the neck and ears. The major benefit of a short graduation is that it’s extremely versatile, and is appropriate for men of any age or lifestyle. As a result, it’s one of the most commonly requested hairstyles. Graduated styles are created by cutting the hair with tension, gradually tapering hair length to some degree. Within this framework there’s a great deal of room to create different look, from conservative to trendy. For example, if you keep the top particularly long and brush it back, you have a pompadour. On the other hand, if you prefer an extremely close cut you will have a fade style. Yet for a short graduation, the length is kept moderate.

Creating a Short Graduation Style

To create any graduated cut or hairstyle, the barber must work in sections, dividing the head up into several segments including the sides, crown, and nape. The barber and client then need to determine how long they agree that these various sections to be. This is where there’s room for great variation within a short graduation style, depending on how long you leave the top and sides. It’s a good idea to mark the desired lengths for the front, back, and sides, by making a small cut as a guide. Be sure to check that the side lengths are equal, or you’ll end up with a lopsided graduated cut. Generally, it’s better to cut the forward sections first, using a 45 degree elevation at the forward top section. You can then increase this elevation to 90 degrees, pulling hair straight up from the head, as you move back along the top of the crown.

After working through all of the various sections, you can then go back and take a look to make sure you didn’t miss any stray hairs or protrusions. If there are odd angles sticking out, these should be blended into the rest of the cut. Once the cut is complete, you can then work on styling the short graduation into the desired shape. The top of the hair will be longer than the sides, which leaves room for shaping it using a blow dryer and hair product.

Tips for Success

  • It’s important to consistently check that the sides and back are evening out as you’re cutting, particularly if you’re using scissors rather than a certain clipper setting.
  • Many barbers find it helpful to start from the top and work down to maintain angle accuracy while cutting a graduated shape.
  • With flexible over lengths on the crown, a short graduation can be styled into a variety of different finished looks. It’s best to be conservative with this top length and then cut it further down to size if desired once the rest of the hair has been cut. By keeping a greater difference between the top and sides, you can create more dramatic angles.
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