What Do the Numbers on Hair Clipper Guards Mean?


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The numbers on your clipper guards, or clipper combs, indicate how short your hair will be when you use them to cut your hair. Most clipper guards, which attach to your clipper blades, run from length 1/2 or 1 to length 10 or greater. A length 1/2 or 1 guard will cut your hair very close to the scalp, while a guard with a higher number will leave your hair longer.

Guard Lengths

While guard lengths may vary slightly between clipper brands, a length 1 guard will cut your hair to about 3 millimeters, or 1/8 of an inch. With each whole comb number, the length of your haircut will increase by 3 to 4 millimeters, depending on your clipper brand. A length 10 guard will cut your hair to between 30 and 32 millimeters, or about 1 1/4 inches. A clipper with no guard will remove your hair at the skin.

Using Guards

Clipper guards help you blend or fade the hair on your head or in your beard from shorter lengths to longer lengths. In a standard clipper haircut, for example, the hair is short and tapered on the sides and back, and gradually gets longer as you move to the crown and front of your head. Take note of which guards you or your stylist use, so you can have your hair cut to the same length at your next haircut.