How To Give Yourself a Buzz Cut – 7 Steps

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Remington HC4250 Quick Cut Clipper by Remington

Among the various hair clipper styles, the buzz cut is one of the easiest styles to achieve.

And the best part.. you can do it yourself!

Cutting your own hair sounds like ‘disaster’ written all over it. Don’t worry, giving yourself a buzz cut is actually pretty straightforward.

The aim is to achieve a short, uniform length (usually one-quarter inch or shorter) over the entire head.

However, having 2 lengths (sides and top) gives a better look, and is easy to do.

This is a traditional cut for military personnel during their induction into the services.

The ‘Crew Cut’ is a similar style to this. The difference is that the hair is left a little longer on the top and at the front.

Despite the military association, the buzz cut is a smart, ‘edgy‘ cut that is very masculine.

It has gained considerable popularity in recent years among athletes and celebrities.

Famous buzz cuts have included the likes of Brad Pitt, David Beckham and Matthew Fox.

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Not only is the buzz cut now considered a ‘cool’ look, but it is also easy to do, and maintain yourself. This also means you’ll get to save a lot of money and time.

Two or three cuts and you’ve got your money back. Not to mention the number of hours saved, waiting at the barber’s.

Best Clipper For Giving Yourself a Buzz Cut

If you’re going to cut your precious locks and do so repeatedly, you need to buy a decent clipper.

If you’ve already got clippers that you’re happy with, you could use them. The only drawback is they are designed for someone to cut someone else’s hair.

It means they won’t be so easy to handle and won’t be shaped or angled correctly in order to cut your own hair.

Luckily for us, there are now some great hair clippers/trimmers on the market that are designed for the ‘self-cut’ person in mind.

Here are the leading self-cut clippers I recommend:

1. Remington HC4250 Shortcut Pro Self-Haircut Kit

Although I’ve not used it, the Remington Shortcut Pro seems to be a very popular choice for self-trimming.

There are thousands of great reviews about it on Amazon.

It looks like it’s designed perfectly for the job.

2. Philips Norelco QC5580 Do-It-Yourself Hair Clipper Pro (read my full review here)

Once you’ve got a set of clippers you like, make sure you look after them.

Keep them clean and oiled, and they’ll stay nice and sharp and in good working order.

Here’s a video of how to buzz cut your own hair:


Before you start, get everything you need within reach.

You’ll probably be doing this in the bathroom, so a hand-mirror is a must in order to see the back of your head.

Any cheap one will do, but ideally, a mirror that has a handle and is plenty wide enough.

A hand-held vacuum or vacuum with a hose attachment is a must.. or you’ll be spending a lot of time cleaning up millions of tiny hairs that get everywhere!

Unless you cut your hair in the buff, you might want to cover your clothes with a cape.

These barber capes are ‘cheap and cheerful’, but do a great job of keeping the hairs off your clothes.

Wash Your Hair

Wash and fully dry your hair before you start.

Having nice clean hair will make life much easier for you. Your clippers will slice through your hair much quicker and will be less likely to snag or tug at the hair.

Oily or greasy hair, and your lovely new clippers, are not a good combination and could give you an uneven buzz cut.

7 Step Guide For Achieving the Buzz-Cut Look at Home:

Step 1

Decide on what length you want. Instead of going for one length all over, it is fairly easy to taper the length in 2 stages.

If you just want a no-fuss, very short, all-over look, then just go with a number 1 for the whole head.

However, I think the best option is to go for a number 3 blade or guard on top, a number 2 at the sides, and a number 1 around the edges for a tight finish.

This is a classic buzz cut style that you can’t really go wrong with. Barbers know it as the “3-2-1 rule”.

Step 2

Start at the top. Secure the number 3 blade or guard to the clipper. Place the guard flat against the forehead and slowly begin cutting from the front to the back of the head just past the crown.

Repeat in strips until the top is cut evenly. You should cut down the sides of the head just past the point where the head rounds into the sides.

You will probably need to repeat this process a few times to get the hair completely even.

Don’t be afraid to then cut the hair from different directions, especially the crown which grows in a circular pattern.

Step 3

The sides. You’ll need to change blades or guard sizes to the number 2 attachment (¼”).

Once the guard is securely attached, place the guard flat against the side of the head from where the side-burn starts.

Run the clipper in a straight line up the side of the head, just past the start of the buzzed top section, where the head begins to round.

The clipper will naturally come away from the head here to provide an even, smooth blend between the two lengths.

You might need to spend a little extra time achieving this blend. Buzzing the hair in an outwards ‘scooping’ motion will eliminate any lines or ridges.

Repeat in strips on both sides until complete and go over any missed areas.

Step 4

Finish at the back. It is important you have your mirror aligned correctly so that you can see the back of your head clearly.

Keep the number 2 guard on the clipper and place it flat against the bottom part of the neck.

Move slowly up the back of the head until just past the clipped part on top.

Like the sides, continue up the head in a straight line allowing the round of the head near the top to provide a natural blend.

Repeat in strips until the entire back is cut.

Step 5

Tapering the Sides and Back. Tapering will give you a smooth, blended look around the ears and neck.

Attach the number 1 (1/8″) blade or guard. Place the guard at the side-burn and work up to the top of the ear, rocking the clipper out in a scooping motion.

Continue around the ear (you may need to bend the ear with your other hand to give yourself more room and allow you to see what you’re doing) on each side.

Once the sides are finished, do the same at the back, running the clipper up the back of the head and rocking it out at about ear level.

The shortest part of the back will go up to meet the shortest part of the sides.

Step 6

Finishing Touches. You should now use your trimmer to create a neat, sharp cut.

Start by trimming your sideburns and then your neck. It’s a good idea to create a line with the trimmer and shave everything underneath.

Hold your trimmer with the teeth of the blade pointing at your skin to create a clean line.

Step 7

Final Inspection. Once you’ve finished the cut it’s time to inspect the whole head for any missed areas, spots, uneven places, or stray hairs.

Simply use the correct blade for whichever area you are working on. Areas of the crown and back of the head are often missed, so pay particular attention to them.

Once you’re happy, clean up, hit the shower, and bask in the splendor of your new buzz cut!


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