Hair Cutting Techniques Using Clippers

Written by caprice castano
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Hair Cutting Techniques Using Clippers
Clipper haircuts give a clean look. (haircut 5 image by sonya etchison from

Clipper haircuts are a clean, simple way to achieve a well-groomed and stylish look. While the best results for any hairstyle are usually achieved at a professional barber shop or salon, clipper haircuts can be done at home with a little practice and the right equipment.

There are many clipper cuts easily done at home, including the buzz cut, the flat top, the Caesar and the collegiate. They all start with washed and towel-dried (not dripping) hair.

Wrap the towel around the neck tucking it in at the edge to keep hair from collecting on the clothing. If using a smock, put it on and close the neck of the smock around the towel to keep it in place.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hair clippers (preferably a set with guards and accessories)
  • Comb
  • Towel
  • Optional: hair-cutting smock

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    Buzz Cut

  1. 1

    Decide how short you want the hair; it's usually 1/4 inch or less. The buzz cut is the hairstyle every man entering into military boot camp receives at the time of induction.

  2. 2

    Clipper-cut the hair on the entire head in this one uniform length.

  3. 3

    Run the clippers over the entire head using the shortest guard until all hair longer than the length desired is removed.

    Flat Top

  1. 1

    Cut the hair with the shortest guard on all three sides up to the parietal ridge (the point above the ear where the top of the head curves downward to become the sides of the head).

  2. 2

    Change the guard to a longer length, usually 1/2 inch but it can be up to 1-inch in length if desired, and clipper-cut the entire crown of the head.

  3. 3

    Style the top by making the hair on the crown of the head stand straight up using hair gel or another product to keep the hair in place. The top should be flat and uniform--just like the name of the haircut.

    The Collegiate

  1. 1

    Clip the sides as for the buzz cut and flat top in the shortest uniform length.

  2. 2

    Graduate the length of the top of the crown from back (shortest) to front (longest). Change guards in graduated lengths to achieve this effect. Leave 1 to 2 inches in length at the front as desired and taper it backwards until the length at the back of the head has angled down to the same length as the sides. Do not graduate the length on the edges of the crown, the line should be a straight angle from back to front.

  3. 3

    Lift the hair on the entire top and style straight up as for the flat top.

    Caesar Cut

  1. 1

    Choose the Caesar cut if you want a bit of fringe to lie flat over the forehead.

  2. 2

    Clip nearly the entire head as you would for the buzz cut but with a slightly longer length, usually at least 1/2 inch. Leave the very front edge of the fringe at the forehead with 1 to 2 inches of length.

  3. 3

    Trim the fringe to a straight edge, comb downwards and style by flattening them in a line across the forehead.

Tips and warnings

  • Taper the hair at the nape of the neck to trim any growth that creeps down over the neck. Square up the hairline on all clipper haircuts to give a nice, clean-edged look.

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