How to Cut your Own Hair with Clippers – Step-by-Step

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Learning to cut your hair is a perfect way to save money and always get what you want for a hairstyle. Many people learn to cut their hair looking to save money from the costs of going to a barbershop every 2-4 weeks to keep their hairstyles looking fresh.

Another reason to learn how to cut your hair is to make sure that you get the hairstyle you want. In some cases, the barber and the client have different things in mind, and the client leaves feeling unsatisfied with what haircut they got.

In this article, you will learn what tools you need and how to cut your hair with clippers.

Preparation- What Tools you Need to Cut Your Hair

Once you have bought the correct hair-cutting tools, you will not need to purchase new ones for a very long time.

Hair Clipper

Hair clippers are the most important tool that someone with short hair needs when they decide to cut their hair. Hair clippers cut all hair down to a specific length based on the guards on the hair clipper’s blade. Hair clippers are critical in all short hairstyles, such as tapers, fades, and buzzcuts. When choosing the right hair clipper for you, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. If there is one piece of equipment that you should not be cheap on, it is a hair clipper.

We have tested many hair clippers to find out the best and most durable ones, here is that review of best hair clippers

Many people have complaints that their hair clipper is tugging their hair or cutting their hair uneven. This is caused by cheaply made hair clippers with dull blades. One of the top brands to consider when buying a hair clipper is the Wahl brand of hair clippers; they are made with high-quality construction with a guarantee on their performance.

Hair Clipper Guards

If you did not buy an adjustable hair clipper, you would need to purchase detachable hair clipper guards. Removable hair clipper guards made to be placed over the blades of your hair clipper and cut your hair to different desired lengths. You have probably heard that hair clipper guards use a number system that determines how short the length will be. In most cases, detachable guards are included with the purchase of your hair clipper, but not all of them. You may also not receive more specific removable guard types, such as 2.5 guards that are not as common.

Straight Razor

For some hairstyles, a straight razor will give you clean lines that can’t be done only with a clipper. If you are someone who likes to have clean-looking straight lines, a straight razor is an essential piece of equipment. For a smooth shave, purchasing a shaving oil or cream will avoid irritation of the skin.

Handheld Mirror

To make sure you see the back of your head when using a hair clipper, using a handheld mirror is perfect for seeing what you are cutting. Without a handheld mirror, you would not be able to cut a straight line on the neck area.

Selecting a Hairstyle Based on Your Face Shape

The perfect way to find a hairstyle that suits you is by using the shape of your face to see what will work best. The best way to determine what face shape you have is by seeing what the fullest part of your face is and the shape of your jaw.

Selecting a Hairstyle Based on Your Face Shape

Oval and Round Face Shapes

The oval face shape is a more extended version of a round face. For an oval face shape, you want a hairstyle that has volume and length on top that elongates the face. Hairstyles that do not work well with an oval face shape would include bangs, fringe, or crops. These hairstyles aren’t good because it would emphasize the roundness of the face.

Square and Oblong Face Shape

If you have a square face or oblong face shape, haircuts with short structured lines would be the best choice. To balance the width of the face, keeping the hair on top at a short or medium-length to create this balance.

Triangle and Diamond Face Shape

The most versatile face shape with hairstyles is the triangle and diamond face shapes. In most cases, you can pull off any hairstyle. To soften the angles of the triangle and diamond face shape, you want a haircut with a top such as a faux hawk, messy fringe, or side sweep.

Where to Start Cutting your Hair First

To begin the process of cutting your hair, you need to know what hairstyle you will be looking to achieve. If you are looking for a simple hairstyle such as a buzzcut, it doesn’t matter where you start cutting your hair.

ProTip: For buzz cut go with is a 3-2-1, which has a No. 3 guard on top, No. 2 on the sides, and No. 1 around the edges.

You will just need to achieve an equal length all over. If you would like different lengths on top compared to the sides, you will want to start on the sides and back before moving onto the top.

How to Cut the Sides of the Head

To cut the sides of your head, look for what style you would most like to achieve. The easiest style to perform on the sides is just by using a single guard across the sides and back. If you would like a fade on the sides, you will need to alternate between different detachable guards or changing the adjustable hair clipper to eliminate the lines in the hair.

ProTip: Go with the number 6 in the closed position on trimmer. Go as high as you can fading your side hair into the longest hair on top, this step is going to set the base for the rest of the haircut so make sure it’s nice and smooth between the sides and the top.

Start by combing all the hairs on top to see the natural break in the hair where the top hair meets the side of your head. You will not want to go past the point of cutting into the top portion of your hair. If the hair on top of your head is currently too short to comb, follow the change in lengths created when receiving your last haircut and follow where the side hair lengths go. In slow upright motions, cut up the sides of your head, doing one side at a time before moving onto the other side.

 If you want to fade the sides of your head, you will need to create a guideline that goes around the sides and back of the head that lines up evenly.  Three main types of fades will determine where you make these guidelines. If you are doing a high fade, you will create the guideline up near the temple area of your head. If you are doing a mid-fade, you will create the guideline at the level that would at the level below your temple. And if you are doing a low-fade, you would make the guideline just slightly above the ear. You will progressively go shorter in lengths while going down the sides of the head.

You don’t want to go too high up while fading your sides

How to Cut the Back of Your Head

To cut the back of your head efficiently, you will need to purchase a handheld mirror or have a way to see the back of your head comfortably. Make sure you have your hair clipper set to the right length before you start to cut the hair. Go into your bathroom and stand in front of the mirror. Hold up the mirror at the back of your head, so you have a good view of the back of your head in the mirror in the bathroom. Start by slowly running the clippers up and down the head until you reach the top portion of the hair, and stop at that point.

ProTip: Try to keep mirror in one steady position and rotate your head as opposed to moving around the mirror.

Cut the back evenly throughout making sure you cut all hairs, and the hair clipper missed no hair. Clean up the neck area with a hair trimmer with no guard or a straight razor for a very close shave. If you want to create a line on the neckline, hold the mirror up and keep a steady hand while you cut in a straight line across the natural break in the hair.

How to Cut the Top of the Head

To cut the hair at the top of your head, think of what length you will need to achieve your desired hairstyle. If you want a hairstyle that requires more than only a few inches of hair, you will need to purchase scissors to cut the top of your hair. If you want a hairstyle that is short on top as well, you can go over it with a hair clipper. You will not need to be as careful as the sides, because the hair on top should be longer than the sides unless it is a buzzcut.

ProTip: Run you fingers through the hairs and look for anything longer than the rest.

Run the hair clipper from the front of your head to the back, making sure you also cut the very back of the top hair. If you would like a hairstyle that is longer on top, use a pair of scissors to cut all hairs on the top into equal lengths by using a hair as a guide for the other hairs. To remove some of the bulkiness of the hair that meets from the sides to the top, use a comb to collect the hairs and run a hair clipper over the comb to thin the hair.


Cutting your hair yourself is a great way to save money and take as much time as you want to achieve the perfect hairstyle. You will need to purchase a few tools to start cutting your hair, but it will be worth it because they last a long time with proper care. Another benefit of having your hair cutting tools is being able to lengthen the life of a haircut by trimming things such as the neck and around the ears. To minimize mistakes, take your time to cut your hair and keep a steady hand.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links. Affiliate disclosure.

Related Content