What is a graduated cut?

A hairdresser getting a haircut.

A graduated cut is a hairstyle where the hair is cut at an angle, creating an angular look. This type of style can be applied to chin-length or longer hair. The graduated cut is most commonly worn by women with hair between their chin and shoulder length. While women with hair longer than the top of their shoulders can have a graduated cut, the style is less apparent and less dramatic with these longer lengths.

In most cases, a graduated cut is done so that the hair close to the face is the longest. The hair gets shorter and shorter near the nape of the neck. The hair on each side of the face should be the same length and the graduation on each side of the head should be even to meet at the midpoint of the nape of the neck. It is rare for the graduation angle to go in the other direction as this is a haircut that aims to frame the face.

This type of hairstyle is more common for women with straight hair. The visual effect of the cut should be an acute angle, which is best seen on short straight hair. Curls are less easily tamed into straight lines than straight strands of hair. Women with wavy hair or hair that falls naturally in loose curls sometimes get a graduated cut and then blow-dry their hair daily. By doing this, the angle becomes more visible. To make the angle of the cut especially visible, the hair can be combed perfectly straight with a flat iron.

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Depending on the style of the haircut, the angle of graduation changes. Someone looking for a very urban, edgy, or modern style might get a very severe angle on their graduated cut, somewhere around 45 degrees.

A graduated cut is a style that can be worn with or without bangs. Using bangs in this type of style just allows for a different way of framing the face. If the bangs are cut into the hair with this type of cut, they will usually be cut straight across the forehead and not with any kind of bias.

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