“Hey man, what can I do for you today? What number you want on the sides?!”
The first question is answered with something down the lines of “just a little trim will do”. More often than not, the second question is usually followed by an awkward pause…
The worst thing you could say to any barber is just a little trim without following it up with a haircut number or an indication of the length you want your hair in.
This immediately puts the barber off thinking okay – what does this guy want?
If you are like me and have this type of awkward interactions when you go to the barbershop, then this article will change your life… well, at least your haircuts!
While I may not know what I want, I do know what I don’t want. So, it’s time that consumers like you and I who are not really aware of the concept of sizes in haircuts – need to start paying attention. It is YOUR hair, after all.
Miscommunication to the lack of communication is the number one reason for dissatisfaction at the barbershop. To avoid embarrassing haircuts and awkward silences, we have created this guide on haircut numbers and clipper sizes.
Get ready to know your numbers!
Haircut Number & Hair Clipper Size Chart
|Haircut or Clipper Number||Size in Inches|
DIY TIP: When cutting your own hair – use 0, 1, 2, 3 for the back & sides and use 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for the front. A quick hack for a decent trim at home!
The Relationship Between Haircut Numbers & Hair Clipper Sizes
As mentioned earlier, you can have a good haircut only when you communicate your desired look precisely to your barber. This is because they are unable to read your mind (no matter how much you wish they could!). And, they can NOT picture the look that you’re imaging for yourself.
Having at least a basic understanding of haircut numbers or the standard hair clipper sizes will help you whether you try doing it yourself at home or during your visit to the barbers.
This guide on the various sizes will certainly help you to learn these numbers and what they mean in terms of haircuts.
Different hair clippers provide different kinds of lengths. The clipper comb or guard has a specific number which defines how much of hair it would leave after a cut.
Haircut number, hair clipper size, or guard number refers to the sizes ranging from 0 to 8. In this range,0 means the shortest hair cut or the almost shaved head look which leaves only 1/16th inch of hair. While 8 means the longest, with 1 inch of hair left on your head after a haircut.
Where To Find The Haircut Number or Clipper Size?
Almost every clipper guard comb or the attachable clips have a size etched on the front or side of it. It will clearly show the size in either a number between 0 to 8 or a size in inch or mm depending on which part of the world the clipper is manufactured from.
So now, let’s learn our haircut numbers between 0 to 8!
Haircut Number 0
The 0 in haircut number requires the permanent guard or no attachments. This will give you a bald kind of look. The number 0 would leave 1/16th of an inch or 1.5mm on your head and this number will expose the skin of your scalp by giving you a short buzz look.
If you want to imagine the size of the haircut, recall the length of a beard of two or three days. Use it where you want the skin of your head to be visible, for example when getting a fade or if you want a complete bald fade look.
Haircut Number 1
If you want to use the number one hair clipper size, make sure you know how it would look before you cut off more than you imagined. Although you will be attaching a clip, it is very close to the bald or no clip look. There is only a slight difference between number one and the number zero. The clipper size one also leaves the skin of your head visible but with a layer of hair.
The number 1 of the clipper leaves 1/8th of an inch or 3 mm of hair on your head, just a little bit longer than the zero. This hair clipper size and haircut number is also used to create a short buzz look, if you have a leaner face then go for it.
Haircut Number 2
This haircut number is also one of the shorter ones. You will get 1/4th of an inch or 6 mm of hair left on your head, after using the hair clipper size number 2. Though the difference between number 0 and number 1 is barely noticeable, there is a clear difference between the hair clipper one and two.
If you want your hair not to be very short or very long, then this hair clipper size is for you. This haircut number suits both thick and thin haired people. This number also falls in the category of faded haircuts but it does not reveal the scalp or your skin as much.
Haircut Number 3
If you do not want a bald look and also want a little bit of hair which requires a very little maintenance, then the hair clipper size number 3 should be your choice. This number suits everyone with any kind of face shape. If you cannot choose between hairstyles which are considered to be low maintenance well, this one is for you.
Number 3 hair clipper size would leave hair of almost 3/8th of an inch or 10 mm on your head. This haircut number is also good for both types of hair – thick and thin. If you want short-faded sides, then this clipper is for you. Also, this is the maximum size or biggest number that barbers use for fading.
Haircut Number 4
The hair clipper size number 4 would leave the hair of about 1/2 of an inch or 13 mm on the head. This number can be considered as medium length haircut. Because the hair it leaves are neither very short nor very long, it is a perfect blend of both.
