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How To Use Hair Clippers: Learn Cutting Techniques Easily!

Last Updated on: April 10, 2024

Did you just purchase your dream clipper?


Are you thinking of learning to cut your own hair to help cut costs?

Whichever it may be, learning how to use hair clippers can be pretty tough and confusing, especially if you’ve never seen them being used before.

Not to worry, we’re here to help you out! Keep reading and let’s talk about the five steps that will help you master your clippers.

How To Use Hair Clippers In Five Steps

Step 1: Knowing Your Equipment



If you’ve newly purchased your hair clippers, you should take your time familiarizing yourself with them.

This will be of great help in the long run.

You can get used to your clipper by observing its parts, thoroughly reading the manual, identifying what is for which, and just turning them on and finding your most comfortable grip.

You should also spend some time running your clipper at different speeds so you can choose which speed you are most comfortable cutting hair at. 

Clippers either come corded or cordless, so check if you’re going to need an adapter for your clipper’s plug, or if it needs charging.

Unless you’ve gotten used to the weight of your clippers and are no longer unfamiliar with certain areas, you can get started.  



Most hair clippers already come with a couple of guards or clip-on combs, you don’t need to have all of them, only the necessary ones you’ll be needing.

When you visit barber shops, you may hear customers asking for a number three haircut or so, those haircuts are solely based on these clipper guards.

Different sizes of clipper guards are necessary to provide contour or fading to a haircut, a single guard may prevent you from making errors, but it will only be able to provide you a buzzcut-like outcome. 

You may make use of this chart below as a guide to familiarization:

Indicated NumberEquivalent Range (Inches)Equivalent Range (Millimeters)
1.1 inch3mm
2.24 inch6mm
3.35 inch9mm
4.47 inch12mm
5.55 inch14mm
6.59 inch15mm
7.66 inch17mm
8.70 inch18mm
9.78 inch20mm
10.82 inch21mm
11.90 inch23mm
12.94 inch24mm
131.02 inch26mm
141.14 inch29mm
151.25 inch32mm
161.3 inch35mm


Vintage Barber Pole Cape

You may think that capes are only used in barber shops, but they’re necessary at home as well.

There would be a lot of instances where you may be in a rush or you can no longer go for an outfit change and a cape would come in handy.

Overall, capes are essential in order to keep the hairs off of your clothes and body.

Comb And Brush

Comb And Brush

If you’re looking for a fine cut, you must have a handy comb.

Hair combs are necessary so you may ensure that you no longer have tangled hair before clipping. This will also put your hair back in place when you’re finalizing your cut.

On the other hand, a brush is ideal in order to avoid skin irritation or having remaining clipped hair sticking to your clothes and skin. 

A Comfortable Area

A Comfortable Area

Cutting hair is not only about having a good haircut but also about being comfortable doing it. 

Before you even begin with your haircut, make sure that you are in a suitable area for it.

Find a place in your home that is cold enough to not make you sweat while wearing the cape and constantly moving your arm but not too windy enough to send the cut hairs flying across the floor.

Regardless of whether your hair clippers are corded or wireless, you must be in an area with an outlet near enough for your cable to reach. Wireless clippers may run out of battery halfway through the haircut.

You would also want a place with a nicely positioned mirror and table. You need to see what you are doing and have your tools within your reach at the same time.

An area that is easy to clean is also ideal, especially if you are in a rush. 

Bathrooms are usually people’s go-to place when cutting their own hair, but if you’ve got a better area, then you take your pick.

Step 2: Getting Your Hair Ready

Now, you really can’t just sit down and start clipping, your hair needs just as much preparation as your clippers do. 

You may begin preparing your own hair by washing it thoroughly with shampoo. This time, gently massage the shampoo onto your scalp to get rid of dandruff, dirt, and dry skin.

It is also highly suggested that you use conditioner on your hair for a smooth clipping experience later on. Avoid using too much conditioner as this can make your hair oily, and do not let the product touch your scalp to avoid dandruff production.

Now, you may be wondering, is it necessary to wash and condition hair before clipping it?

Yes, it is crucial. 

Clipping with dirty hair can clog the clippers with grease and other residues from hair products. This also makes cutting long hair easier as it glides through different lengths.

Now, there is also a debate about whether you should clip your hair while it’s damp or dry.

The answer on that matter depends on your preference, you may try both to see which is better for you. We only ask that you do not clip while your hair is wet as it is not only more difficult but will also damage your clippers.

Step 3: It’s Cutting Time

Once you have selected the proper guard size for the haircut you desire and have securely attached it to the clipper, we can start with the most exciting part!

Start At The Side

With a firm grip on your clipper, begin gliding it within the sides of your head, remember to direct the clipper in the same direction as your own hair growth.

The clipper guard should glide your scalp enough to feel it, don’t worry, the guard is there to prevent you from cutting yourself. 

Bring the clipper from the bottom of your sides to the top. You may repeat this if you notice that the area was not properly clipped. 

Move Onto The Back

After clipping both sides of your head, we will move on to the back and near the nape.

It should be just the same, hold your clipper close enough to your scalp and glide it in an upward motion.

You may make use of two mirrors (one in the front and the other in the back to have a better view of what you’re cutting.

Make sure that the cut matches the same length of your sides as well.

Cutting The Top

And now for the last part of this step, we will be cutting the top.

By now, you should be getting used to gliding your hair clippers against your scalp.

The top of your head is the most important area, you must ensure that you are gliding in the direction of your own hair growth and that you are cutting it to your final desired length. 

Step 4: Finalizing Your Cut

Fading Your Hair

This time, we will be using a different clipper guard.

Grab a size smaller than what you have been using and start working on the sides and back of your head. This will create a fade as the differences in length will appear more and more visible.

