Dear Valued Barber Shop Patron,
If you are African American and over the age of twenty, your failsafe haircut is probably a taper of some sort. Why is this? Most likely because you feel like fades are played out and an even all around is just too conservative, so you invariably ask for an even cut with a fade on the sides and the back. This way you’ve alleviated looking like an adolescent and a baby boomer with one signature hairstyle. But after you’ve worn a taper for year or two, you start feeling like your hair cut is not reflective of your swag, but you don’t want the Usher shag hawk, or the TI high bald fade. What you should do is keep the taper but add some flair to it.
You most likely get a taper that looks like this: What you should understand is that tapers are like finger prints, no two are alike. Even if you ask your barber to give you the same hair cut as the person that just got out of the chair, unavoidably, your taper will be different even if it looks the same to your naked eye. What makes a taper is the gradient, that is the degree to which your hair blends from dark to light in that region. The taper that I have just shown has a low gradient, meaning that the blend from dark to light is tight, as opposed to being lengthy. The taper that I am using at the top of the post has a high gradient, because the blend from dark to light stretches almost from the top to the temple. The blend has a lot of length.
If you have a master barber, he or she should be able to adjust your gradient with ease. But how do you determine what gradient suits your hair and face? Allow me to explain it this way. Ten years ago, there was an unspoken barber philosophy that high gradient fades look better on lighter skinned clients and low gradient fades look better on darker skinned clients. Here are two more examples: <img
However, since barbers have started to understand the weightiness of the cut differently(this means the darkness of the hair surrounding the taper) we have begun to understand that anyone can receive a drastic gradient if the weight is adjusted accordingly. If you wear the traditional taper with a low gradient, try a high gradient, or if you typically wear a high gradient, try it low. IF your bored with the gradient, vary the depth of the taper, meaning push it almost to the back of the ear for a younger, flyer look. Here is an example:
If you really want to get creative, try only tapering around the ears:
Other things you can do are raise and lower the taper in the back, add a part or two, round out the back or go with a V-back, like a mohawk would have. Sometimes simply tapering the front with a deep taper can completely change your entire look. Remember, that since no two tapers are alike, there is no blueprint, think about how you really want to look and a taper, done correctly should be able to take you there.
Master Barber at The Loft La Brea Elite Men’s Grooming
351 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles 90036