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The ducktail, also called the D.A., taper and shingle cut, is a classic women's cut. The short, tapered cut hugs the neckline and nape, gradually getting fuller in the crown and on top of the head. The hair over the ears, exposed in this style, gets a severe trimming and is kept close to the side of the head. The cut gets it's name from the way the cut is styled -- feathered in at the nape to resemble a ducks butt.

Wet down the hair and pin it up and out of the way, above the occipital bone, the prominent bone on the back of the head.

Create a 1/2-inch, vertical part in the center nape of the head, underneath the occipital bone. Clamp the section between the first two fingers of your left hand with the back of your hand toward the scalp and your fingers at the bottom hairline. Slide your hand out slightly without moving the tips of your fingers, creating an angle that gets closer to the head at the bottom hairline. Cut the hair on the outside of your fingers following the angle of your fingers.

Cut all the nape hair the same way, using each cut as a guide for the next cut. Remove the hair clips.

Comb all the hair back and cut it off in a horizontal line at the occipital bone. Use the cuts you made at the top of the nape as your guide for this cut.

Cut out around the ears. Comb the hair in every direction around the ears and cut away the hair following the natural curve of the hairline.

Taper the sides of the hair in the same manner as the nape, using the hairline above the ears as your bottom guide. Start toward the back, behind the ears so you can use the hair that you cut in the nape as a guide.

Comb the hair on top of the head straight up. Cut it all to about three inches in length, using thin, horizontal sections. Make sure the cuts connect to the cuts on the sides and the nape.

Comb the front forward and even up the outline of the bangs. Comb the hair out from the head in every direction, checking for long or uneven places. If you find a long piece, even it up with the rest.


Always hold your hands at the same angle when tapering hair. Altering the angle slightly can change the shape of the cut dramatically.

About the Author

Kathy Mayse

Kathy Mayse began her writing career as a reporter for "The Jackson-County Times Journal" in 2001. She was promoted to assistant editor shortly after. Since 2005, she has been busy as a successful freelancer specializing in Web content. Mayse is a licensed cosmetologist with more than 17 years of salon experience; most of her writing projects reflect this experience.