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Anatomy of the Head

Become a master of hair cutting by first studying the anatomy of the head


When talking about head shapes and the anatomy of the head, think about a dress and how it can look very different depending on which body is wearing it. In this same way, head shape can drastically effect the look and outcome of a hair cut. If someone has a large Occipital Bone, then a short tapered look probably won't lay down very well. Let's say your client has a strong parietal ridge and they're looking for roundness on the top of their head, what do you do?

Read below to better understand the anatomy of the head and hopefully you can appreciate how covering the basics is the proper foundation for perfect hair cutting results.

1. Crown

The Crown of the head is a semi-circular area on the upper back of the skull. The Crown starts right above the Occipital Bone and circles to the top of the head, just where it start to round out from the top to the bottom. This is usually the section that is referred to when you are back-combing the hair.

If your client has a very flat crown, this will effect how much volume you can achieve. A good way to combat a flat Crown, is to cut shorter interior pieces that will lift the hair up slightly. Just beware of cowlicks before doing so!

2. Top

The Top of the head is the area that is in front of the Crown and extends to the forehead. Things to keep in mind when cutting the top of the hair is how round, flat or concave it is. For example, often times people will have a slope that ascends from the front of the head, to the back. If this is the case (especially on shorter cuts and men's cuts) keep in mind that you may have to adjust your hair cutting line accordingly.

3. Parietal Ridge

The Parietal Ridges are the points where the top of the head curves down to become the sides and starts approximately 3 finger-widths above the top of your clients ear. If your head was a square, it would be the corners.

The Parietal Ridge can sometimes protrude or be more concave. Make sure to check the shape of the ridges to determine if the sides and the top of the hair should be connected in more square or round shape.

4. Occipital Bone

The Occipital bone is a small, knotted protrusion where the base of the skull joins to the back of the neck. Often times people will have Occipital Bones that stick out more than others. This can cause the hair to kick up in the back and should be taken into consideration when doing shorter hair cuts.

5. Nape

The Nape is the area that is just below the Occipital Bone and extends down to the hairline. This is a section where you will often find cowlicks and irregular hairlines. Always assess the nape and any cowlicks before cutting the hair short in this section.

A great trick for an unruly hairline, is to undercut the hairline which will allow the hair on top of it to lay flat.

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