Skip to Content

Haircut Numbers Guide: Clipper Sizes for Your Perfect Cut (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

haircut numbers and hair clipper sizesYou’re not alone if those haircut numbers at the barbershop seem like another language. Figuring out clipper sizes can be confusing when you just want a good haircut. But understanding those numbers is your ticket to telling your stylist exactly how to cut your hair – no vagueness or guesswork.

This guide breaks down clipper guards from a 0 to a 7 so you’ll walk out with the perfect fade, crew cut, buzzcut, or whatever you’re going for. With some know-how on clipper sizes, you’ll get salon-quality haircuts without the trial and error.

We’ll cover everything from a 0 or 1 all over to a sharp taper fade so you can pick your ideal style. And you’ll learn what length each guard cuts to on top, sides, and back. Now you can skip the terminology struggle and simply show your barber the guard number for the precise look you want.

Key Takeaways

  • Clipper guard numbers indicate hair length in eighths of an inch, with higher numbers leaving more hair.
  • Choosing the right clipper number depends on factors such as hair texture, face shape, and desired style.
  • Very short cuts like a number 0 or 1 require extra scalp care.
  • Communicating your preferred clipper number to your barber ensures you get the haircut you want.

What Are Haircut Numbers?

What Are Haircut Numbers
You’re looking at trim lengths, bud – the numbers on your clippers that’ll shape your style. Each guard’s got a number that tells how many eighths of an inch they’ll leave behind. Like a #2 leaves a quarter inch. A #4? Half an inch of hair. They go all the way up to #8 for a full inch.

Now between each number you can tweak it with that lever – open it up and you’ll get a sixteenth-inch longer cut than closed. Good to know when you’re blending a fade. And zero gets you smooth skin with the lever shut.

With all those options, you gotta think on hair type and your face shape. Different numbers flatter different mugs, you dig? Experiment until you find your groove. And let your barber know which guard you’re vibing on. Speak the clipper language, and you’ll step out styled your way.

Number 0 Haircut

Number 0 Haircut
A skin fade leaves your scalp bare. Going with a number 0 buzz cut means choosing the shortest hair clipper guard option. This cuts your hair down to the skin with barely any length left. The zero-gap clipper blade removes all hair for an exposed scalp look.

Such short hairstyles like a bald fade require maintaining scalp health. Without any hair coverage, your scalp needs gentle cleansing and moisturizing.

When asking your barber for a number 0 cut, you’re requesting the closest shave. The closed taper lever paired with no guard ensures no hair remains. This zero length reveals your scalp fully. Opting for a number 0 cut produces the boldest buzz style, leaving hair cropped down to the skin.

The ultra-short look requires confidence to pull it off. But a skilled barber can deliver a smooth, sleek number 0 haircut you’ll love.

Number 1 Haircut

Number 1 Haircut
Mate, rockin’ a number one keeps it simple yet sharp. The number one guard leaves just 1/8 inch of hair. It creates a uniform buzz cut length all over if you use clippers with no attachments. Or it can blend a high fade when using the taper lever open or closed. With a number one, you get a bit more hair to play with versus a bald shave.

It allows for subtle variations, like a shadow fade versus a skin fade. The ultra-short length works for all hair types and lets you focus on the taper shape.

A number one also needs less upkeep than longer styles. Just maintain your hairline and nape for a clean look. Properly using clipper guards like the number one elevates your overall appearance.

Number 2 Haircut

Number 2 Haircut
After learning about number 1 haircuts, let’s move on to the number 2 clipper guard and hairstyle. With the number 2 guard, your hair will be left at 1/4 inch long. This creates a slightly longer buzz cut look that works well for thicker and wavier hair textures.

Here are a few key points about number 2 haircuts:

  • Leaves hair 1/4 inch long
  • Ideal for Caesar cuts
  • Allows some texture and waves
  • Works for thick and wavy hair
  • Longer than a number 1 buzz
  • Easy to maintain

The number 2 guard offers a happy medium between an ultra-short buzz and a longer crew cut. It provides enough length to style your hair while keeping it neat and trimmed close to the head. When getting a haircut, requesting a number 2 clipper guard will give you a tailored, polished style that looks sharp yet natural.

Number 3 Haircut

Number 3 Haircut
A trimming to 3/8 of an inch gives shape while keeping length for versatility. Whether you want a classic crew cut or something edgier, asking your barber for a number three taper shows you have a good understanding.

There are variations, like keeping the top longer or fading down from a three. This allows the barber flexibility in the tapering process while ensuring enough hair remains for styling options. Blending a three into shorter sides takes skill. Clippers easily cut a uniform three, but scissors blend lengths artfully.

