How To Master 3 Popular Clipper Haircuts

by | Oct 4, 2016 | Blog, How-to & Guides, Men, Men's Grooming | 0 comments

Cutting your own hair with clippers is the ultimate freedom. You can do it whenever you wish in the comfort of your own home, and for less than 10 minutes. Yet many of us were so scared in the beginning! It’s a natural reaction, I think.

A hair clipper is something new and absolutely alien to the person who’s been stopping by at the local barber’s throughout all their lifetime.

So when you’re all on your own suddenly, wondering how the hell can you cut your own hair with clippers…well, it’s a scary thing. And asking yourself how to master 3 popular clipper haircuts, oh that’s way beyond you think you can do.

Luckily, us human beings have a distinct forte. We adapt to new things, and we adapt damn well! As you can guess, the case with landing the perfect clipper haircut follows the same pattern. You just need a bit of practicing and a few pointers to eventually nail it down.

A wonderful example of a woman rocking the buzz cut gorgeously.

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re a bit tense.

How can you actually use your hair clippers? Are the blades too sharp? What guard size should you use?

Can you injure yourself? Mess your hair in a way that’ll look disastrous to people around you?

Relax. Leave the clipper aside for a bit. Join us for a friendly guide on how to master 3 popular clipper haircuts that are timeless. You’ll love the result.

Clipper haircut #1 – the close cut

A lot of the people rocking the close cut either have thinning hair (like me), or are balding. However, that’s not a hardset rule.

Close cuts sure depend on your head’s shape, but you might be surprised with the results once you try out this clipper haircut.

To be honest, I thought I had a beyond hideous head shape…until I shaved it all down with a #1 Wahl guard (3 mm).

Then I kept going and going, jumping right onto the close cut train.

Luckily, the shaved head look is not only easy, it has many other benefits.

For instance, women think a guy with a shaved head looks more dominant. You’re actually improving your look while making your life very easy at the same time.

A man using Wahl professional hair clippers to style his hair.

How to do a close cut clipper haircut

First of all, you need some versatility and flexibility here. You also need a hair cutter with blades that are just sharp enough. You don’t want them biting into your scalp, right?

Remember: no clipper guards. Get that bare clipper out and get to work. Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it seems. On the side of most close-cutting hair cutters, you should find a lever. Switch it so its set to the closest haircut possible.

Keep the blades against your head, cutting the opposite of how your hair grows. Use careful, fluent strokes. Once you start a line, continue with a steady hand.

It’s always a good idea to get the back and sides right first, and then move on to the top. Run the machine over the same spot carefully to ensure nothing’s left behind. Fetch a mirror and check for any missed areas. Overlooking a few spots isn’t that grave of a mistake…but if you want to look sleek, why not polish everything?

If you are nervous about taking your hair down really close the first time, then just use a longer blade to start. As we say in the barbershop, you can take the hair off but you can’t put it back on.

If you think it looks ok, you’re done with the first phase. If you think you can go shorter, then adjust the blade to get it lower. Taking it slow the first time allows you to zero in on the look that is right for you.

You certainly wouldn't want to have THAT kind of a clipper haircut style...or would you?

Close cuts require very regular maintenance, as you might guess. Usually you have to do this clipper haircut either daily or every other day. On the upside, it takes a mere few minutes and you won’t even need to clean afterwards.

Best hair clipper for close cuts

You can achieve a quality close cut with different models. However, I’d recommend you any Wahl’s professional 5 star clipper. They usually come with powerful electromagnetic motors and sharp blades. A personal favorite is the Wahl Magic Clip due to its cordless mode and exceptionally lightweight body.

Here’s a video from Wahl to quickly walk you through getting the close clipper cut right. I know they recommend their Lithium Ion hair cutter, but I feel the Clip is better.

Clipper haircut #2 – the buzz cut

Ah, the famous buzz cut. While people use the term “buzz cut” freely, under this umbrella term we’ve got a fair deal of legnths. For example, a #4 guard is considered a buzz cut. However, a #1 guard is also considered a buzz cut – just a shorter one. It’s entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel with buzzing it.

Whenever I switch from the a mens’ clipper haircut like the short cut to the traditional buzz, I pick a #1. Feels smooth and preserves just enough hair.

How to do a buzz cut clipper haircut

Getting a buzzcut is very easy once you have the right professional hair clippers.

After picking your guard length, get to business with smooth, upward motions. Start with your sides and back first, before moving to the top of your head.

Getting the back of your head right is one of cutting your own hair with clippers’ major pain points. Just grab a mirror while standing in front of your bathroom mirror and monitor your progress closely.

Remember to keep your hand relaxed and follow your lines closely. If you lift your hand too much, you might miss spots and leave your hair uneven.

Tight, straight lines will minimize the need to go over your hair once more.

The area behind your ears is always an enemy to proper clipper haircut styles. It appears to be so tricky.

It’s actually not. Grab a tapered comb, arch the clippers a bit to get a good angle and buzz away.

Compared with how infuriating the back of your head can get, ears are easy as pie. Usual practice when cutting your own hair with clippers is to experiment with fades a bit. I actually prefer a same-size guard buzz cut.

