Do you cut your own hair? Do you cut a partner’s or friend’s hair? Maybe you’re thinking about learning how to cut hair at home. A good set of clippers can help you achieve a professional haircut without having to spend a fortune.
For the last few years, I’ve been cutting my partner’s hair. I started out with a cheap set of clippers, and while they got the job done, they required a lot of maintenance and weren’t always comfortable to use.
Now, I use a better-quality set of clippers – Cavalier Essentials – and haircuts go more smoothly. The difference between professional and low-quality clippers is the difference between old cars and electric cars. Cuts are more precise, and the guides are easier to change.
If you’re just diving into the world of hair cutting, I recommend investing in professional clippers first. Next, I recommend learning about the different clipper sizes and how they are used. Once you understand this, you’ll be able to achieve any haircut you desire.
What are Hair Clipper Guards?
Hair clipper guards are also called guide combs, attachment combs or clipper guards. They’re used primarily in men’s haircuts, but they may also be used to cut women’s hair into short styles.
Guide combs are made to fit into clipper blades. They help you achieve precision cuts for uniformity around the head. Without them, it would be hard to pull off a clean fade.
Guards come in many sizes, and these sizes are labeled as numbers. These numbers don’t have anything to do with their size. For example, a Size 8 clipper is 1” long.
In barber shops and even for home haircuts, the Size 1, 2 and 3 clipper guards are the most popular.
Hair Clipper Sizes and Their Uses
Hair clippers come in different sizes or lengths that you can use to cut your hair to a precise length. You can find hair clipper sizes in mm or listed as inches.
The most common men’s hair clipper sizes and their uses are:
Hair Clipper Size 1
A Size 1 clipper is about 1/8,” which makes it ideal for buzz cuts. Sometimes, a Size 1 clipper is used to taper a haircut or fade from different numbers. It can produce a tight fade, but it shouldn’t be used if you don’t want your scalp to show.
Hair Clipper Size 1.5
The Size 1.5 clipper is slightly longer than Size 1, with a length of 5/32. It uses are similar to the Size 1 clipper and is deal for a longer buzz cut or for tapering.
Hair Clipper Size 2
The Size 2 clipper is the most popular choice for fades. At 1/4″ in length, this clipper size isn’t too short or too long for fade haircuts. It allows for a fuller look because it doesn’t expose the scalp.
For men with thinning hair, a Size 2 is a safe choice, but it works equally well for men with thicker hair.
Hair Clipper Size 3
A Size 3 clipper has a length of 3/8,” which allows for a longer, fuller cut. This is the longest length a barber will usually go when fading sides.
In some cases, a Size 3 clipper may be used to cut the top of the hair for a longer buzz cut.
Hair Clipper Size 4
A Size 4 clipper is 1/2″ long, so this is more of a medium length clipper. It’s a great choice for both thick and thin hair.
If you want a crew or a brush cut, the Size 4 clipper is what you want to use.
Hair Clipper Size 5 and 6
The Size 5 clipper is 5/8,” while the Size 6 clipper is 3/4″ long. Clippers of these sizes are usually used for taper styling.
Any clipper size that is above a Size 5 can also be trimmed with scissors. I like to use longer clip sizes to blend the top and sides together. If I trim the top with scissors, I’ll use a 5, 6 or 7 to kind of blend the longer top into the shorter sides. The size I choose for blending depends on the length of the top and sides.
Hair Clipper Size 7 and 8
The two longest clipper sizes are 7 and 8, which are 7/8” and 1” respectively. They aren’t normally used in fade cuts, but they may be used in crew cuts (longer on top, faded on the side).
If you decide to use a 7 or 8 on the top, then it’s important to use a Size 1, 2, 3 or 4 on the sides. The Size 8 is a simple and easy way to trim the hair on top of your head.
These are the most common clipper sizes, although you may find some additional sizes on a hair clipper size chart. But these aren’t frequently used.
How to Use Clipper Guards
Guards are easy to use, but you’ll need to make sure that you buy the guards made for your brand of clippers. You may be able to find universal guards, but usually, each brand has its own set.
The design of the guard may vary slightly from one brand to another, but guard sizing is standard.
To use them, all you have to do is snap them onto the clipper blade. There will also be a lever on the side of the clipper up near the blade. This lever is used to customize your haircut.
- Push the lever down for a longer cut.
- Push the lever up for a shorter cut.
The lever also makes it easy to oil your blade or to unjam your blades if they get stuck. Just move the lever up and down to spread the oil or to separate the blades.
Now that you understand what clipper guards are, the most common sizes and how to use them, it’s time to perform your first haircut. Contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t need a lot of products to cut hair. You just need a good set of clippers, a comb and the right technique.
I recommend watching videos on YouTube and paying attention to how professionals use their clippers. Don’t be intimidated. Cutting hair isn’t as complicated as it seems. It just takes practice to get it perfect.