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Step-by-Step Instructions for Cutting Hair With Clippers

Updated February 21, 2017

Using hair clippers is a good way to reduce expenditure from the household budget. It also provides the opportunity to learn and develop a skill that gives both practical and creative results. There are a wide variety of hairstyles that hair clippers can create, including the Caesar, collegiate, flat-top and short-back-and-sides cuts. The simplest style is the buzz cut and it is a useful place to start when learning how to use hair clippers.

Wash the person's hair with warm water and shampoo to thoroughly clean the hair. Dry the hair with a hairdryer before beginning to use the hair clippers. Greasy or wet hair clogs the clippers, so it is important to clean and dry the hair completely.

Fit the clipper guard onto the hair clippers and select the number 2 setting. This is a standardised setting for ΒΌ-inch hair length, and is a common setting for the buzz cut. Seat the person in a low-backed chair and place a towel across their shoulders to capture the cut hair so it is easier to clean up afterward.

Switch on the clippers and position the person't head forward so that the back of the neck is exposed. Place the clippers onto the nape of the neck so that the guard is flat to the skin. Move the clippers upward along the skin and against the hair growth direction.

Use short and slow strokes to move the clippers from the neck upward. Slow strokes help to prevent hair from catching in the clipper blades and pulling out rather than cutting. Short strokes prevent the clipper blades from overloading with hair and becoming clogged.

Use a comb and periodically comb the hair in its normal growing direction to realign the hair so that it is easier to clip. Continue to cut the hair from the neck to the front of the head, and position the head upright as you move toward the top. Cut the sides from the ears and upward to the top, and maintain short slow stokes with the guard flat against the skin.

Comb through the whole head of hair and check for stray hairs that you missed, and go over the area again with the hair clippers. Tidy up any longer hairs below your starting point on the neck by switching down to number 1 on the cut selector, and cut the hairs to 1/8-inch length.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • Shampoo
  • Hairdryer
  • Chair (low-backed)
  • Towel
  • Hair clippers and guard
  • Comb
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About the Author

Residing in the coastal county of Devon, England, Jane Humphries has been writing since 2004. Writing for "British Mensa" nationally and regionally, Humphries has also held key roles within the High IQ Society. She received a Bachelor of Science, honors, in psychology with combined studies covering biology, statistics, economics, politics and sociology.