How to Cut Men's Hair With Hair Clippers

by Steven Wilkens ; Updated September 28, 2017

Clippers can be used for easy and stylish men's haircuts.

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Hair clippers can be used to give a variety of haircuts, from a classic military cut to slightly more elaborate designs, to men who prefer to wear their hair short yet stylish. All clipper cuts are done close to the scalp. With a pair of clippers and some basic ideas, it can be easy and satisfying to cut men's hair.

Ask the man which hair length he prefers and use the appropriate clipper attachment. The most common clipper attachments are numbered one through four. No. one leaves the hair 1/8 of an inch long. No. two leaves it 1/4 of an inch long. No. three leaves it 3/8 of an inch long. No. four leaves it a half-inch long.

Start low on the back of the head. Hold the clippers flat against his scalp. Run them upward around his scalp following the contours of his head. Make multiple runs using subtle scooping motions outward with the clippers.

Repeat the process from the front of the head. Hold the clippers flat against his forehead and run them upward following the shape of his head, using a slow, even motion. Make a slight flipping outward motion each time you release the clippers from his head.

Repeat the process from the sides of the head. Hold the clippers against his sideburns and run the clippers upward, again following the contours of his scalp.

Clipper-cut the hair at a uniform length over the entire head for a buzz cut. Typically, the length of a buzz cut will be 1/4 of an inch or shorter.

Leave the hair slightly longer than a buzz cut in front and on top by using a different clipper attachment. This is a classic crewcut.

Cut the hair to a length of 1/2 of an inch all the way around for a Caesar cut. You can leave the hair slightly longer at the forehead to be combed down in a foreword motion in this style.

Show him the finished product in the mirror and make any adjustments. Apply gel or other hair products as desired.


  • Make sure the length of both sideburns is the same.

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  • "Milady's Standard Cosmetology"; Arlene Alpert and Margrit Altenburg; 2002
  • "Milady's Standard Textbook of Professional Barber-Styling"; Milady Publishing; 1998

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About the Author

Steven Wilkens has been a professional editor and writer since 1994. His work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines, including "The Honolulu Advertiser" and "USA Today." Wilkens received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.