Whether you’re a professional barber or a do-it-yourselfer, getting the most from your hair clippers requires a bit of know-how and the right technique. Here are some tips for using your clippers the right way.
Begin the process by giving your hair a good wash. Washing your hair makes it easier to comb – you want to get rid of any tangles or snags – and ensures that it doesn’t have any extra waves or bends.
You can leave your hair wet for when you’re clipping it, and many barbers spritz some water on dry hair before trimming and styling it. But you can try it yourself on dry hair to see whether it gives you the same results as you do while clipping it wet.
Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the numbering system for your clipper’s blade guards. The numbers refer to the blade guards, which determine the length of your hair and, in general, the smaller the number the shorter the cut.
Note: You can use multiple guard lengths to create a style such as a fade. For tapered styles you or your barber can start with a longer length setting and work your way down to the shorter, or even shortest, settings.
The person getting their haircut should have a towel or barber’s cape around their neck to prevent the clipped hair from falling onto their clothing. If you’re giving a haircut at home, you may want to put down plastic sheeting or something else to catch the stray hairs.
It’s time to get started once you’ve chosen the appropriate length attachment. The best place to begin is at the base of your head and you should work upwards toward the top of your head. Tilt the person’s head slightly forward and rest the clippers against the back of the head as you trim.
Apply firm pressure as you cut towards the top and make sure you have a firm hold on your hair clipper at all times.
It’s generally best to cut against the direction of the hair to get a more even and efficient trim.
Once you’ve finished the back of the head you can move on to its sides. Start at the base of your sides, as you did with the back of your head, and move upward. Make sure to pull the ears out of the way so you can get your clipper around and behind them in all directions.
Again, work in the opposite direction of the hair’s natural growth. Note: If you have trouble identifying the hair’s growth patterns, run your hand through the hair in each direction to understand which way gives you the most resistance.
The best method for trimming the top of the head is to start at the forehead and work towards the top of the head while following the hairline. As with trimming other parts of your head, work slow and steady to catch as much hair as possible with each pass.
Once you’ve completed the bulk of the haircut it’s time to move on to the fine details that can turn a good haircut into a truly great one.
Remove the length guard and hold the clippers vertically with the blades perpendicular to the skin. Use the clippers to fine-tune the lines around each ear and the hairline at the back of the neck.
To tighten up the hairline, gently press the clipper’s blades against the skin (where you want the hairline to end) and move the clippers downward for a clean, smooth shave.
You can use the same process for straightening the sideburns and for styling other facial hair, including your beard, although we’d recommend using a beard trimmer to get the best results.
While you may be able to find clipper blade-sharpening services in your city or town, you can always do it yourself and it’s not that difficult. All you need is a quality sharpening stone and a toothbrush to clean between the blades.
You can choose to have your clippers fixed by a professional, Google your locale to find one nearby, or you can do it yourself with a few simple tools. The problem may be quite simple – like a worn power cord – and something you can fix at home.
Consistent use of oil will extend the lifespan of your clipper while keeping it running efficiently. Oil the tops and sides of the blades and let the clipper run for 20 seconds after oiling before you begin clipping.
All of the clippers listed in our reviews can help you get a close cut, not the least of which is the Remington HC4250. Check out our reviews to learn more about the HC4250.
Plenty of high-quality cordless hair clippers abound, not the least of which is the aforementioned HC4250. The latter is not only good for home and self-haircut use, but runs on a Lithium-ion battery for maximum convenience.
Blade guides and guards come in various sizes that determine the length of your hair when cutting it. In general, the smaller the number the shorter the cut. Or, you can use multiple guards for attaining styles such as a gentle fade.
Many clippers come with oil meant to lubricate the blades of that specific model. However, clipper oil is universal in that you can use it on other clippers without causing harm. Clipper oil needs to have low-viscosity to handle the heat of rapidly moving blades. Don’t use motor oil.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, hair clippers are allowed both in carry-on luggage and checked luggage, although the final decision may depend on the TSA officer at the gate.
Nothing says that you can’t also use your hair clippers to trim your beard but when it comes to styling a beard, a quality beard trimmer is a way to go. Beard trimmers have thinner blades while hair clippers work well for trimming and shaping longer hair.
