Posted by: Angela | May 4, 2010

Giving a Good Men’s Haircut: Trimming

Trimming around the hairline is really what often separates a really great finished look from, “I bet your mom cut your hair in the kitchen.” Trimming should be done on the back of the hairline, up the sides and around the ears. This will extend the life of your haircut, and give a more professional look to the client.  Usually trimming is much easier when done with a… trimmer. Amazing, I know.

If you have a house full of boys or even if you are the sole stylist for your husband, I would recommend investing.  Trimmers are much easier to navigate, lighter, smaller, and less likely to cut  your loved one when trimming around their ear. If you are still unconvinced, yes, I concede, clippers work too. Just not as well.

The Back of the head. There are a couple small considerations when trimming. Make sure the person you are trimming is holding their head straight forward. Even the slightest angle of the neck will throw off the balance of the edge and bring your line crooked. Trimming children is really hard if they don’t sit still well, so I recommend just fading them to an extra short length on the back and sides.

The second consideration when trimming is not creating an ugly blunt edge. To do this first. . . do just that. Create a firm edge by bringing the edge of the trimmers or clippers straight against the hair and skin. The position of the trimmers in your hand will be opposite of what it is when you are using a clipper comb. Perpendicular rather than parallel, if you will (Note-Don’t press into the skin and you won’t break the skin.)

When trimming the neck line be sure to examine the clients hairline to determine the shape your edge needs to be. Some lines need to be very straight, others need to be more curved at the sides.

Also, with a client who has a “W’ hairline, or one that does not lay straight in a nice line for you to go off of, start your edge just above where the recessed areas end. This ensures that your line has a firm edge all the way across the neck.

Once you have established a nice line on the edge, slide your comb underneath the edge and upward just a little until the hair you just cut is sticking straight out against the comb. With a slight sweeping motion trim off the pointy line of hair that is sticking straight out and release the comb from the hair. When the line edge is lying down as it should you should see a difference with the edge now being softened slightly.

Trick #1. If you are working with longer lengths, instead of pulling hair up at a 90° angle, only pull it up to a 45° angle. This will lesson the amount of “fading” and give a more natural edge line.

Trimming Around Ears. When trimming around the sides and ears use your comb to pull hair straight away from the hair line. In other words, on the side of the back of the head, pull hair towards the ears or side of the neck. On the top on of the ears pull hair straight down toward the ear as well. Side burns- pull toward the ears, and then toward the cheek on the other side. Once hair is diverted away from it’s regular angle, create a firm edge and soften if necessary.

Trick #2. Trimmer and clipper blades use side to side motions to slice the hair that gets caught in between them.  This means that the only way to cut someone with clippers or trimmers is to get a piece of the person between the blades. Cutting someone with trimmers or clippers is most common when moving around the ears, as the curve of that skin sometimes juts out just enough to give a place where skin can get caught. To avoid cutting your client, use your hand to “pin down” the ear. Ears move, it’s awesome!

Next be careful that you don’t bring your clippers too close to the connecting point between the ear and the side of the head- this is the second most common place to cut someone. This is where using trimmers rather than clippers comes in most handy. Clippers are hard to maneuver around this area without either clipping an ear or an gouging into an edge . Use just the clipper “corner” around the ear to keep this from happening.

Odds and Ends. Don’t forget to really finish the trimming by making sure you have trimmed all hair off the ears where hair clearly doesn’t belong and by ridding your client of “crazy eyebrows”.

To Trim Eyebrows. Be careful you don’t take too much off. Use your comb to pull hair straight up against the forehead and trim extra long hairs. Then pull hair straight down toward the eye (always be considerate and cautious when getting close to someone’s eye) and again trim extra long hair. Lastly, poke comb straight through the eyebrow and pull hair straight out and off the head and trim extra long hairs.

*If you want to trim uni-brows now is also a good time, just make sure to not delve to far into the eyebrow shape. Also be sure to keep both sides equal.

*If your client has hair extending down his neck onto his back, be sure to cut it all off, not just what is above the cape or towel. There is nothing more ugly than a hairy neck.. in stripes!

Trick#3. When you are all done have your client stand up and examine their neckline again to be sure it’s straight. For some reason this is the time when a man will really hold his head straight and all of the sudden your straight line is now crooked. If this is the case, have your client remain standing and re-edge the neckline for straightness.

Good Job, you’ve just trimmed with absolute success! Next step.. Scissors… to be continued.



  1. […] Giving a Good Men’s Haircut: Trimming May 2010 4 […]

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