Clippers come in all shapes, sizes, and motor strengths. Generally, they all come with a full set of guards. These guards slip over the teeth of the clippers, and keep the person cutting hair, from taking too much off. These guards are in one eighth inch increments. Most clippers have an arm on the side that will allow the teeth to be extended out, making the guard an added one sixteenth of a inch long, or a “half”, for example, a number 4 guard extended out would then be a 4 and a half.
Depending on the haircut, you will most likely be doing a blended style. Where the haircut starts off very short at the bottom near the nape, and around the ears, and becomes longer as it goes up towards the top of the head.
To do a blended haircut, using clippers, you must find the widest part of the head. In the back of the head, there is a bone that sticks out slightly, this is called the occipital bone. This bone is the widest part of the back of the head. When blending with clippers, you will place the clippers, with the guard in place, flat against the head, casing upwards. That is to say, the guard is flat against the head, with the clippers turned on, you will go straight up, when you get to the widest part of the head, you will lose connection to the head, as in, go straight up, off of the widest part. If you follow the shape of the head, and go inwards above the widest part, you will have a rounded shape, or a crew cut. Once you have the blended cut as high as you like, you can then use the clippers over comb method to cut the top, or use a pair of shears.
Another method, as mentioned about, is called clippers over comb. You can use this method as opposed to using guards. You have to be very careful using this method, since, if you aren’t paying attention, and the clipper is wider than the comb is, you can accidentally leave a line in the hair. Using this method, you simply comb the hair out at a parallel line to the head, and run the clippers along the comb, cutting the hair even with the comb, and at the desired length.
It is generally best to cut hair using clippers while it is dry. However, there are clippers that are made for use on wet hair. Wet hair tends to lay down when the clippers pass over them, as opposed to going into the teeth and cutting cleanly.