Even the best hair clippers can cause bumps and other skin irritations if they’re not properly maintained. Clean and oil your clipper before every time you use it (or immediately afterward) and take your time while cutting your hair or the hair of someone else.
The chances of transmitting HIV via hair clippers are slim and none, with an emphasis on none. Keep in mind that HIV cannot survive outside of the human body, so even if it were present on a clipper or trimmer it would instantly expire.
Your hair follicles can become blocked or infected with bacteria and the result is red and swollen bumps on your skin often referred to as folliculitis. Disinfecting your clippers after every use will greatly reduce your chances of getting folliculitis.
Here’s where it gets tricky. While hair clippers can’t transmit HIV, one study showed that contamination on the clipper includes blood-borne viruses, such as Hepatitis B. As the study suggested, further research is needed. The bottom line: clean and disinfect your blades regularly.
While it’s not impossible to nick or cut your skin with hair clippers, it’s also highly unlikely. The blades rotate in a way that doesn’t apply all of its power on a specific point of the skin.
Ringworm is most common in children and research suggests that it may be transmitted through grooming tools such as combs and, yes, perhaps even hair clipper. Clean. Disinfect. Repeat.
You can rest easy: there’s no evidence that trimming and cutting your hair leads to hair loss, i.e., alopecia. Many factors, such as genetics and age, cause hair loss and have nothing to do with cutting your hair.
The answer is “no” but with a slight caveat or two. You shouldn’t use clippers around aerosol cans, which may explode, and never use them with the wrong sort of plug that may explode at the outlet. Will the clipper itself explode in your hand? Fat chance.
Kudos to you if you want to take the trouble of shaving your cat. But use clippers designed for pets, not the kind you use on human hair. Human hair clippers can run too hot and burn the cat’s skin, among other potential issues.
Yes, you can use hair clippers to give your dog a trim if you so choose, but why not use tools designed for the job? Dog clippers have sharper blades that cut through tough, long fur quickly and efficiently, and have a powerful motor that won’t bog down in tangled hair.
Leo J. Wahl (recognize the last name?) is credited with inventing the first electric hair clipper in 1921. Wahl’s descendants still operate the company today, which is a world leader in manufacturing and selling of barber and grooming tools.
Each hair clipper comb comes with a specific number. The higher the number, the more hair is left behind. For example, a clipper comb with the number 1 will create a shorter haircut while No. 10 will help keep your hair longer.
The distinction between professional hair clippers and ones for use at home isn’t as dramatic as one would think. In general, however, professional clippers tend to have a more powerful motor, make it easy for styling, have plenty of attachments – and cost a bit more.
To get a bit technical (and mechanical) a hair clipper has two arms within it – a fixed arm and a moving arm. If the motor isn’t powerful enough, the moving arm doesn’t pull back quickly enough and bangs against the fixed arm, which creates that sometimes irritating “loudness.”
A hair clipper that pulls and tugs on your hair may need 1) oiling, 2) its blades sharpened, or both. Dull trimmers that need sharpening pull at hair and may leave jagged, uneven lines.
Misaligned clipper blades can create issues such as pulling and snagging, and also make the clipper rattle noisily. Remove the blades, clean them, and then place them back in the correct position.
To disinfect your hair clippers, first brush or wash away the loose hair inside the clippers. Next, disassemble your trimmer with a screwdriver and place the blades in a disinfectant such as Guardian Gear Oster Blade Wash and let them soak.
With the proper maintenance and care your hair clippers should last you several years, especially the highest-quality clippers. Regular maintenance includes cleaning away trapped hair, oiling the blades, and disinfecting the blades.
Lubricate your hair clippers by using oil made for clippers, trimmers, and other grooming tools. Place a few drops of oil on the clipper blades before and after use.
Why do I need to oil my hair clippers?
Keeping your clipper in best condition means regularly oiling it, including before and after every use (for best results). Without oil, the blade’s teeth will become dull and pull and snag hair.
A quality hair clipper is an invaluable tool for cutting, styling, and trimming your hair. But like any grooming tool, not all clippers are created equal, and finding one that best suits your needs will save you a lot of frustration and bad haircuts.
We welcome your feedback. What hair clippers do you use? Why do you like them? We’d love to hear from you.