General Question

dxs's avatar

How hard is it to use clippers?

Asked by dxs (14816points) September 8th, 2015

I’m amazed at how expensive it is to cut hair. So, I want to do it myself. I have never used clippers before, though, and was wondering how difficult it was. I want to shave my head and my beard to ½ inch. I heard it wasn’t as difficult with a higher setting such as a half inch. Will it come out good and is it okay if I don’t want to buy the most expensive clippers? The whole point is for me to save money.

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25 Answers

rojo's avatar

I have never tried it but I have a good friend who does his own hair and has done for several years now.

He used to just use the clippers with the smallest head attachment that gave him about a 1/8” cut all over. But, he has since graduated to just running the clippers over his head without the attachment then pulling out a cheap double bladed disposable razor and some shaving cream to finish the job and make his bald pate shine.

If he can do it with very few observable scars I am sure you can too.

dxs's avatar

That’s definitely reassuring. Thanks!

elbanditoroso's avatar

I bought mine at Target for about $40. It doesn’t have the plastic tips; the spacer(s) are built into the clipper and can be adjusted at will. I keep mine at a ‘2’ setting always. Oh, it’s rechargeable, so I don’t have to mess with a cord. If you want a half inch, you’ll probably do a 4 or 5 setting.

Doing your head and beard – easy. Don’t be in a hurry. Follow the same path/grain just as if you were sanding wood. Do it all, slowly, and then go back over it to get the places you missed. And you always miss something.

The clipper pays for itself in 2 cuts.

One other thing, be sure to put a towel or sheet over the sink to catch all the tiny pieces of hair. Otherwise its a pain to clean up.

But the clipping – easy and well within your capability. Just be patient.

gondwanalon's avatar

You can do it. You don’t need to buy the most expensive clippers but don’t buy the cheapest. Sounds like you want to give yourself a butch-like cut. That’s very easy but you want to be careful and taper the ½” length hair down to the skin around the sides and back of your head

I’ve been cutting my hair for over 40 years and have never really botched it. While cutting my hair I use the bathroom wall mirror and hold a small mirror in one hand and the electric clippers in the other hand (also I use a pair of high quality hair cutting scissors). I have no problem seeing and cutting all aspects of my head. Like a lot of things it takes practice and patients and a steady hand. Have fun and save a lot of money!

FYI: Back in the 1970’s I paid $3 (that was a lot of money back then) for a hair cut. The barber laughed at me when he was done and said “You looked better before the hair cut”. I said, “Do you think that I’ll ever come back here again?” I’ve been cutting my own hair ever since saving many hundreds of $‘s. I reason “Why pay someone to make me look bad when I can do that for free?” HA!

ibstubro's avatar

You might check this out.

You would eb able to change your hairstyle and continue to cut your own.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Using the clippers themselves is not too hard, if you are doing the same height all over. If you have loosely curly hair or an area with a bad cowlick you may have to do something different. When I was younger I cut my own hair with clippers and many people thought I went to the stylist. I would suggest not going too cheap with the clippers, some cheaper ones do not have smooth action, if it sounds like a chainsaw it is probably too cheap, which means it might get very hot to hold in a short distance of time. I always went for metal guards over plastic, because they don’t break or chip if you happen to drop them, and they hold their shape pretty much under any condition, so I know when I put #2 guard on, it is not like a #1.75 because the plastic distorted over time, etc. Getting the mirrors set so you can see all around your head, that is the hard part.

majorrich's avatar

We used to give each other haircuts when I was in the Army. It was pretty easy. But everyone’s head looked the same afterward. Operating the shears is no problem. The skill is in getting your vision onto the hair. In our case, it was simply removal.

rojo's avatar

You, thinking about it I have to ask, does manscaping count? If so then, yeah, I have used shears clippers for grooming purposes. As I recall it wasn’t too difficult but the chance of nicks and cuts increased dramatically.

Pachy's avatar

Wow! I admire your bravery. Me, I can’t even trim my brows without messing up. But I’m betting you’ll do fine if you follow the above advice AND take your time, and I’m sure it’ll get easier and easier as you become more experienced. Good luck!

ucme's avatar

The simple & most accurate answer is…it isn’t.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yeah, it’s easy. I used to cut my own hair with clippers.

dxs's avatar

Thanks for all the responses.
@elbanditoroso That’s another good point about the mess. I have a pretty small bathroom and I’m not sure how I’d be able to clean up after it. I also have a porch, so I though about doing it there but then I’d only have one mirror.

majorrich's avatar

There is also the Flowbee

SmashTheState's avatar

Years ago I decided to try the same thing you are. I went out and bought a $20 hair clipper which did nothing except tangle itself in my hair and attempt to rip out the roots. It cut nothing at all. It might have been capable of trimming the ends of a beard, maybe, but when faced with anything thicker it just threw up its hands and quit – and left me trying to untangle my hair out of its blades without yanking out my roots.

ibstubro's avatar

If you wait another month, six weeks, you can comfortably cover your attempts with a sock hat during the day and take some time perfecting your technique/getting critiques off-times. Even view your head at the department store without showing the masses.

As for the mess, do you have a shower? I’d be tempted to strip and trim my hair in the shower. Take a roll of paper towels and mop up the excess hair, then shower and run the rest down the drain. If you trim fairly often, you should be able to run it all down the drain, as it’ll be about like dust.

Blackberry's avatar

You’ll be fine. I cut my own hair all the time, but the only problem is trimming the back of my head. I need someone to do that for me if I want it to look decent.

ibstubro's avatar

@dxs. Any roommate help?

ucme's avatar


dxs's avatar

@ibstubro Ehh I think it’d be easier doing it by myself. I wear a hat a lot anyway so if I mess up I guess it won’t be the end of the world. There’s also a $9 haircut place nearby if I’m desperate to fix it.

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ibstubro's avatar

So, what did you end up deciding, @dxs.
To buzz or not to buzz?

dxs's avatar

Well, I started off with just buzzing my face hair. I was gonna upload a pic but never got to it. It took me way too long to figure out that you had to go in the opposite direction of when you shave with a non-electric razor.
I’m going to try shaving the hair on my head next. And I wear a hat 92.3% of the time so I should be fine if I mess it up. It’s just those days I have to dress fancy for class observation/teaching that I’m worried about.

ibstubro's avatar

I trim my goatee and stache with a trimmer that has a permanent, adjustable guard. I never move it off 5.

Today I was at Big Lots and noticed what appeared to be a decent Wahl hair trimmer for $19! Hardly more than one haircut and tip, where I go. Wahl used to be a pretty good name, but I’m sure they make all different grades, now.
It was kind of cool, too…the guards were color coordinated by length, with the key right on the back of the razor.

dxs's avatar

Mine has colored guards, too! I bought it at Marshalls for $15. I think it’s this one.

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