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Last updated: February 09, 2024

Line Ups: Dos & Don’ts Every Barber Should Know

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Photo credit: Instagram via @babyliss4barbers

Master The Classic Line Up: 5 Steps You Must Take

Whether you’re elevating a fresh cut or seeing your biweekly client, mastering a line up can make or break your books. We tapped BaBylissPRO® barber Dayna Gamba (DG, @dgcuts) to share her best tips and absolute don’ts when it comes to this barbering must-know. Keep scrolling for a handful of must-know tips before taking a trimmer to your client’s cut. 


1. Line Ups Are Not For Everyone, Here’s Why

Not every client needs a line up to finish off their haircut. DG says, “A line up is best for clients with a stronger, squared look or appearance. They’re typically angular (mostly square-shaped) and that is something you need to take into consideration during the consultation.”



2. Key Things To Avoid When Lining Up A Client

A line up is essentially the finishing touch or a contoured refresh of a client’s haircut. This is purely detail work, so being sure to reshape, not recut any lines or structure is super important. 


  • Never push back or cut into the hairline.
  • Be aware of recession points.
  • Analyze your client’s natural hair growth, it is common to have an uneven hairline.
  • Keep lines balanced against the client’s face shape. Be mindful if your client has a naturally square head, you won’t want to completely square up the line up to avoid an overly boxy look.


Watch DG’s line up demo on a haircut client with finer hair texture:



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3. Add-On Or Part Of A Haircut? What To Offer

Similar to other appointment “extras,” line ups can be offered as an add-on service, charged separately as it’s own service or grouped into haircut pricing. 


“This depends on the individual barber, but for me, I always add a line up into my service IF it would make the haircut complete,” DG explains. 


4. How To Work With Thin Vs. Coarse Hairlines

“Never force anything that isn’t there,” DG explains. A lot of clients will come to your chair expecting something they’re not a fit for, and that’s okay! Explain to your client that although line ups are popular, they aren’t for everyone.


On the other hand, working with dense hair textures will require a lot of debulking. “If someone has really thick hair I always remove the bulk using a clipper going against the grain. This helps to layer the hair before I go in for a smooth line up.”


5. Using Your Client’s Face Shape As A Guide

No two line ups should look the same and even more importantly, not every line up will be super angular. “I always say, you’ll know what’s right for your client if you try to make them look like the best version of themselves,” DG says.


If your client has a round face shape, creating a square hairline or structured beard line will not balance their features. Similarly, using square shapes on a client with square features will make them look unrealistic. Take time to listen to your client’s preferences and evaluate both sides of their face for symmetry to best balance their line up. 


Up next: Travis Kelce’s Barber Talks Clipper Vs. Trimmer Blades

Photo credit: Instagram via @patty_cuts

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