If you're arriving at this post without having read "Tips and Tricks for Party Hair: Part 1," please head on over there and check it out, especially if parting natural hair is new to you. In this post, I will be talking about basic part lines and how we use those to form every hairstyle we've ever done, as well as all of my tips for doing those basic parts on your child's head.
The Front-to-Back Part
The simplest part, in theory, and often one of the hardest to execute properly. I will always start this part by making a starter part at both the front and the back of the head, and then fill in the rest of the part once those two "marks" are where I want them.
To make my front "starter mark," I look at the front of the face, lining my pintail comb straight up and down to find the center of the face. Then I will hook a small piece of hair about and inch back from the front of the head, just to demarcate where the beginning of the line should start.
The back "starter mark" is done the same way, except I use the center of the two little "bumps" at the nape of the neck as my center point, and part a little up from there.
I will then use my fingers to roughly separate the hair from the marks in the front and the back (or side to side, as pictured below):
Using the pintail comb, I will go back over that part and make it a little more crisp, making sure to always meet with the first two "starter marks" on both the front and the back of the head. I will take as many passes as necessary to get this line straight.
The "Ear-to-Ear" Part
This is one of the first parts I learned to do. I always think the ear-to-ear part this way: If my daughter were to be wearing a headband, how would it lay across the top of her head? And that's where I put the part.
The part passes across the top of the head
not the crown of the head. Think of the crown as the part of the head that contains the perfect center of the hairline (e.g., if were to wear a beanie on your head, the very center of that beanie would fall on the crown of your head, not the top).
The ear-to-ear part is different from the "side-to-side" part line, about which I will discuss next. The ear-to-ear part line, coupled with the front-to-back part line, will not divide the hair into four equal sections because the top of the ear-to-ear part does not pass the center of the hair line.
To finish the part I will use the same technique as outlined above to make the part straight, beginning with my "starter marks," the finger separating, rough parting, followed by fine-tuning the part. I use ear-to-ear parts for box braids/twists (and yarn extensions), as well as styles like the one shown above.
The "Side-to-Side" Part
As mentioned above, this is a different part than the ear-to-ear part because it crosses the "crown" of the head (not the top of the head). When used with the front-to-back part line it will divide the hair into quadrants (four equal sections). Above is pictured an ear-to-ear part, where you can see that the hair is piled up on the crown of the head.
This is probably the hardest part line to make because you really have to eyeball the center point. It is best to do this part after making the front-to-back part. Once you make the front-to-back part, find the point that would divid that line in half:
Starting from the ear on one side, create a part line from the ear to the center point, the repeat on the other side to get a part line from side-to-side that passes through the crown of the head. I will usually use ear-to-ear parts for styles that require me to center a design on the crown of the head (like the heart pictured below).
The "X-Pattern" Part
This is the last of the basic parts that I use. It can also be difficult series of parts to make if you're just trying to eyeball the lines. However, if you've made good front-to-back and side-to-side parts, you can use those to form an excellent x-pattern that will divide the hair into quadrants.
Working from the center point on the crown of the head, divide each quadrant into two equal sections.
Make sure that you find the center of the quadrant along the hairline and connect that to the center point on the top to get the sections as equal as possible.
These lines can be used to do excellent circle patterns, or patterns such as this:
During most of my style tutorials, I like to show my progression through each of the parts so that you can see easily how I did them. I don't always follow my own parting advice, but if you look through the Style Gallery, no doubt you will be able to see at least one type of the above-mentioned parts in the style. For example, this spider design started with an X-Pattern part:
To be honest, once you get the basic idea down and really get to know your child's head well, all of this becomes second nature to where I rarely think about the technique behind what I'm doing. But this was a really great way for me to get comfortable with parting. I also learned that my daughter's hair is thinnest in the back right quadrant, so it's something I need to take into account when doing a style (I don't want that area to look "wimpier" than the rest of the sections).