This number is on the borderline of buzz and crew cuts. So, it is not considered for skin fades or bald fades. The ideal cut with this number is to use it on the top of the head and then create fades on the sides to get a trendy and sleek look.
Haircut Number 5
The hair clipper size 5 is used for classical cuts and tapering. It leaves hair of about 5/8 of an inch or 16 mm on the head, which means more hair on the head for those who want to style it. This hair clipper number is the introduction of the sizes for long haircuts.
With this kind of haircut, you have to spare a few minutes to style, care and maintain your hair. Haircut with this clipper number would not limit you to a specific style. It will give you fairly short hair but a lot of independence to play with your hair and try to discover the many different stylesto find one which suits you the best.
Haircut Number 6
This hair clipper size leaves hair of about 3/4 of an inch or 19 mm on the head. It is very much similar to the haircut number 5, since it is also used for the tapering the hair mostly towards the top of the head.
You can use the number 6 clipper size for the upper size of the head. Then for the rest of the sides, you can gracefully use the lower numbered sizes to get a decent look.
Haircut Number 7
Is natural looking hair your goal?
Then the haircut number 7 could be the ideal choice for you. This haircut number leaves hair of about 7/8 of an inch or 22 mm on the head.
You can carry the trendy look without going too short. Like the haircut number 6, you can use it on the top part of your head to get a crew cut and use the smaller sizes on the sides for a long yet neat look.
Haircut Number 8
This hair clipper size could be used, if you do not want to cut too much of your hair and are definitely going for any kind of styling. The length of the hair is the full one inch or 25 mm for this haircut number 8. Mostly the number 8 is used for trimming the large hair at the top of the head.
This haircut would give you the freedom try a different hairstyle everyday using gel or styling balms. But do remember to use slightly lower numbers or clippers sizes on the sides make it look neater. Hair clipper size 7 and 8 should always be used in combination with other less clipper sizes for balancing out the long hair look.
Tips To Maintain Your Hair
Now that you have learned it all, get yourself a great haircut and don’t forget the importance of maintaining your hair!
- After washing your hair do not dry it vigorously with a towel. Try to gently pat it dry and avoid blow drying your hair. If you do use a hair dryer, use lower temperature or cool, not too much heat.
- Do not overuse products such as hair gels, waxes, and definitely not hairspray. Of course, you can use them but do so wisely and naturally. Don’t go and buy every product and use it like Gel, Putties, Wax, Pomade, Paste, Sea Salt Spray and Muds & Clays.
- Do not wash your hair too frequently or repeatedly. Do not fall for the rinse, shampoo rinse, conditions, repeat, etc. cycles – it’s all a myth. You will only dry out hair and make them weak.
- Use the right accessories for your hair like combs, brushes, etc. Use a combination of wide toothed or normal bristle brushes according to the thickness and denseness of your hair.
- Avoid too much exposure directly under the sun. The sun’s harmful rays are not just bad for your skin but also damaging for your hair.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals like chlorine. You must be thinking why would you put chlorine in your hair but consider this how many times do you use a commercial swimming pool or a public swimming pool. The water is heavily treated with chlorine and other chemicals.
- Know your hair and scalp type and use products accordingly. For example, oily scalp/hair, dry scalp/hair, etc. There are specialized products for all hair and scalp types so try to choose according to your unique scalp and hair types.
- Know the right time for a haircut and get a trim regularly to make sure your hair is looking fresh and staying healthy. Leaving hair to grow out uncontrollably without trims can dry them out and make them prone to damage.
- Don’t underestimate the use of essentials oils, conditioning and moisturizing products for your hair. Be smart about choosing what shampoo you are using as well.
- Treat yourself by getting a hair treatment once a year to boost the health of your hair, especially if you have long hair.
In Conclusion: How Much Did You Learn?
Haircuts may not be a major issue, but regardless of your age, it plays a big role in your overall appearance. So, do you think you learned a lot more about haircut numbers and sizes?
The best way to test what you have learned would be to ask yourself if you now know what to tell your barber. If you are able to give him a number and explain yourself better, then give yourself a pat on the back and let us know in the comments!
Remember to always set a haircut goal for yourself whether you are going to the barber or giving yourself a cut at home. Knowing the sizes, numbers and some expert tips will give a huge boost when trimming your own hair or communicating what you want to a hairstylist professional.
Are you planning to cut your own hair?
Are you now more comfortable giving instructions for your haircut?
Well, we hope this article was able to remove all or most of your confusion about haircut numbers and clipper sizes. So, we hope you will be able to answer all of your barber’s questions and dare to even cut your own hair.