Training & Education

Short Graduated Layers – Step-by-Step

by sophieh / last updated February 2, 2021


Short graduated layers is a haircut that is always in demand, so really hone your skills with this step-by-step by TIGI. It’s an oldie but a goodie!

Step One

Step One: Take a central profile parting from the forehead down to the nape

Step Two

Step Two: Start the cut at the front. Comb and elevate the hair at 90 degrees to the head shape and blunt-cut following the curve of the head. Continue working consistently towards the crown using the same technique.

Step Three

Step Three: Note the change of hand position as you work below the crown towards the occipital bone, keep the distribution and elevation at 90 degrees and continue to cut parallel to the head shape.

Step Four

Step Four: Start decreasing the length and transform the layering patten into graduation by changing the hand position.

Step Five

Step Five: Halve the guide with a centre profile parting from the forehead to the nape. Create two horizontal sections from the occipital bone to the ears and graduate the nape area, take slight diagonal forward sections, elevate the hair to 90 degrees and blunt-cut to decrease the length.

Step Six

Step Six: Note the change of hand position and repeat the same technique on the opposite side of the head.

Step Seven

Step Seven: Take a horseshoe section from below the crown to the high point of the recession area. Continue working with slight diagonal forward sections. Comb and elevate each section to 90 degrees and follow the graduation guideline from the centre and the nape.

Step Eight

Step Eight: In front of the ear, maintain distribution and elevation and use a diagonal forward section to complete the graduation.

Step Nine

Step Nine: Take a central vertical parting at the top of the head followed by a radial division from ear to ear across the crown. Using pivoting sections around the crown, comb to 90 degrees and elevate each section to the graduation guideline. Blunt-cut increasing the length towards the top of the head.

Step Ten

Step Ten: Continue with the same technique, building weight in front of the ear using horizontal sections.

Step Eleven

Step Eleven: Overdirect the last two sections back to maintain length within the fringe.

Step Twelve

Step Twelve: Note the change of hand and body position; repeat the same technique on the opposite side.


Styling: Power-dry hair, then use a medium round brush to smooth the cuticle. Parallel point-cut to remove weight and add texture, then freehand channel-cut and point-cut for added detail. Finish with hard wax.

Hair by Nick Irwin for TIGI
Amy Barrington and Donna Allen
Styling: Jiv D
Photographs: Anthony Mascolo and Roberto Aguilar

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