I recommend doing things methodically. Start on one side of your head and work your way around to the other side. Then go for the top. It is much easier to get all the hair this way without missing any spots.

Work slowly and don’t jump around from one part of your head to another until you have completed each section.

Best hair clipper for buzzcuts

Entirely upon you. Grabbing any hair cutter from Wahl, Andis, Oster, Remington for example will do it. If you’re just starting out, I recommend you go with either the Remington HC4250 Shortcut Pro clipper or Oster’s Fast Feed.

Clipper haircut #3 – the easy cut

The easy cut, next to the buzzcut, is perhaps the most popular clipper haircut style. By rule of thumb, you want to use only one comb throughout the process. Generally, the easy cut is a mens clipper haircut utilizing combs #6 to #8. Once again, it’s up to you and your personal preferences. I don’t have enough hair now, but before I’d stick to a #8 guard.

How to do an easy cut clipper haircut

The easy cut is one of the most popular clipper haircut styles.

Follow the same directions as the buzz cut section of this guide. The most important thing is to be relaxed and apply the right amount of pressure.

Once again, a mirror is in order – who knows how the back of your head really looks after you’ve done? Definitely check out what’s happening there.

The additional element here is using a trimmer. If you don’t know how to use a hair trimmer, it’s pretty easy. What you’d use it for are your sideburns and neck – think of it as a cleanup job.

Messy necklines are my personal pet peeve. If you cut your own hair with clippers, don’t do a sloppy job. You’re your own barber now!

Getting the neckline when you haven’t shaved your head can be tricky so it helps to use a template guide to get back there even without seeing what you are doing.

There are a lot of helpful tools to achieve a professional looking haircut at home to help with how to master 3 popular clipper haircuts. Click that link and you will see a few recommendations like the previously mentioned neckline guard and others like a three way mirror and hair capes.

Best hair clipper for easy cuts

As easy cuts are the most popular clipper haircuts, you have a wide range of products in front of you. Just remember that you need to trim after cutting. A combination I like is pairing up Andis T-Outliner trimmer with another cutter. If you’re tired of cleaning up the mess after you’ve cut your own hair with clippers, the Remington HC6550 is a nice vacuum hair clipper.

In the below video you’ll see a pretty fine example of an easy cut. The guy uses a combination of Oster 76 professional hair clippers and an Andis T-Outliner trimmer. If you’re a beginner, Oster 76 classic clipper is pretty advanced and expensive, so I suggest swapping them for something else.

4 tips when cutting your own hair with clippers

There are a few things you should bear in mind to ensure you nail a great mens’ clipper haircut. Namely:

  • Always touch your hair and feel what direction it’s following. You definitely want to go against the grain. The problem is, sometimes hair on different parts of our heads change their direction.

  • Switching from longer hair to a buzz cut? Fetch a bigger guard first, don’t dive right into the #3. Check how it looks and then switch to a shorter comb. Always a great idea to be mindful of the prospects of your new look before actually doing it.

  • Get your hair a bit wet (but not too much). Wet hair clumps together, so it’ll be easier to cut. Who knows, you might set a new record for the shortest time of achieving a clipper haircut!

  • Rock the motion of the clippers. What I mean by this is when you are going up the sides of the head, don’t just go straight up. Use your arm as a sort of a lever and when you get to the spot where you want to use a longer guard, then use a motion where the clipper flares away from the head. Think of it like a plane taking off where it suddenly angles up from the ground. Only think of it perpendicular to the ground instead since you will be sitting up.

If you think about it, how to master 3 popular clipper haircuts demand minimal efforts and lack any complications whatsoever. You just need to make sure you’ve got the right clippers, the right blades…and the right touch to the lines.

Set Your Cut with Styling Products

Now that you learned how to master 3 popular clipper haircuts, it’s time to turn it into a hairstyle. Even short hair could use some styling products to elevate a simple DIY haircut into something that looks like a pro did it.

Here are some products to help put the finishing touches on your hairstyle:

Pomade

If you have any kind of length on top that needs to be styled with a firm hold, then pomade is a great go to product. It is a jelly like product that goes in and stays in.

It is ideal for slicking your hair back or combing to one side. It is most commonly associated with the pompadour hairstyle.

Hair Wax

Hair wax is great for when you have a short hairstyle that needs to be spiked up for instance. It is very high hold so it works great for any length of hair that needs to stay in place.

Hair Paste

When you need a bit of style and don’t need it to be too stiff, then hair paste is your best bet. For instance, if you gave yourself a crew cut, then you need the bangs to stick straight up.

Final Thoughts

The only real downside to cutting your own hair is the clean up afterward! But, think of the money and time saved while you are sweeping up the hair cuttings and remember that you could be sitting in a waiting room for over an hour and suddenly sweeping up doesn’t seem so bad.

Remember, cutting your own hair might seem intimidating at first, but you will soon get the hang of it. In fact, at one point you wouldn’t be able to imagine letting someone else style your hair. I promise you!

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Alex