Razored Edges

Shoulder length hair, cut with a razor
Photo: Stockyimages/Shutterstock
Q: What do razored edges look like? Is it like the front of the hair at the bottom is shortest at the very front and gradually gets longer until nearer the back it is all the same length?
If not, is this known as 'forward graduation' or 'angled layers'? What's the difference?! Also, what is the difference in the look between razored layers and normal layers?

A: Depending on the way the razor technique is performed, it can look like any number of traditional layering techniques.
The razor can be used to simply texture the hair and soften and smooth the style, or you can use the razor to perform the haircut in its entirety. You can use the razor to bevel or soften the ends of a blunt cut, to create the "forward graduated cut" you mentioned, or most any haircut.
The difference in razor and scissor cuts is most apparent in the finished look. With a razor you cannot get the completely precise, blunt effect of a scissor cut. If your goal is for a clean, sharp cutting line on a blunt cut, you would do better to use scissors. However, with most layered styles, using a razor will give you a softer look, because in cutting the hair to a certain length, you will have some variation in the finished lengths.
Scissors cut the hair by applying pressure from two sides of the hair at once. Layers are created in a hairstyle using scissors by increasing the elevation of the hair being cut, and adjusting the cutting angle. With a razor, the hair is cut from one side only, and any slice of hair that is cut will be cut at an angle, depending on the tension with which the hair is held and the direction from which pressure is applied with the blade.
The main difference is that using a razor, you can create more smoothly graduated lengths more easily than with scissors. The resulting haircut will appear softer. With scissors you get more-precision in the layering because you can control the angles at which the hair is held and cut. Different styles call for different looks, and choosing the right tool for creating the hairstyle can make a dramatic difference in the finished results.
See also:
How to use a razor tool
Is there a difference between getting a razor cut and a scissors cut?
What is the difference between a beveled cut and layered cut?
Who should get razor cuts and who should not?