Layering and Graduation Techniques with Scissors

Layering and Graduation Techniques with Scissors


Layering and graduation are fundamental hair cutting techniques used to create volume, texture, and shape in a hairstyle. These techniques can be achieved using scissors, and the choice of scissor type and cutting method plays a crucial role in the results. Here's an overview of layering and graduation techniques with scissors:

  1. Layering:

Layering involves cutting the hair into distinct, evenly spaced layers. It is a versatile technique used to add volume, movement, and texture to the hair. There are several ways to approach layering with scissors:

  • Elevated Cutting: Hold the hair at a specific angle away from the head and cut to create layers. The angle and elevation determine the length and angle of the layers.
  • Over-Directed Cutting: This technique involves combing the hair in the opposite direction of its natural fall (over-directing) to create graduated layers. It is often used for styles like the classic bob.
  • Point-Cutting: To soften the edges of layers and create a textured look, point-cutting can be employed. Hold the scissors vertically and make small, upward cuts into the hair ends.
  • Slide Cutting: Slide cutting is a technique where the scissors are partially opened and slid down the hair to create soft, subtle layers. It is often used to add texture to longer styles.
  1. Graduation:

Graduation, also known as a graduated haircut, is a technique where the hair is cut at a steeper angle, resulting in a shorter back and longer front. It is commonly used in styles like the A-line bob. To achieve graduation with scissors:

  • Over-Directed Cutting: Similar to layering, over-directing the hair forward or backward can create graduation. The angle of over-direction determines the steepness of the graduation.
  • Elevated Cutting: By elevating the hair and cutting it at an angle, you can achieve a gradual increase in length from the nape to the crown, creating a graduated effect.
  • Combining Layering and Graduation: Often, haircuts incorporate both layering and graduation to achieve a specific style. For instance, a bob haircut may involve graduated layers for the back and layered, texturized ends for the front.


  • Work methodically and section the hair properly to ensure even and balanced layering or graduation.
  • Use the right type of scissors for the technique you're employing. Straight-bladed scissors are ideal for precision cuts, while curved-bladed scissors can add softness to layers.
  • Maintain even tension while holding and cutting the hair to achieve precise results.
  • Consult with your client to understand their preferences and customize the layering and graduation to suit their desired style.

Remember that layering and graduation are techniques that require practice and skill to master. The choice of scissors, your cutting technique, and your attention to detail will influence the final look of the hairstyle. With practice and experience, you'll become more adept at creating layered and graduated styles that suit a wide range of client preferences.

Back to blog