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How To: Long Graduated Cut

The long graduated haircut is traditionally a cut for women who want an especially long layered look. As with other “haircuts”, the term “long graduated cut” can refer to a wide variety of specific looks, since the key techniques of the cut consist of tension in the segment being cut and the use of 45-degree or smaller cutting angles and overdirection. {Overdirection is the technique of elevating the hair beyond the 90-degree – or straight out from the head – position, in the direction opposite the way the hair would naturally fall. It is used to create increased layers in the interior and at the perimeter of the hair.} In the case of the long graduated cut, the overdirection enables the stylist to add layers to the longer hair more easily and to balance the amount of bulk in the given style.
 
long graduated haircut As it was in a short graduated haircut, the fringe will be elevated to a 45-degree angle and cut using a vertical cutting line in the long graduated cut. The top and crown sections are going to be elevated straight out from the head (at 90 degrees) and cut, and the side and nape sections will be over-directed or elevated to a reversed 45 degrees and cut with vertical cutting lines as well. Here, the concept of a “reversed 45 degree elevation” and “over-direction” means that the hair is lifted beyond the point at which it stands straight out from the head and is held at what would be a 45-degree angle if the client were upside down. The diagram shown gives you the lengths to create a long graduated cut.
 
To start, you should:
 
1. Section the hair in a standard seven-section parting, separating the sides, and top into three sections, the crown should be divided into two equal sections roughly triangular shaped, and the nape area is divided into two equal halved down the center. Click here for illustrations on sectioning the hair for cutting.
 
2. Determine your desired lengths for the front, back and sides and cut a small guide to mark this length. Cross-check your side lengths by bringing them together in front or back to make sure they line up correctly. If the two ends meet at a central point in front or in back, then they are even. If not, bring the strands together at a central point and trim the excess length from the longer end.
 
3. Cut your forward sections first to allow you to re-secure the hair out of the client’s face once you are done. Use a 45-degree elevation at the fringe and forward top section, increase the elevation to 90-degrees as you move back along the head.
 
4. Move to the back section next and cut your perimeter length as desired. Work from the back center to the left and right and cut the perimeter as desired for the style. Cross-check your side cuts as you go to ensure balance and evenness in the cut. Be sure to raise the hair to the over-directed angle to ensure the proper layering depth.
 
5. Lower the sectioned hair one-half section at a time and cut it using the over-directed elevation and vertical cutting line. Work from center back to each side alternating between slices to make sure to keep the cutting balanced. As you finish a half-section, lower more hair and repeat the process.
 
6. Alternately, you can lower the hair from the top down and cut the hair in the opposing direction. Keep the over-directed elevation, but simply cut from the top of the head and work your way down to the nape. Carefully blend out and clean up the perimeter edge of the cut once you’ve completed it.
 
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