Cutting hair at home is a step taken by many families in an effort to save money, given these difficult economic times. However, not everyone is skilled in cutting hair. While it is easy to give a buzz cut that leaves all the hair a uniform length, not everyone is familiar with how to give a taper haircut using a clipper.
The most common form of taper cut is known as an old fashioned haircut. Here, the hair is divided into four zones. The hair on top is left at a length of approximately four inches. From this, an angled adaptor is used with a clipper to create layers that vary from the shortest setting for that adaptor to the longest. Zone two is cut with an adaptor that ranges from two inches on the short side to 4 inches on the long. This is measured across the width of the clipper blades.
Zone three goes from one to two inches. Zone four is one half to one inch. The clipper is moved in a sidewise manner around the head to create each zone with the shorter side being toward the bottom of the hair in all. This creates a taper from four inches to one half inch that is uniform and allows the layers to blend together.
People with very straight hair or those who wish to taper from a longer length to a short one may need their hair divided into eight or more zones or layers. The angle adaptor for each zone may need to have a smaller angle and create less difference than with the old fashioned.
Another occasion for the use of less angling is when creating a true buzz cut. Here, the taper is as little as one and half inches to a half inch. Again the hair is divided into zones or layers and cut in a circular pattern around the head.
Learning how to give a taper haircut is one of the first skills mastered by professional barbers. This is because most men prefer to have some taper in the length of their hair, especially in the back and sides. Leaving the hair a uniform length in these regions makes it more difficult to style and leaves it thicker than is comfortable to most men. Whether one is creating a style in four or eight layers, the methodology is the same. The difference lies in the beginning length and how short the shortest portion of the hair is to be.