Next time you visit the barber, you’ll likely get a better result if you can bandy a few of these essential terms…
Your barber will give you four main textures to choose from: thinned out and razored, which suit thick hair, as well as layered and choppy, which add volume to thin hair. Thinning out refers to using a special type of scissor and techniques called ‘shattering’ or ‘slicing’ to take some volume out of an unruly mane, while razored means using a straight razor to flatten out long, voluminous hair with a natural-looking finish. But if your hair is thinning on top, layering your locks at different lengths creates the appearance of depth and volume, and a choppy texture refers to cutting strands at different lengths (‘point cutting’) to add volume.
A point cut is when the barber creates a spiky ‘saw tooth’ effect by cutting strands at a 45-degree angle, also leaving some strands longer than others for a rough, textured look. On the other hand, a blunt cut refers to the barber holding the scissors horizontally to your head so your locks are all cut at the same length. Using clippers is the other technique you can employ, utilising guards of various lengths — a No.1 or 2 exposes your scalp while an 8 leaves plenty of length on top.
You mightn’t see it but everyone else does, so make sure you choose the best style of neckline from your three options. A tapered neckline shortens the hair once it reaches the natural neckline, which grows out nice and evenly when the hair grows back in. That’s as opposed to a blocked neckline — cut in a sharp straight line across the nape of the neck — or a rounded neckline — the same as the blocked, only with the corners rounded off — which both require maintenance to prevent them from growing out untidily.
A phrase you’ll certainly hear bandied about the barber shop, particularly because most men’s haircuts involve some sort of taper, which simply means the gradual shortening of hair from the top of your head to the neckline. It’s a similar concept to the fade — the key difference being the finishing length of a fade tends to be much shorter and performed with clippers, with a sharper finish than a taper cut with scissors.
Arches refer to the space between your ear at your hairline — and this is a no-brainer for most blokes, who keep their natural arch, rather than going to the trouble of maintaining a high arch, which exposes a bit of scalp around the ear.