Tapered haircuts are cut so the shortest hair is around the lower sides and back, and they gradually get longer higher up. The goal is nice, smoothly tapered sides with a gradual change from skin color to the hair’s color. Here are some things that make the goal harder to achieve, and what you can do about them.
a. The “fat roll” or wrinkle problem.
Some heavier folks have a fat roll on the back of their head. The older generation can have a deep wrinkle or two back there. These conditions leave a kind of crevasse back there, and it looks like you’ve left a dark line across the back of their head. The two possible cures for this are:
1. Leave the hair longer. A more full approach to the hair can hide the problem, but you may end up with the hair not lying very well in that area.
2. Give the hair a close cutting up to the trouble spot, and then start your tapering above it. This is usually the best approach, but which one you go with depends the hair and what they want.
b. A change in color.
A head of hair typically goes grey low around the sides and back, and moves upward over time. Despite a perfect taper done to the hair, where grey meets darker hair will look like it needs more cutting on the darker hair. Like the first problem above, the hair can be left longer, or cut it short up to the darker hair, and begin your tapering from there.
c. Bed head or hat hair.
If your customer’s hair has kinks or bends from being slept on or from wearing a hat, you can’t get a nice smooth taper on the hair. This common problem is easily solved by first wetting the hair with a spray bottle, and doing the top cutting first. Then use a blow dryer and brush to dry the hair–water softens the hair and when it’s dry, the kinks are gone.
d. Dirty scalp.
Dirt or dandruff on the scalp makes it impossible to get the gradual shading/color change you want. Educate them about the need for a clean scalp, or shampoo it for them.
A good teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.