Head Anatomy for Barbers and Hair Dressers

How to Cut Hair at Home – Anatomy

Now that you’re all set up in the right environment with the proper tools it’s time to take a look at the head as this is the part of the body you are going to be working around in order to perform a haircut. As we begin this section I think it’s important that we cover a little bit of anatomy so that when I say the nape, you know what part of the head I am referring to.

The main areas or points of reference when cutting hair are, the crest, interior, exterior, fringe, front, back, sides, perimeter, nape, crown and occipital.

  • The crest is the widest part of the head and is shaded in gray in the diagram below.
  • The interior portion of the head is the whole area above the crest.
  • The exterior portion of the head is that which is located below the crest of the head.
  • The front of the head is located from the ears forward to the face and the back of the head is considered to be the area from the ears to the back of the head.
  • The sides of the head are located from the crest down.
  • The fringe is a small section in the interior, front portion of the head. The perimeter is the entire outside of the design.
  • The occipital bone is located in the lower back portion of the head. You can feel a protruding bone in the back of your head. This is your occipital bone.
  • The nape is located below the occipital bone and the crown located diagonally back from the eyes, in the center of the head.
  • The crown is a place where you will find a strong growth pattern. It’s important to either cut the hair in this section really short or leave it longer than the rest of the hair in order to keep it from sticking up on end. It also helps to work against the growth when cutting this section of hair.

I’ll explain a little more about this later on when I’m showing the haircut.

Now that you know the parts of the head let’s talk about choosing what cut to do.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when determining what would look the best based on the features you have to work with. The information I’m about to share with you is knowledge that a professional stylist uses before giving you his or her “advice”.  The first thing you should know about face shapes is that an oval face shape is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing or ideal. It’s a fact that a small percentage of people actually have an oval face shape. Therefore, it’s the job of the hair stylist to make up for it by how she/he cuts the shape of the hair. The four main face shapes, other than oval are:

Face Shapes

  1. Round– For this face shape the person needs to have height added either in the bang area or the crown. Basically, as long as you add height to the top of the head either by cutting layers or by styling, it will offset the roundness of the face.
  2. Square-Added height will help elongate this face shape as well. Another thing that helps is creating curvy lines or roundness to the haircut. You can do this by angling the front starting just below the cheek bones. You can also create layers which will add width to the style decreasing the angles of the square face shape.
  3. Triangular or pear-shaped– This face shape is usually wider in the jaw area and narrower at the temples and above. This face shape would benefit from a haircut with added width at the temple and above and sleekness at the jawline.
  4. Long or rectangular– In order to give this face shape a more pleasing outlook you would need to add volume to the hair on the sides of the head You could also add bangs to shorten the appearance of a long face.

Now that we’ve taken the person’s face shape into consideration, we also have to look at the neck and shoulders to determine how the hairline should be cut. If the person has a short neck, they may benefit from a haircut with added height. If the person has a long neck, width can be added to the haircut to fill in the space between the head and shoulders.

As far as shoulders, if the person has really broad shoulder, they may benefit from a round or curved hairline. If they have narrow shoulders, a squared off hairline may be more appealing. Last but not least we have to look at the existing biological features the person has regarding how much hair they have on their head and what direction(s) does it grow in.

For example, does the person have a receding hairline? Is there any balding? Does the person have any cowlicks that would stand up if cut too short or in the wrong direction? You may be wondering what to do after you’ve noted all of these features. I will answer those questions a little bit later on when we’re doing the haircut.

Believe it or not, you are up to the point where you will actually begin the process of cutting. There is a specific sequence of actions to take during a haircut. It begins with sectioning the hair.

Main image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heeymaqqi2/