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In barbering, line-ups, or "edge-ups," provide defined borders for edges of a style. Because African American hair is generally coarse and dense, new hair growth can muddle the definition of a line up in only a week's time. If you don't want to spend time at the barbershop every week, or would like to freshen up a friend's hairline, take some time to find out how you can line up African American hair at home.

Remove any guards from your hair trimmers or clippers, and then brush away any hair that may be built up between the blades.

Start at either side of the front of your subject's hairline, with the blades of the clippers orientated horizontally to the hairline.

Begin trimming about a centimeter across the subject's hairline, and then trim to the other side of his brow. Use several wide trims to move from one side of the hairline to the other.

Trim the hair along one of your subject's temples so that it intersects with the top edge of hair at a 75 to 85 degree angle. This cut should only take one or two passes. Repeat for the other temple. You want both sides of temple hair to be an even distance from the center of your subject's head.

Round out the base of the temple hair, on both sides of your subject's head, into the forward areas of the sideburns. Use the outside edge of your clippers' blade to make elliptical cuts, from the base of each template into the forward area of the sideburns. Reference the first elliptical cut while you cut the other side.

Line up the back of your subject's head and neck. Trim from the sides first. Start at one side of the base of your subject's head, then make a vertical, and slightly inward, cut down his or her neck. Make low and tight elliptical cuts around the sides of your subject's ear. Use the outside edge of your clippers' blade to make the cuts. Take away a minimal amount of hair.

Trim the nape of your subject's neck. Make a horizontal trim across the bottom of your subject's hairline, roughly 1 1/2 inches above the very top of your subject's neck.

Pour several drops of aftershave or rubbing alcohol on your fingers, and then pat the solution along the entire trimmed hairline. If you use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the line-up, dust a bit of baby powder to counteract the harshness of the alcohol and to dry it up as well.


If you have to apply more than a small amount of downward pressure to line up the front of your subject's hairline, oiling your blades can improve effectiveness of your clippers. Apply one drop of blade oil to the center of the clippers' blades, and then use a hairbrush to work the oil along the width of the blades.

If there is clear distinction between the subject's hairline and the new growth in front of it, you can use the new hair as a guide for your trim. If there is little distinction between new and old growth, try to follow the natural curve of your subject's head.

About the Author

Quinten Plummer

Quinten Plummer began writing professionally in 2008. He has more than six years in the technology field including five years in retail electronics and a year in technical support. Plummer gained his experience in music by producing for various hip-hop acts and as lead guitarist for a band. He now works as a reporter for a daily newspaper.