After this, you should make use of another size smaller once again and work on the same areas, only this time, do not go as far to the top. 

You should strive to make the deep bottoms of your sides and back the same length.

Once you’ve created that satisfying fade (including the sideburns and around your ear arch), you may let go of your clippers.

Using Scissors For Precision

For the last step in cutting your own hair, you must thoroughly observe your cut in the mirror and make use of scissors to perfect certain areas. 

You can do this by finger combing your hair straight in the mirror to bring attention to the areas that we’re not very polished.

There are chances that you may have missed some parts which a scissor may easily fix compared to hair clippers, but if there are none, then you should be very proud of yourself!

Step 5: Cleaning Up

After-Cut Hygiene

Brush Your Head And Shoulders

When you get haircuts in barber shops, you usually see a huge wooden brush with long white bristles placed on the table that the barber will use on you after the haircut.

This brush is used to dust off particles like dandruff, dead skin, and hair off of your head, neck, and shoulders. 

Use A Lint Roller

Use A Lint Roller

Now, brushing usually works for most people, but that doesn’t mean it does the job.

A lint roller would be ideal to make sure there isn’t any hair left on your skin, this is ideal especially when you’ve got somewhere to go right after.

You may also use this on your clothes if you’re not going to change or if you don’t want tiny hairs on your laundry.

Take A Shower

Take A Shower

If you’ve got time to spare, taking a shower is highly suggested.

Not only can this thoroughly remove the hair from your skin, but also clean your scalp and relax it after the haircut.

Using Talc

Using Talc

Talc is necessary for every man who gets a haircut, not just those with sensitive skin.

The fallen cut hair can easily irritate your skin with its sharp ends. To avoid scratching and making your skin even more irritated, apply some talc onto it right after the haircut.

Equipment Maintenance

Clean The Blades

Clean The Blades

Now that you are done and have achieved your desired trim, you may begin equipment maintenance by removing the clipper’s blades.

You can scrub them with a gentle brush in a solution of soap and water, you may also use a piece of cloth to avoid getting cut. Make sure to rinse the bladder properly to avoid them from rusting or getting dull.

Use a microfiber cloth to dry the blades.

Brush Hair Off

Brush Hair Off

Moving on to the clipper itself, you can’t use water to clean it and get rid of the hair, so we’ll be using a tiny brush.

Gently brush the hair off of the clipper’s interior, you may use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior of any dirt or remaining hair.

Lubricate The Blades

Lubricate The Blades

Now that they’re both clean and dry, it’s time to oil the blades.

Attach the blades to the clipper and drop some oil onto the blades. Turn the clipper on and leave it running for a couple of minutes to spread the clipper oil throughout the blades.

After, turn off the clipper and use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the excess oil.

Lubricate the Clipper

Lubricate the Clipper

Now, aside from the blades, the clipper needs lubrication too, but not as often, twice a month would be good.

First off, you need to study your clipper, there should be a panel to unscrew in order to get to its tiny motor. You can find this through the product’s manual or online. 

Some clippers already come with a designated spot where you can drop the lubricant in too. 

Avoid dropping too much lubricant that may clog up the motor, a single drop would be enough.

Tips On Using Hair Clippers

Here are a couple of tips from a fellow clipper user who used to be a beginner just like you:

  • High-end models aren’t always the answer. Purchase hair clippers depending on your needs, you don’t always have to have the complete set as a beginner. Prioritize the essentials first like basic equipment and maintenance materials.
  • Do things at your own pace. Don’t rush into the act, go ahead and take your time familiarizing your clipper, reading various guides, and you can start using it once you feel confident enough. 
  • Identify the direction in which your hair grows. This is crucial because you must guide the hair clippers in that direction for a proper cut. 
  • Learn to be dexterous. There are going to be a lot of instances where your dominant hand is too tired to finish your haircut, knowing how to use your clippers on your non-dominant hand is certainly a good idea. This also allows you to better reach certain areas of your scalp and apply equal guides.
  • Avoid constant clipping. Once you’ve learned to use clippers pretty well, you’ll surely grow enthusiastic about it and end up clipping your own hair more often than necessary. This could cause skin irritation, so it’s best to do it on a regular basis instead. 

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much are hair clippers?

It depends really. The prices of hair clippers may range from 20 to 70 dollars. This of course depends on the brand, features, and model of your clippers. Purchasing expensive clippers is not always necessary, though. It is safe to go for something that meets your needs and will last long.

Can I cut my hair with just one clipper guard?

Yes, you can do that. If you only have one guard available, then make sure it’s an ideal size for your desired hair length. Multiple guards are necessary to polish and contour certain areas, but if you only have one, you’ll end up with a monotone type cut where the length of your hair is the same on all sides.

This, of course, does not stop you from doing it. You may get a buzzcut-type outcome with a single guard.

Can I use hair clippers without the guards?

Yes, you can. You have to be careful, though. Using your clipper guardless is not a problem if you’re cutting your own hair close to the skin or if you’re polishing your neck and sideburns. Remember that without the guards, the blades will cut anything it touches, so try not to cut your scalp or skin.

Is it better to cut hair wet or dry?

This depends on your preference. The easiest way to cut with hair clippers is to have dry hair but if that doesn’t work for you, then you may dampen your hair. Take note that your hair should never be “wet” but damp instead. Wet hair will stick to the blades and guard and eventually clog your hair clippers just as facial hair does. 


Now that we’ve tackled everything you need to know before cutting your own hair, it is now time for you to put these steps and tips into action.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend or take more time studying your clipper if you need to. And remember to always prioritize your safety during clipping.

We can’t wait to hear about your first clipping experience!

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