From a barber’s perspective, requesting a number three demonstrates familiarity with haircut numbers and clipper sizes. It provides a canvas for precision tapering and styling. Just enough length remains for product or natural texture without becoming shaggy.

Number 4 Haircut

Number 4 Haircut
Get ready for that old school feel with a number four. Using the number four guard leaves your hair about half an inch long. It’s a classic length that takes you back to childhood buzz cuts but with a modern twist.

The slightly longer top compared to a number three allows for more texture and flow. It works well for guys who want short hair with a subtle retro vibe. Request a number four next time at the barber’s for a low-maintenance do that still has character.

Experiment by asking your stylist to go shorter on the sides and back with a number two guard while keeping the length up top.

Ultimately the number four delivers a timeless short style with just enough length for a hint of flow and flexibility.

Number 5 Haircut

Number 5 Haircut
Seeking a longer yet professional style? A number five guarded clip delivers the right balance of length for versatile styling. At 5/8 inches long, a number five retains some flow on top while allowing for tapered sides.

  • Enough length for parting, combing and styling hair.
  • A classic yet modern look suitable for most settings.
  • The option to style hair up or back.
  • A tapered look with shorter sides and longer top.

The number five’s subtle yet sufficient length grants flexibility, making it an ideal choice for those wanting a polished style with styling options.

Number 6 Haircut

Number 6 Haircut
Y’all get your barber to knock you down to a six for that slightly longer crew cut look. With a number six clipper guard, you get about 3⁄4 inches of hair left on top. This leaves enough length for some styling versatility while keeping the sides tapered short.

Here’s a quick rundown of number six hairstyle options:

Haircut Style Notes
Classic crew cut Can brush up with pomade for height
Short pompadour fade Needs product for hold and shape
Messy faux hawk Spiky look with faded sides
Slicked side part Comb hair to the side for a dapper look

The clipper lever position makes a subtle difference in length too. A six with the lever open leaves a little more hair than when closed. This number six zone hits the sweet spot between a shorter buzz and fuller crew cut styles.

Number 7 Haircut

Number 7 Haircut
Now let’s talk about the number 7 haircut. This leaves 7/8 inches or 0.875 inches of hair. It builds on the previous subtopic, providing slightly more length than the number 6 while maintaining a short, masculine style.

The number 7 works well for guys who want a bushy crew cut look with some scalp exposure. It offers just enough length to style the top while tapering the sides. This creates a classic yet rugged style when combined with the right fade techniques.

The number 7 hits a nice sweet spot between the shorter number 6 and the longer number 8 haircut. It provides enough length for variations in styling while still keeping hair manageable. For many gents, the number 7 haircut offers the ideal blend of masculinity, versatility and barbershop culture.

Ultimately the length comes down to personal preference, but the number 7 clipper guard remains a go-to choice for a tapered, stylish cut.

Choosing Your Clipper Number

Choosing Your Clipper Number
When deciding on your clipper guard number, you’ll want to consider hair texture, face shape, and personal preference. Thicker, coarser hair can handle a shorter guard number than thin or fine hair, while an oblong face shape typically works well with shorter sides and a longer top.

Ultimately, the number you choose will come down to the style you prefer and feel most confident wearing.

Hair Texture

You’d be amazed how adjusting the clippers helps tame wild hair. Fine hair needs sharp, precise edges. Curly styles work best at longer lengths. Thick hair requires sturdy guards. Wavy textures need blending.

Straight hair looks great short or long. Coarse hair needs calmer clippers and consideration of length.

Face Shape

Once shaped, your face forever frames your finest features. Considering your facial shape when selecting a clipper number ensures the cut flatters and balances your natural structure. An oval face gives freedom to experiment. More angular faces like square benefit from softer edges, while longer faces suit shorter sides.

Your barber should adjust clipper lengths to complement facial features. With the right clipper number, confidence emerges.

Personal Preference

Why choose your usual clip when there’s a world of lengths to explore? Experiment with a new clipper number every visit. The higher the number, the more hair left on top. Cut it shorter to spice up your style, or go longer to reclaim lost locks.

Consider your face shape, too – a longer top flatters a longer face while a short cut minimizes roundness.

Most celebrities embrace adaptable fade styles coupling very short sides with medium to long tops. Exposing the hint of stubble with a high fade can feel edgy yet polished. Let your haircut showcase your trendsetting spirit.


At the end of the day, the right clipper number comes down to you. Whether you want a high fade, textured crop, or classic crew cut, the guard sizes help achieve your perfect style. Opt for a shorter number to go buzzed or faded. Try a mid-range clip to get shaped up while maintaining some length.

Or keep it conservative with a slightly longer size. Like a sculptor chipping away, your barber will expertly carve your hair to match the vision you communicate through those simple numbers.

So take control of your cut – decide the length, find a skilled barber, and name your clipper number.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.