How to Cut Men’s Hair with Clippers for Beginners: A Beginner’s Guide (2023)

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Essential Tools Needed to Cut Men’s Hair with Clippers

When it comes to cutting men’s hair with clippers, having the right tools is essential. Here are some of the key tools you will need:


The most important tool for cutting men’s hair is a good pair of clippers. Look for clippers that are specifically designed for cutting hair and have adjustable blades.

Clipper guards:

Clipper guards are attachments that go on the clippers and determine the length of the hair being cut. They come in different sizes, ranging from 1/16 inch to 1 inch or longer.


In addition to clippers, you will also need a pair of scissors for trimming and blending certain areas of the hair.

Cape or towel:

To protect your client’s clothing from hair clippings, it is important to have a cape or towel to drape around their shoulders.

Preparing the Hair Before Starting a Haircut with Clippers

Before you begin using clippers on a client’s hair, there are some steps you should take to prepare the hair:

Clean and dry the hair:

Make sure the client’s hair is clean and free of any product buildup. It should also be completely dry before you start cutting.

Comb or brush out tangles:

Gently comb or brush through the client’s hair to remove any tangles or knots. This will make it easier to cut evenly.

Determine desired hairstyle:

Talk to your client about what kind of haircut they want and discuss any specific details or preferences they have. This will help guide your cutting process.

Different Clipper Guard Sizes and Their Effect on Hair Length

Clipper guards come in a range of sizes, and each size corresponds to a specific hair length. Here are some common clipper guard sizes and the resulting hair lengths:

#1 (1/8 inch):

  • Leaves the hair very short, almost stubble-like.
  • Creates a clean and minimalist look.

#4 (1/2 inch):

  • Leaves the hair slightly longer, giving it a textured appearance.
  • Suitable for creating a medium-length buzz cut or blending shorter sections with longer ones.

#8 (1 inch):

  • Leaves the hair relatively long, providing more styling options.
  • Can be used to create longer buzz cuts or as a starting point for other hairstyles.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating a Simple Buzz Cut with Clippers

A simple buzz cut is one of the easiest hairstyles to achieve using clippers. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Prepare the clippers:

  1. Clean and oil the clippers to ensure smooth operation.
  2. Select an appropriate clipper guard size based on the desired hair length.

Step 2: Section off the hair:

  1. Create a parting from ear to ear, separating the top section of the hair from the sides and back.
  2. Clip away the top section to keep it out of the way.

Step 3: Start with the sides and back:

  1. Begin at the nape of the neck and work your way up, moving against the direction of hair growth.
  2. Use smooth, even strokes to cut the hair to the desired length.

Step 4: Blend in the top section:

  1. Remove the clip holding the top section of hair.
  2. Blend it into the shorter sides and back using a comb and scissors or by adjusting guard sizes for a gradual transition.

Step 5: Clean up any stray hairs:

  1. Carefully check for any uneven areas or stray hairs that may need trimming.
  2. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure a clean and polished look.

Techniques and Tips for Blending and Fading Hair with Clippers

Achieving seamless blends and fades is an important skill when cutting men’s hair with clippers. Here are some techniques and tips to help you achieve smooth transitions:


To create a tapered effect, gradually decrease the length of hair as you move towards the neckline. This can be done by using different clipper guard sizes or by using a technique called “scissor over comb” to blend shorter sections with longer ones.


Fading involves creating a seamless transition between different lengths of hair. One popular technique is the “clipper over comb” method, where you use a comb to lift the hair and blend it with the clippers. Start with a longer guard size and gradually switch to shorter ones as you move up the head.


Blending is about creating smooth transitions between different sections of hair. Using a combination of clipper guards, scissors, and blending techniques like scissor over comb or clipper over comb can help achieve a seamless blend.


  • Take your time and work in small sections to ensure precision.
  • Always start with a longer guard size and gradually go shorter to avoid cutting too much hair at once.
  • Use light pressure when using clippers to prevent uneven cuts or lines.

Avoiding Common Mistakes While Cutting Men’s Hair with Clippers

While cutting men’s hair with clippers may seem straightforward, there are some common mistakes that can be easily avoided. Here are a few tips to help you steer clear of these pitfalls:

Mistake 1: Not using the right guard size:

Using the wrong guard size can result in hair being cut too short or not short enough. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how each guard size affects hair length before starting the haircut.

