A barber shop is a very special place for men. Over the years we slowly sculpt and fix our haircut till we find the perfect look. Some people take a lot less time to find their perfect trim. However the thing that will stand in the way of you and your perfect hairstyle is communication with your barber. For a lot of us few words are needed, but for those of us that want something new, knowing your barber numbers and lingo can be key.
Clipper guards control the amount of hair that will be cut by the clipper. Without a good clipper guard or the right hair clipper sizes you will get nowhere. So it is essential to have a grasp of this especially if you cut your hair at home. So in this article we will help you grasp the lingo and ways of clipper guards so the process of a wonderful haircut is that much easier. Also show you what clipper guards to use on various buzzcut lengths and hairstyles.
Clipper guards are essential for many barbers. They are the object that control how long or short the clippers will cut your hair. When you order a clip guard, it isn’t the inches, but rather the number of the clip that’s important. The higher the clip number the longer the hair length. Haircut lengths 1 2 3 4 are perfect for buzzcuts. If you wanted to achieve a clean tight look with a varied length on top you would ask for shorter clips on the side so 1 or 1.5 with your desired length on top for instance a 3. Depending upon the texture of your hair, you can have your hair styled “up top” with scissors, a brush (“along the grain” or “against the grain” aka brushed forward or backwards), curls, waves, you name it. It’s a matter of preference and style.
“Grade 0 haircut” is the closest to skin, while still having a little hair. A zero a grade would typically be a cut from the clippers without a clippers guard attached merely the permanent guard on the clippers. A “zero all over” will give you a classic buzz cut, but to go completely bald (otherwise known as a “baldy”) it would be better for your barber to go for a razor or a trimmer which will take it to skin which is no hair whatsoever. Using this level on your side is ideal when trying to achieve a skin fade.
A “Grade 1 Haircut” is about 1/8 of an inch, which is a little longer than a number zero. The #1 guard is still ideal for buzz cuts, or you can use it to taper or fade from different numbers. However, we do not recommend a number 1 cut if you don’t want your scalp to show.
Grade 2 Skin Fade
The “Grade 2 Haircut” is one of the most popular clipper sizes especially when fading. Not too short or long, the #2 gives you 1/4 of an inch in length, allowing for a fuller hairstyle that doesn’t expose the scalp and makes hair appear thick. A number 2 is a safe bet for guy’s with thinning hair and is likely perfect for thick hair. A low or high skin fade is ideal with a 2 on the top.
Grade 3 Buzzcut
The “Grade 3 Haircut” cuts your hair down to 3/8 of an inch, and is generally the longest clipper size most barbers will use to maintain short faded sides. On the other hand, a #3 can also be used on the top for a longer buzz cut style (e.g. burr cut).
Grade 4 Haircut
A “Number 4 Haircut” leaves hair 1/2 inch long, making it the medium length of the clipper guards. With the #4 size, you can start to get a brush or crew cut. Similar to a buzz cut but include a skin fade on the sides and longer hair on top. The grade 4 haircut works well for both thick and thin hair but will have you needing to cut your hair quite regularly.
The other levels like a grade 5, grade 6, grade 7 and a grade 8 haircut are mostly reserved for a taper. A taper is a classic hairstyle for me. A lot like a fade a taper takes the hair from a long length to a gradual reducing length up from the neckline. Unlike a fade which goes from short to shorter usually to skin. A taper is for people that want to keep a length to the sides of their hair. A taper follows the shape of the head for short to medium length hair. Some taper haircuts are taper fades, combining the profile of a taper with a fade at the neckline.
The French Crop
Similar to a Caesar cut, the French crop consists of hair that is cut short on the back and sides, and kept slightly longer through the top, either combed forward over the forehead or pushed to the side depending on length.
It’s an easy to maintain, versatile haircut that works for men of all ages and style persuasions.
Short Back And Sides
A short back and side haircut takes advantage of grade 1, grade 2 or skin on the back and sides. Barbers would use the lowest clipper guards to cut back the sides. Length on top allows for a variety of styles to be achieved, but the sides are kept short, and tapered down towards the ears. Not for everyone, if you can pull it off, it’s perhaps the most versatile haircut there is when it comes to styling.
So if you are looking at this to get a grasp of clipper guards and know what to ask for these are some examples of styles you could good by. If you are someone that is looking to cut their own hair and interested in how guards work, now you know and would recommend you start your journey on Wahl clippers and Wahl clipper guards. The brand is leading in male hair grooming and their guards standard is great.