How to Give Yourself a Buzz Cut – Detailed 9 Step Guide

1. Tools for Buzz Cuts

You need to purchase a durable trimmer that you can use quite often.  Maintaining a buzz cut at the certain length will require that you trim down your hair at least 3 times a week.  If you were to purchase a cheap trimmer, it will probably breakdown after a few months.  I recommend the popular Wahl Model 400T (link to Amazon).

Having a buzz cut gives you a specific look.  Once you start to enjoy the attention that it derives, you will understand that you need to keep it nice and tidy.  I find that if a buzz cut gets to be too long, it starts to look messy, especially around the ears.

You also need to have a handheld mirror to inspect your trimming jobs for your buzz cuts.  I like the mirror by Deatti (link to Amazon).  It is very easy to leave patches of hair. For instance, in the hard to see areas behind the head. The back of the skull has a lot of contours because it is cradling your brain.  These contours make it harder to give yourself a buzz cut that is even all over.

You will need to use a small mirror to view the back your head.  The handheld mirror will be used in conjunction with your bathroom mirror.

There is no need to buy a mirror that is that large.  A large mirror that is heavy is going to make your mirror use a nightmare.  You just need to scan a small area of your head to see if the hair is uneven or not. You do not need to see the entire surface of the back of your head at one time to check your buzz cut hair length.

I would also suggest that you have with you a new multi-blade razor.  You will be using this razor to create a fine line at the bottom of your neck.  Also, you will need the razor to shave down your shoulders if you tend to have a lot of hair growing there.  I personally shave my shoulders up to my neck because I have a lot of scraggly looking hair that grows in this area. I like to shave it down to make it as smooth as possible. It just looks neater when I do so.

Also, have a can of shaving cream handy so that you can lather up the bottom of your neck before shaving it with your razor.

2. Shaving your Neckline For a Buzz Cut

This area is tricky to see on your own.  A lot of people are going to notice that you raggedy grow on your neck and they are going to assume that you are a total newbie with respect to personal hygiene and grooming.

You should try your best to get this area void of hair and I am talking about super smooth. Although this is the back of your neck, you can shave it down on your own while maintaining a straight line that makes sense.  Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Hold your trimmer with the blades facing your neck and shave a horizontal line against where your head hair starts to grow. You should be holding your handheld mirror in your other hand so that you can ensure that the line that you are creating is straight across.
  2. The next step is to turn the trimmer over and to trim using upwards strokes on your neck up to the horizontal line that you had traced out.
  3. The final step is to use your razor on your neck to make it smooth.  First of all, submerge a small hand towel into a sink of warm water.  Ring out the towel and hold it along the back of your newly trimmed neck for about 1 minute.
  4. This is going to relax the follicles and prepare the skin to be shaved.  Add a small amount of shaving cream to the back of your neck.
  5. Now, shave the area using your multi-blade razor.  The best type of razor is one that has a pivoting head so that you can deal with the curvature of your neck.
  6. You actually do not need to use a mirror to shave this area.  Just run your free hand along the area to ensure that it does not feel rough at all.  If there is an area that has a stubbly feel to it, pull the razor along that area again until it has a smooth feel to it.
  7. Using your handheld mirror, inspect your neck.  If it looks and feels smooth, you are ready to move onto the following step for buzz cutting your hair.

3. Trimming the Front of Your Hair

Since this is the first step that involves your trimmer, you need to prepare it.  Add a small amount of trimmer oil to the blades.  If you do not have trimmer oil handy, use some baby oil. Then turn on the blades and shake the trimmer over your bathroom sink.  Some debris should fall off of the blades.  Next, using a kleenex, wipe off the blades.

Oil will stay be on the trimmer at this point, but that is OK.  The oil will help to prevent the trimmer from clogging up during your trimming session.

I like to start with the front of my head when I give myself a buzz cut.  At this point, you have to decide on the length that you wish to achieve.  I would suggest that you use a setting that is longer than what you are expecting to use.  If after a few swipes with the trimmer that you find the length is still too long, adjust the setting so that you will create a closer trim.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Make about five swipes with the trimmer going from the front to the top of your head.
  2. The portion above your ears is hard to trim, but we cover that area in another step.
  3. After the five passes, shake the trimmer in your sink to dislodge some of the hair trimmings.
  4. Continue trimming until the whole front portion has a uniform length.

4. Buzz Cut for the Back of the Head

Buzzing the back of the head is something that people really get stressed about.  They cannot see the back as well as the front. Nevertheless, since you had already traced a fine line bordering your hairline, the section is very hard to screw up.

Here are the steps to follow for buzzing the back of your head:

  1. Hold the trimmer so that the blades are facing your head.
  2. Place the trimmer at the bottom of your hairline and trim up to the top of your head.
  3. You will have trouble at the mid-point of the back your skull because of the shape of the skull. Do not worry about those spots right now. We will deal with them later on.
  4. Continue to create paths with the trimmer in upward motions until you have covered the complete back portion of your head.
  5. Now, inspect this area using your small mirror and your bathroom mirror in conjunction.
  6. If you notice that the length is not even in certain areas, trim those sections again.

