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How To Give Yourself a Buzz Cut

Eyeing those clippers for a new look? Here’s how to buzz at home—plus expert advice on the easiest way to give yourself this low-maintenance haircut.

GUIDE: How To Give Yourself a Buzz Cut

1. Get the goods
To minimize the mess, have on hand a plastic bag (to place underneath you), lint roller, and vacuum. You’ll also need a hand-held mirror to help with your blind spots. A pair of clippers run anywhere from $20 - $120 online. Aronov relies on the Wahl Sterling Reflections Clipper for its reliability and precision. Make sure to keep the head well oiled prior to each use. ($71;

2. Choose a Length
Better to test-run a longer length than rock a straight-up military cut your first time. A #3 or #4 attachment gives a longer, office-friendly look without showing any skin. Start with one of these guards first, and then if you want to go shorter, try a #2 for a shorter buzz.

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3. Start on Top
On completely dry hair, take the large buzzer to the top of your head and move against the grain (front to back) in a straight, repetitive motion. “Make sure you go over it until there are no little bumps,” says Aronov

4. Work the Side
A buzz cut rule to live by this rule—always go shorter on the sides by one guard length. “It’s not that the hair necessarily grows faster on the side, but it looks poofier as it grows in,” says Aronov. If you used a #3 on top, pop on a #2 for the sides (or if you use a #4 on top, use a #3 on the sides). In a similar motion, start at the bottom-front near your temple, move upward, and work your way back behind the ears.

5. Look Back
Using the hand-held mirror to guide you, work the buzzer from bottom to top in a straight motion. If you’re working alone, leave the neckline natural. Since this part is tricky, ask a buddy to help with a bit of touchup in the back. “The way back doesn’t have to be super manicured,” says Aronov. “Leave it be if you can’t find an extra set of hands.”

6. Keep It Up
How fast your hair grows, and what type of hair you have, will determine how often you re-buzz it. Curly hair maintains a round shape as it grows, but thinner, straighter hair can start sticking out after just a week. Repeat your buzz every 1-2 weeks to keep your fresh-cut look, or let your grow and re-cut it every 3 weeks for lower maintenance hair. The best part? With a buzz cut, all you have to do in the morning is shower, towel dry, and go—no hair products necessary.


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