barbering techniques for beginners

If you’re someone who’s putting up a haircut business or just a DIY enthusiast, learning some barbering techniques for beginners will save you from the “rough patch”. Cutting someone’s hair is easy; the hardest part is making it look good after the snipping session. And this is where most of the newbie problem starts to show up like a failing comb-over.

Learning the basics is the foundation of advanced techniques. Mastering cutting techniques will be a good start if you’re serious about this skill or career. As a quick guide, here are essential facts you should know:

Basic cutting techniques

Before you try your hand on different cutting tools, you should know first how each one will work on the hair. For beginners, all barbering tools are called scissors. This is one thing you should debunk first before having your first customer or trying your skills on your own locks.


This basic cutting technique can also be used as a finish where the hair of the person gets blunt or fine edges. This is usually done on the hairline including the neck hairline at the back of the head. Clippering has different types including freehand and with an attachment.

When it comes to freehand clipping, the finish is more sculpted and blunted. However, these barbering techniques for beginners will require a higher level of hand discipline on the part of the barber. Clippering with an attachment, on the other hand, allows the layering of the hair together with the same blunt finish. This is easier to control than freehand clipping.

barbering techniques for beginners

-Scissor cutting

Using plain scissors for haircutting is quite a non-traditional method. First, it doesn’t give the same level of control as other custom haircutting tools. Nevertheless, scissor cutting will give a blunt finish. If the barber wants to layer the hair, a scissor over comb can be used. This also isn’t a traditional method and will require first-hand practice before trying on a client or an actual hair.

Scissor trimming can also be used on beards. Trying scissor cutting on this part of your body can actually be a good start if you’re planning to cut other person’s hair on the future.

-Razor cutting

For bulky hair that requires a quick fix, razors are usually used. Take note that razors produce an uneven finish and the texture of the hair would normally become rough. Razor cutting is usually followed by a finishing technique which you’ll discover as we go on. This works best with long and thick hair that will be groomed for a thinner look.

Razor cutting can also be paired with a comb for more control. But this will still produce an uneven surface but with layers and texture. Both of these razor techniques are a quick fix for very thick locks that will take time to remove using clippers or scissors. Although one of the known barbering techniques for beginners, it requires practice.

Types of haircuts

Haircuts aren’t just a matter of a short or a long one. There are certain types that you should know and how each one is done.

-Uniform layer

The basic of all haircuts is the uniform layer finish. This is where the hair has equal lengths all over and is usually done using a clipper. Most of the time, this is the starter cut for newbie barbers. Uniform haircuts are based in the shape of the head and can be done for both men and women.

It’s important to determine that starting length as well as the cutting guides in the scalp. Once the sectioning is done, the hair can be cut based on the sections nearby.


The graduation haircut is one of the trendy types nowadays where the sides and back of the head are short and the top is longer. The hair shortens as it goes down to the sides and back. It somehow evolved from the mullet where the hair is long at the back. Take note that the graduation haircut doesn’t have a demarcation line since the length of the hair gradually shortens from top to bottom.

As one of the barbering techniques for beginners, this will need clipping, texturizing, and trimming. The end style will depend on the look you or your customer wants.

-Solid form

This type of haircut looks like a solid bob where the top hair is long and it gets shorter but with the same length. Solid form haircuts are done with the use of a clipper and a comb with a depth of one finger or less. Take note that when you cut the hair with the one-finger depth, your finger should be parallel to the parting of the tresses.

One important factor here is that the head is still so the hair is on its normal placement, otherwise, the cut would look like a graduated one. A successful solid form cut has a smooth, relaxed texture. It runs the longest on the top of the head and shortest on the nape.

barbering techniques for beginners

-Increase layer

To make it simple, the increased layer haircut is the opposite of a graduation haircut. The hair gets longer on the sides and back and is usually the foundation haircut of a mullet. The top hair remains normally thick but shorter than the sides and back. This gives more volume on the hair and it makes the locks well distributed across the head. It’s sometimes called a square layer since it gives a geometric-like shape.

As one of the barbering techniques for beginners, an increased layer haircut would likely have a rough surface. It’s usually done in a stationary manner as a guideline but it can vary depending on the style that you want to achieve.

Finishing techniques

So after removing large amounts of hair from someone else’s head, you should know how to perform some finishing. Finishing techniques are important so the haircut will look sleek, well-groomed, and properly trimmed. Like what I said earlier, it isn’t just about making a guy’s hair short. It should look as suave as it can possibly be!


