How to Give Yourself a Buzz Cut

The buzz cut is the latest hair trend to come out of quarantine.

While the look may not be for everyone, it’s a sure-fire way to make a statement. If you’re considering a buzz cut, you must read these tips first, including how to DIY step-by-step, and how to determine if it’s actually the right cut for you – or if you’re just bored. We chatted with celebrity stylist Cash Lawless for all things buzz cut – here are his pro tips.

There’s a lot to say about the buzz cut, but Cash points out that it often comes with a high-level of buyer’s remorse. Before you boldly buzz, you must “develop the proper mental fortitude,” says Cash. “Buzzing your head is something MOST people regret right after doing it, and later chalk it up as ‘something I did once.’”


However, he admits that there is a small minority of buzzers who wind up loving the cut, which can actually be quite stunning. “A lot of this depends on features, head shape, and personal style – it can look out of place on certain people and in certain professional arenas,” notes Cash, who adds that while social acceptance of certain hair styles is becoming more diverse, there is still a long way to go. “If quarantine has you feeling like you need to buzz, just take a moment,” he suggests. If you’ve committed to it and you’re really ready to buzz your hair off, here are the steps you need to take for an immaculate cut

Steps to a buzz cut

Step 1: Go in Stages

The first step is also the most important — when you buzz, go in stages! “You can’t put hair back on very easily, so I suggest leaving the top long and cutting the sides first. if after you cut the sides, you still want to cut it all off, you can, but it’s nice to try different haircuts in between, as you might fall in love with a look halfway through,” says Cash. If you have long hair, create two pigtails and cut them off entirely above the rubber band, so you can donate your unwanted tresses.

Step 2: Section

Section out the hair on the top of your head from the edge of your eyebrow. Tie it up and clip it out of the way. 

Step 3: Start With the Largest Guard

Grab your clippers, starting with the largest guard. If this doesn’t cut the hair short enough, go to the next smallest unit, until you find a comfortable length. 

Step 4: Go to Town

Don’t hold back! Now is the time to “ go to town with your clippers,” says Cash, who advises running them over and over your hair, “until you don’t hear hair cutting anymore.”

Step 5: Finish with the Top Section

Let the top section of your hair down and move it around. If you want to chop it off, keep on moving those clippers with the same guard – where you start is not important.

Step 6: Bam – that’s it! You’re buzzed!

Need to know

There are a few don’ts to keep in mind when buzzing, both for your safety and the outcome of your cut. First off, avoid pressing the guard into the scalp. “This can move the skin, create bumps, and end up leaving your haircut looking like you’re missing chunks,” says Cash. “Apply even pressure so you don’t move the scalp,” he advises. Like, any other work of art, the devil is in the details. “Make sure to get the edges really nice and clean,” notes Cash, as this can elevate your cut tremendously.

Tools you need

Though the cut is super drastic, the tools you need are relatively uncomplicated. As long as you have good clippers, you can make the cut work. Cash recommends the Oster 76 hair clipper: $168.89. Before you start to shave, make sure you have a hand held mirror so you can see the back of your cut. However, the most important thing you need to pull the look off can’t be purchased – it’s “guts,” says Cash.

Why the buzz cut is trending

The buzz cut isn’t the only radical hairstyle that’s trending, but it’s definitely the boldest. People are experimenting with their hair as a way to exert control and to rebel from the current circumstance, observes Cash. “The longer we go without change, the more desperate we become to create it, and the more drastic measures we feel are necessary to experience the novelty of change. Variety IS a spice and one that we all need. Being stuck at home robs us of much-needed variety in life.”

The problem is a double whammy – because not only are we bored, we’re also not in direct control of our daily activities. “Loss of control and loss of variety leads to increased levels of frustration, fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions. When we make decisions from this state, those decisions can often appear dramatic. And what decision could make you feel more change – and take more control – than buzzing your hair off? So, whether you have determined that the buzz is not just a manifestation of taking control and experiencing some change, or you really want do it, then pick up those clippers and do you! One thing I LOVE about the buzz is that is really easy to play with colors so have some fun with bleach and Manic Panic!”

Need buzzy inspo? Check out THESE out-of-this-world buzz cut color combos by Major Moon.

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