In a demanding world where a man’s expected to manscape as well as meet his mortgage repayments, smash his squat PB as well as salary ceilings, and be as good a listener as he is able to stand his own in a scrap, it’s sometimes best to keep things simple.
Start with your hair. Or more specifically, start by buzzing it all off. The buzz cut – a firm favourite of men from Brad Pitt to army recruits – is the ultimate in classically masculine, low-maintenance hairstyles.
Cut short and usually uniform in length, buzzed hair doesn’t kink, curl or lie lank across your forehead, which means you won’t spend half an hour wrangling your locks into submission every morning. Not only that, but it works everywhere too – from the boardroom to a black tie ball.
Sounds good, right? To help you get the best buzz possible, we sat down with Adam Gore, founder of, and chief barber at, 2016’s UK Barbershop of the Year, Barberology, to get his two cents on how to buzz your hair at home, what you need to do it and how to tweak this timeless style to suit you.
Is A Buzz Cut Right For You?
As versatile as a buzz cut is, it’s not a one-size-fits-all style. Lumps, bumps, scars and the curvature of your skull are all things that play a part in determining how suited you are to a buzz cut, and which style of buzz cut works best with your head – so before committing to one, consider the shape of your bonce.
Gore advises taking a good look at yourself in the mirror (you could even try snapping selfies from different angles) to get to know your head shape better. “If your head has a protruding occipital bone [otherwise known as the bone at the lower-back of your skull], then it’s probably best to opt for a blend on the sides, rather than a uniform length, to create a more masculine, squarer shape.”
What You Need
Buzzing to give it a go? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Quality clippers. “Preferably from an established brand, and with a rotary motor, as rotary motor clippers are better at removing bulk,” says Gore. A good set of clippers also lets you better hone your style, giving you the precision to the nail those subtle tweaks for different takes on the standard buzz cut.
- A set of guards. Ranging from #1 to #4.
- A soft-bristled brush. For keeping clippers clean and hair-free.
How To Do It
Start by ensuring your hair is both clean and bone-dry – wet hairs stick together, not only making it difficult to track your progress, but also causing your clippers to clog up.
Then, try grabbing some. “If you’re able to grab your hair with your hand, then it’s best to cut the bulk down first,” says Gore. So if you’re rocking hair that’s over an inch or so long, start with a #4 all over and then move down to your desired length; hair longer than that should be trimmed with scissors first to prevent jamming your clippers.
When you’re ready to shave, start at the top of your head and – using straight, front-to-back motions – gradually work your way through your hair, taking care to go over the same area several times until it looks uniform. Once you’re happy with the overall length, go one down on your guards and carefully clipper the edges of the neck and around the ears (a handheld mirror comes in handy here) to help streamline your style.
Types Of Buzz Cut
Want to tweak your look so it doesn’t scare the neighbours? Or give your cut more styling potential? Try subtly switching it up with a variation that works for you.
The shortest of all buzz cuts, the induction cut gets its name from its military origins. Achieved using clippers without a guard, if you’re after anything shorter, you may as well clean shave your head.
A slightly less skinhead variation on the induction, the burr involves cutting the hair with clippers set on a #1, #2 or #3 guard.
Longer than a burr, but still short. It’s done using clippers set on a #4 guard.
A buzz cut you can take home to your mum, the crew cut isn’t as severe as other shorter variations.
Says Gore: “The hair is tapered with clippers on the sides and back of the head, while the top is either clippered evenly with a longer clipper blade or is tapered towards the vertex (back of the top of the head) so that the hair is slightly longer on the front.” Which gives you a semblance of a fringe to play with if you don’t want the full force of your forehead on show.
Strong-lined and striking, the flattop is as close to sculpture as men’s hairstyles get. “It’s a high fade haircut where the hair on the top is clippered in a way that produces a flat surface when product [like a gel or pomade] is added,” says Gore.
“The hair on the top can range from half an inch to a whole inch depending on preference.”
High & Tight
Like an undercut, but with less hair on top, a high and tight cut is achieved by clippering the back and sides of the head using a #1 or #2 guard, and using a guard two sizes up on top (i.e. #3 or #4) to create contrast.
How To Style It
The beauty of a buzz cut is you don’t really need to worry about styling it; give it a rub with a towel once you’re out of the shower and you’re good to go.
That said, there are some products that can help keep your buzz looking its very best. “All you need is a little product like a light pomade or even a splash of coconut oil to keep your scalp healthy and smelling sweet, too,” says Gore.