Mistake 2: Rushing through the haircut:

Taking your time is key to achieving clean and precise cuts. Rushing through the process can lead to uneven results or accidental slips with the clippers. Take breaks if needed and focus on each section individually.

Mistake 3: Neglecting proper maintenance of clippers:

Regularly cleaning and oiling your clippers is crucial for their longevity and performance. Neglecting maintenance can result in dull blades, uneven cuts, or even damage to the clippers themselves.

Mistake 4: Not communicating with the client:

Before starting any haircut, it is important to have a conversation with the client about their desired style and preferences. Clear communication ensures that you are both on the same page and helps avoid any misunderstandings.

Using Different Clipper Attachments for Different Sections of the Head

When cutting men’s hair with clippers, using different clipper attachments can help achieve varying lengths and textures in different sections of the head. Here are some common uses for different clipper attachments:

Longer guard sizes (e.g., #6, #8):

  • These guard sizes are often used on the top section of the head to create longer lengths or provide more styling options.
  • They can be used to maintain length while blending into shorter sections.

Medium guard sizes (e.g., #4, #5):

  • Medium guard sizes are versatile and can be used on various sections of the head.
  • They are often used to create a textured appearance or blend between shorter and longer sections.

Shorter guard sizes (e.g., #1, #2):

  • Shorter guard sizes are commonly used on the sides and back of the head for a closer cut.
  • They can also be used to create fades or blends with longer sections.

No guard (blade only):

  • Using the clippers without any guard attachment allows for an even closer cut or a clean shave.
  • This is often used to define the hairline, shape the beard, or create precise outlines.

Popular Men’s Hairstyles Achievable with Clippers

Clippers are versatile tools that can be used to create a wide range of men’s hairstyles. Here are some popular hairstyles that can be achieved using clippers:

Buzz cut:

A buzz cut is a short and uniform haircut that can be achieved by using clippers with a guard attachment of choice. It is low maintenance and suitable for those who prefer a minimalist look.

Fade haircut:

A fade haircut involves gradually blending the hair from short to long, creating a seamless transition. This style requires skill in fading techniques and may involve using different clipper attachments.

Crew cut:

A crew cut is a classic hairstyle where the hair on top is slightly longer than the sides and back. Clippers with different guard sizes are used to achieve this tapered look.


A pompadour is a more styled and textured hairstyle that often requires scissor work in addition to clippers. The sides and back are usually shorter, while the top is longer and styled upwards for volume.

Maintenance Tips for Keeping Clippers in Good Condition After Use

To ensure your clippers stay in good condition after use, it’s important to follow these maintenance tips:

Clean after each use:

After each haircut, remove any excess hair from the blades and comb attachments. You can use a small brush or a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas.

Oil the blades:

Regularly oiling the blades helps keep them sharp and prevents rust. Apply a few drops of clipper oil to the blades and run them for a few seconds to distribute the oil evenly.

Store properly:

When not in use, store your clippers in a clean and dry place. Avoid storing them in humid areas or near water as this can damage the electrical components.

Replace worn parts:

If you notice any signs of wear or dullness in the blades or attachments, replace them promptly. Using dull blades can result in uneven cuts and may even damage the hair.

Finding Additional Resources or Tutorials to Improve Skills in Cutting Men’s Hair with Clippers

If you want to further improve your skills in cutting men’s hair with clippers, there are several resources available:

Tutorials online:

There are numerous video tutorials available on platforms like YouTube that provide step-by-step instructions on different haircut styles and techniques using clippers. These tutorials often include tips and tricks from experienced barbers.

Barber schools or courses:

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in barbering, enrolling in a barber school or taking specialized courses can provide comprehensive training on haircutting techniques, including working with clippers.

Books and guides:

There are many books and guides available that cover various aspects of men’s haircutting, including using clippers. These resources often provide detailed explanations, diagrams, and illustrations to help you understand different techniques.

Mentorship or apprenticeship:

Working under an experienced barber as an apprentice or seeking mentorship can be a valuable way to improve your skills. Learning directly from someone with industry experience allows you to observe and learn firsthand.

Practice and experimentation:

The more you practice cutting men’s hair with clippers, the better you will become. Experiment with different techniques, styles, and clipper guard sizes to develop your own unique approach.

In conclusion, with the right technique and practice, beginners can successfully cut men’s hair using clippers.

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