How To: Short Graduated Cut

How to cut a short graduated haircut
By definition a “graduated haircut” is an “effect or haircut that results from cutting the hair with tension, and low to medium elevation or over-direction”. Many graduated cuts also have a stacked area around the exterior.
As with other “haircuts”, the term “short 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.
For a short graduated cut, the fringe will be elevated to a 45-degree angle and cut using a vertical cutting line. 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 elevated to 45 degrees and cut with vertical cutting lines as well. The diagram shown gives you the lengths to create a classic short 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.
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.
5. Lower the sectioned hair one-half section at a time and cut it using the 45-degree 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. Once you’ve cut all of the sections of the hair, cross-check the layering by combing slices in the opposite direction in which the hair was cut. Look for pointy angles and protrusions that indicate hairs that were missed as the sections were sliced and cut. Trim these away to blend with the rest of the layers.
When the hair is cut, style it as desired. Depending on the particular lengths of such cuts the hair can blow-dry styled and/or curled with a wet set or heated tools.
Stacy - Hair Stylist     ©
See also:
How to cut a short stacked bob
What are the benefits of a uniform layers, short graduation, long graduation and a one length cut?