How to Cut Hair - Buzzer/Clipper Method




About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...
Cutting hair using a buzzer (aka clipper) is not only really easy, but also super fast, and once you've invested in a buzzer, totally free!

I used to get haircuts once every month or so for around $20 a pop, which can really add up over the course of one's life. One day I finally drew the line, bought a buzzer and started cutting my own hair and, after a little practice, my friends' hair too.

Here's a video with the condensed info. Read on for the full details.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

Find a nice stool or chair for your subject to sit on. Choose one that is easy to clean (made of vinyl or wood - not fabric) because it's going to get lots of hair on it.

Get a buzzer. Buzzer's from Wahl and Conair are really cheap if you look for them online. I got a buzzer with all the fixings from for $25.

Find something slick to make a gown out of. We used a piece of kite material because it was so slippery that the hair just slid right off.

Step 2: Put a Gown on the Subject

Tape the gown onto the subject. Remember to get it close to their neck so all the little cut off hairs don't fall down their shirt. Those things drive me crazy!

Step 3: Start Buzzing at the Top

Start the buzz by selecting a blade guard size. The number 7 guard is usually the longest, and even that isn't that long - maybe 1" or so. I usually choose about a 6 on the top and a 5 or 4 on the sides. Anything less then a 4 shows the skin underneath, and that's not really an effect I like to do unless it's really hot and I am trying to cool off.

Turn on the buzzer and slowly move from the front of the persons' head to the back. Be careful not to move to quickly as you'll catch their hair in the buzzer and give them a nasty tug.

Make consecutive passes from one side of their head to the other until you've got the whole top cut nice and short.

Step 4: Move on to the Sides and Bottom

Once the top is done you can change the blade guard as necessary and move on to the sides and back of the head. You want to buzz into the grain of the hair so as to catch as much of the long hair in the teeth of buzzer as possible.

Smooth even passes are the key here. It's much better to make a good pass once, rather then repeat the same pass over the same patch of hair over and over.

Step 5: Make a Line Around the Bottom of the Neck

Take the blade guard off and make a nice clean line around the bottom of the persons neck. While you are back there, it's good to take the buzzer and pull down from the line you just created to below the neck line of their shirt to take off all of the fuzzy neck hair.

Some people put a "V" at the bottom center of the neck line, but I don't see why you would want this. I just make one nice smooth continuous line all the way across.

Remember to trim any other extraneous hair as well at this point as the buzzing section of the haircut is coming to an end. Depending on how long they like their sideburns you can use the blade guard and the buzzer to clean those up too and make a nice transition between the sideburns and any facial hair they might have.

Step 6: Grab Some Scissors and Clean Up Around the Ears

Once you're all done with the buzzer you can grab some scissors and carefully trim the hair around your subject's ears. Be careful not to cut them, as that will probably anger them and jeopardize your chances of getting any return business.

That being said, once people realize that they don't have to pay for haircuts, they will most likely come back to you next time they need one. You'll be like Edward Scissor Hands in no time!

Step 7: Shake/Blow Off the Extra Hair

Compressed air works well to blow away any of the little itchy bits that are left behind. Showers work well to wash off the extra hair, and so does baby powder.

Hopefully if you haven't cut your subject's ear off or shaved their heads right down to the skin they should be pretty happy with their new cut!



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    13 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Started doing this after getting my first no. 8 cut in a barbers in Feb 08. Bought a Wahl the next week. I'd recommend it..... Remember! A penny saved is a penny to squander.


    Nice Noah! Wow.... you uh.... did that in the main entrance... Interesting! What'd the unsuspecting pedestrians say when they saw you cutting some serious hair?

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Good instructable, but I think your subject looks better with longer hair - in your 'before' picture he looks young and innocent, but afterwards he looks older and more business-like...

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Not to be sexist, but would you happen to be female? I've come up with a theory, but Girls (and most loudly, my girl) hate it when I cut my hair short. I go to the barber shop and tell them to use a "1 1/2 blade-guard (about 1/4 in) and just hit it all around". I like it, it's keeps my head cool, my dandruff under control, and isn't a pain in the 455 to take care of/style in the morning, etc... But all the girls I interact with are put-off by it, begging me to leave it longer next time. Dudes on the other hand either don't care (which is just regular male understanding of / apathy to aesthetics that don't really concern them to begin with) or understand my logic or even think it looks better. I dunno, again, just a theory.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i aggree with you he looks like a crim with the short hair cut..............great instructable tho by the way.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    do people really call these hair clippers"buzzers?"

    That compressed air made me laugh. Can you do zig zag lines?

    I would so let you cut my hair


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If you ever have any people who are nervous about getting their hair done, just remind them:

    "It will grow back!"


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Just ask "can I get a Britney?" :-D Wish I had a compressed air hose handy, for when I trim my beard. (I have a feeling people would look at me funny if I tried to trim my beard at the gas station...)