5. How to Buzz the Side of Your Head

Now that you have covered the back and the front, it is time to focus in on the sides of your head.  This portion is quite simple.

Here are the steps to follow to buzz the sides:

  1. Hold the trimmer so that the blades are pointing upwards.
  2. Start to trim the first side using short strokes in an upward motion.
  3. Continue trimming until you have reached close to the top of your head.
  4. The reason that you need to go in an upward motion since the hair of the sides of the head has follicles that are structured to hold hair in a downward direction.  It is always best to buzz your hair against the grain.  If you were to go with the grain, the hairs would be laying down which would not allow you to trim them adequately.

6. Buzzing the Hair Around your Ears

You need to create a smooth distinct line around your ears and also at along your sideburns.  If you do not do so, your buzz cut is not going to look clean and tidy.

To create this smooth line, it is difficult to do so with a razor as you did with the back of your neck.  You need to use your trimmer in a unique way.

Follow the following steps to create a clean line that follows the contour of your ears:

  1. Put the trimmer on its lowest setting so that the blades will cut as close as possible.
  2. For the sideburn that faces the ear, you can hold the trimmer flat on the sideburn facing upwards at the very bottom of the sideburn. Now trim a straight line across the sideburn.
  3. Around the ear, you need to trace a line that follows the contour of the ear.  You will need to bend the upper part of the ear downwards using your free hand.
  4. You can trim this line using just the point of the trimmer. While continuing to hold the ear back, trace the line in an arch-like shape that follows the shape of the ear.
  5. Now you can do the same for the other side of your head.
  6. If you notice that you had missed some hair just above this line, it is now ok to set your trimmer on a higher setting so that you can trim to make the length consistent with the hair on the sides of your head.

7. Buzz Cutting the Top of your Head

You are almost finished your buzz cut.  The last section is the top of your head.  This section is hard to deal with for a buzz cut because it is has a lot of dips in it.

Here is how to buzz cut the top of your head:

  1. Start at the front and create a few stripes from the front to the back of your head.  You do not have to worry if you pass by the top of your head because we are trimming all of the hair on your head to the same length.
  2. At the very top of your head, you will have two evenly spaced ridges.  To buzz the hair along these ridges, you will need to trim in strokes that start from one side of your head to the other side.
  3. You may have to repeat the above steps several times in order to ensure that the hair on the top is all the same length.

8. Inspection time

Even though you might be confident that your buzz cut is perfect.  You will need to inspect it using your small mirror and your bathroom mirror.

Sometimes, especially at the very top of your head, the varying positioning of hair follicles can cause hair to grow in various directions. The fact that your hair might not be at the same length means that you need to inspect it closely.  Having a buzz cut that is uneven is a big no-no and it is something that you need to avoid.

You only need to take a quick glance to see if you have the perfect buzz cut. Start by looking into your bathroom mirror at the front of the buzz cut.  Are there hairs that are slightly longer than the rest that are there? If so, just take out your trimmer and even out the front.

Now, you will need to use your handheld mirror.  Hold it to one side and look into your bathroom mirror to see if the sides are the same length or not. Again if you notice that the length is off, use your trimmer in an upward fashion to trim sections that are longer than the rest.

Use the small mirror to inspect the back of your head.  The areas where there bumps in the skull are usually where you will notice that your buzz cut in the back is not unique.  Use your trimmer to even out the hair in the back if need be.

9. Protect Your Skin After a Buzz Cut with Sunscreen

This step is something that most people miss.  After you have buzz cut your head, your skin is going to be sensitive and possibly flaking since you will have removed some of its natural oils.  Now is the time to protect this skin from damage. Protecting it will actually make your skin look healthier and more vibrant which will help in the overlook of your buzz cut.

Here are some steps that you can use to restore the strength of your hair follicles on your head after buzzing it down:

  1. Before you add any cream to your head, you should step into the shower and rinse off your head after applying soap to it. You need to remove as many of the dead skin cells as possible so that you ensure that the follicles are not clogged.  Clogged follicles will cause problems with your hair growth and the appearance of your buzz cut.
  2. Now using a clean towel, dry off your head completely.
  3. Add sunscreen to your skull.  Try using a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 40.  If you have never buzzed your head before, the skin on your head can get easily burnt by the sun.  Adding sunscreen will keep it moist and protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.
  4. Just add some sunscreen cream to one of your hands and apply it to the top of your head.  Now, rub it into the rest of the skin on your head.  At first, it might look as if it has a whiten look to it, but as the cream is absorbed by your skin, your natural skin color will be apparent once again.
  5.  You should also apply sunscreen to your face and neck.  This is something that you could do every day of the year.  Even if you live in an area that has a cold winter, the sun can still affect your skin.  Your skin will maintain a younger appearance due to the sunscreen.