A line out finish gives the haircut a sleek look due to the emphasis in the parting of the hair. It’s the process of putting a demarcation line in the haircut for a cleaner look. This shapes the perimeter of the hair for a better outline.

Guys love this finish as it allows them to be creative with their hair. Even women also try line outs on the sides of their scalp. It’s a subtle styling that’s easy to do for an experienced barber but would require practice for a newbie to avoid over-lining the hair.

-Nape shaping

Shaping the back of the head is as important as shaping the sides and front. As one of the barbering techniques for beginners, nape shaping is done in graduated and even solid form haircuts. Although it looks simple, poor nape shaping can bring the disaster to your haircut service. Nape shaping can be an avenue for creativity but overdoing it can cause an unsightly finish.

Tapering the back of the head should match the styling of the overall haircut. Taking a step back and giving it a look will be a good way to check if you’re doing nape shaping properly. Remember that the nape will give the impression of the person when he’s on his back. So careful on that one!

barbering techniques for beginners

-Clipper guard work

If you’re using a variety of clips on your clippers, you should be careful before switching one after the other. The size of the clip guard will determine how thick the hair finish will be. Clip guard sizes can range from 0-8 where 0 is the thinnest and 8 is the thickest. Thicker clip guards are used for tapering purposes but it can also be an important tool for thick hair intended to be styled differently. But how important clip guards are?

Clip guards are the master tools when you’re making a graduated haircut. The right combination here is crucial to avoid sudden thinness.

-Freehand clipper

A freehand clipper finish is a barber’s way of sculpting the haircut for a precise look. You should know that as you use a free hand clipper, you should maintain a look at how the thickness of the hair is going. It’s important, too, that you use a clip guard that suits the styling your customer wants. It’s one of the barbering techniques for beginners but always overlooked.

Freehand clipping is an excellent way to achieve a graduation haircut, but like what I said earlier, it takes a certain level of practice to achieve it well. The challenge here is to make the fade of the haircut equal in both sides.

Barbering techniques for beginners

Now that we’ve gone through the basics, it’s time that you dive into the more technical aspects of barbering. The following techniques actually still count as a basic. But it’s a massive level up from the simple cutting or shortening of someone’s hair.


Texturizing is the process of adding an “edgy” look to the haircut. This involves the use of razors, clippers, and fading techniques. Sometimes, lineouts are also done for a sleeker look together with layers for added volume. When we talk about textured haircuts, I can’t help but think about Zayn Malik’s lineouts and graduated look.

For those with wavy or curly hair, opting for a longer cut would be best if texturizing is to be applied. Take note that texturized hair would need regular trims since the hair will grow back and the fading effect on the sides and back may start to look thicker.

-Blunt Cutting

As one of the barbering techniques for beginners, blunt cutting is for those who want a softer feel for their hair. It has less edgy and geometric resemblance but it still provides a shaped and clean look. Blunt cuts can have graduated sides but with no line outs. When I try to imagine blunt haircuts, I keep on remembering Korean guys with those clean and soft look.

Blunt haircuts are best for thin hair or those who want a clean look that won’t require much maintenance or styling. This type of cut can provide shape and structure as long as the barber knows how to navigate on different hair types.

-Clipper over comb

Using a comb below a clipper is done for better control of the amount of hair the barber intends to remove. This gives accuracy on the volume of the hair that has to be retained and avoiding the dreaded bald spots. It’s a good way to shape a haircut, especially textured ones or a graduated style. Once you placed the comb on the right amount of hair, you can gently swipe the clipper across. You can comb the hair right away to see if more has to be removed.

-Scissor over comb

Scissor over comb is a technique used for minimal finishing. Like how the comb functions with the clipper, it controls the amount of hair that will be cut. These barbering techniques for beginners are done to keep the square look at the back that can’t be done using a razor or a clipper.

Make sure to do the scissor over comb technique in columns to avoid over-cutting the nape area. Always take a step back to ensure that you’re not thinning the hair too much.

-Shaping Up

If there’s one barber technique you can’t fail at, it would be the shaping up phase. Avoid eating the hairline or over-shaving the sides to the point that it’s no longer possible for a graduated design unless the person says so.

Always try to achieve a fuller look and shape the cut first before applying finishing clips and shaves. You should also have a set of detailers to achieve an impeccable look on the haircut.

These barbering techniques for beginners are important to master before setting up a haircut business or trying your skills on someone else. It will save you from the shame of leaving an unsightly spot on the scalp of your friend or a client. Do you know more of these techniques? Let us know below in the comment section!