Can You Buzz Wet Hair?

You can buzz your head even if the hair is wet.  Nevertheless, if your hair is rather long, to begin with, you might want to trim it down while it is dry with a higher setting on the trimmer so that you do not pull on the hair.

If you are just performing maintenance trimming on your buzz cut, it is actually better to have it slightly damp.  Apparently, it is easier on the blades of a trimmer.  Also, it is not going to damage the look of your buzz cut if you were to trim it after stepping out of the shower.  In other words, if you are in rush and you want to save a minute or two, just perform maintenance on your buzz cut while it is still damp.

What is a Number 1 Buzz Cut

Using the number 1 setting on a trimmer is going to give you a short buzz cut.  It will not be as short as it could be when not using a guard but it is will be tight to your head.

Some people like to have a buzz cut that has multiple levels to it.  It can give a lot your buzz cut a pronounced, box-like and a more classic style that is similar to a military cut.

When I was younger and in the militia, we were required to have a faded type of buzz cut.  The sides had a very close to the head, almost as if they had been shaved.  This close cut can be accomplished by removing the guard on a trimmer and having the blade setting on its lowest setting.  The top of the haircut could also be shaved, similar to the marine type of haircut which is a total buzz cut.

I used to keep my hair longer on the top because when I was in High School it was less abrupt and less frowned upon by my peers.  I guess that I was still dealing with peer pressure that would alter my decisions.

To have this multiple level style, you need to add the guard for the top of the head.  It gives the top of the head a darker appearance since the sides are quite short.

Also by using the number 1 attachment along with the attachments that are progressively longer, you can create the fade haircut.  This is a very popular style that you can see with the younger generation on social media networks like YouTube.  It gives your hair a look that is well-structured.

Here are some steps to follow to achieve the fade effect:

  1. To create a fade, you start with the lowest setting on the trimmer and trim a line that goes from the top of the ears to about two inches about the ears. You will need to use this setting on the back of the head also to get the full effect of the fade.
  2. Now, add an attachment to the trimmer and create another trimmed line that circles your head.  Since the hair in this section will be longer than the first, it will appear darker.
  3. For the top portion of your head, it would be best to remove the first attachment and to add another attachment that is longer.  Now, trim the top of your head. Congratulations, you have created the perfect fade haircut!

What is the Difference Between a Crew Cut and a Buzz Cut?

A crew cut is similar to a buzz cut. It is actually a variation of the typical buzz cut. First of all, I will explain the fine points of a crew cut.

Crew Cut Characteristics:

  1. It is also called the fade haircut because the hair is trimmed in different lengths. You will need to use various attachments on your trimmer to create this effect.
  2.  It is also considered to be a more fashionable style than the typical buzz cut.  It provides more character I feel to the haircut. Also, since the hair at the top of the head can be a lot longer than the sides with a true crew cut, you can have multiple variations of it. For instance, you could create a sharp shaved line between the buzzed sides that would really accentuate the upper portion and make it pop.

The Look of The Typical Buzz Cut:

The major difference between a buzz and a crew cut is that a buzz cut is the same length all over.  It gives the head the helmet look.  It is a style that is called the military haircut.  I have noticed that Marines all have a buzz cut.

The reason that the military embrace this style is because all of the recruits will look the same with respect to their hairstyles.  When training recruits you have to ensure that they work as a team and if they had different haircuts, the uniformity would be missing.

Here are the main elements of the buzz cut:

  1. The length is the same all over.
  2. The cut is very close to the head.
  3. It does not have any fade or tapering to it.
  4. Very popular with the Marines and it is required during recruit training.
  5. Easy to accomplish and to maintain and it can be accomplished on your own.

Is a Buzz Cut Ok for a Job Interview?

It is fine to go for a job interview with a buzz cut. Of course, it all depends on the person doing the interviewing.  If they view a buzz cut as aggressive and strict, perhaps they will feel as you might not be able to work well as an individual.

On the other hand, the interviewer might be influenced in the following positives ways to a possible employee with a buzz cut:

  1. They may feel as this person would work well in a team setting.  The military aspect of a buzz cut may give the person the air of someone that will follow rules that will be totally dedicated to their job.
  2. A buzz cut can make a person look more confident and organized.  They are not going to be distracted with a long messy haircut that requires a lot of maintenance and effort.
  3. Someone with a buzz cut looks very professional and clean cut.  They are not going to create waves in the organization and they will take the steps to make things happen.
  4. If a potential employee were to come to an interview with the newest cookie cutter hairstyle like a man bun, the interviewer would perhaps view the person as someone that can be easily influenced by others into conforming.  I feel that this attribute is not good for an up and coming organization, you need people that can think on their own and that are not going to be influenced by the latest trends.
  5. Also, if you are an older middle-aged man that has a receding hairline, you are going to look as if you are trying to hide something if you were to style your hair in such a way to camouflage your hair loss.  You would be better off with a buzz cut.