Techniques for cutting men's hair

September 01, 2021

It can be tricky to know and understand all the tips, tricks and techniques for cutting men's hair because let's face it - no two heads of hair are the same. There are basic techniques and there are also complex/tricky techniques. Depending on where you're at with your hairdressing or barbering career will determine which techniques can be used as some take a lot of time, patience and practice - like all things hair related really. So fear not whether you're a beginner or advanced stylist we've got all the need to know men's hair cutting techniques to get you going.

What are the different cutting techniques for men's haircutting?

So what exactly are the different cutting techniques for men's hair? In short - there is the following

  • Scissor or clipper over comb
  • Blunt cutting
  • Clippers
  • Texturizing
  • Thinning
  • Free hand
  • Razor

They are just a handful of the top cutting techniques that are used with cutting men's hair, but let's break it down even further for all you hair guru's out there.

Scissor or Clipper over comb

Is that just that! This technique is one of the most commonly used techniques for barbers and hair stylists. It allows the stylist to get as close or as far away from the head as possible with getting their fingers in the way. Hair scissors are more commonly used than clippers with this technique - however, depending on your skill level, some stylists use a clipper over the comb to get a quicker result done, but again that requires a lot of practice before jumping into that technique.

Blunt Cutting

Blunt cutting is again a very commonly used technique used by all hairdressers and barbers across the world. It is typically used by creating the hair to be cut the same length all around with a blunt straight line- it just depends on the actual length of the hair. It's sister technique which isn't spoken of much is the uniform haircut which is essentially the blunt cutting method just used to add layers into the hair but again all depending on the length of the hair itself.


Clippers are of course one of the front running techniques for cutting hair. Cutting hair with clippers help get through mounts of hair in an even and timely manner to ensure no hair is left behind. Whether it's a buzz cut or a clipper guard haircut it can cut through hair swiftly wet or dry. However if it's just a buzz cut there is no need to worry about touch ups with scissors whereas a clipper guard cut is likely to need scissors to blend and finish the haircut.


Texturizing is technically a technique however it is usually a technique used to finish off or give the final look to the hair cut. Using texturizing shears (or your straight blade cutting scissors if you're a cleaver cooker) you can add in texture or remove bulky sections of the hair that may need evening out to give it a 'textured' look, a final touch for the fade you're trying to create or to even create the perfect blend.


Much like texturizing, thinning scissors can be used as a technique to give the perfect blend, remove unwanted weight or even believe it or not add in a slight texture for a subtle textured look (but not as much as texturizing scissors).

Free hand

Can we really call this a technique? We think yes! Being able to do things freehand and using your hairstylist or barber eye to spot and chop at a professional level is of course a skill that not everyone can do, however it is still a technique that is learned over time. There is no real way to do this technique because of course it's free hand and it is used more by judgment than structure.


Whether you're using your razor on hair or the hair/neck line or even for the sideburns and face it's certainly a commonly used technique for cutting men's hair. Razor hair cutting can be used to give a more soft or textured look to the hair once finished whereas using a razor on the neckline can soften the edge work of the hair cut or give it the clean shaven look to complete the hairstyles given. If using the razor on the neckline, sideburns or even face - extreme care is to be taken while using the razor as one wrong move can end up with someone being sliced.

How to cut men's hair with scissors?

Look we could tell you how to cut a man's hair with scissors - but - there isn't just one way to use scissors on a men's haircut, so essentially you'll firstly need to ask how they would like it cut, how short or long, how thick or think, what type of style they are after. Once you've gotten all the details from them, it's time to start cutting.

Now depending on what style they have chosen the best way to break down a scissor haircut for men is knowing there are 4 ways to break it down and they include the top, back, sides and hairline. So you don't confuse yourself it's best to start with the back taking away the majority of lengths and get it completely out of the way - much like a female haircut you start with a baseline, whereas in this case your base line is the back of the head, using your comb and scissors cut away any unwanted length from the neck line moving upward until goal length is reached all through the back area until you reach the top of the ear area.

Once you have got your desired lengths of the back and reach the top of the ear area it is then time to move onto the sides. Matching the length of the back to both right and left sides of the clients hair start past the top of the ear area you'll then more than likely need to use your scissor over comb method to get in close to cutting around the ears so no hair is missed. Now again depending on the desired length of the client you'll then need to slightly move your comb outwards and upward away from the hair while cutting with your scissors (hence the term scissor over comb) leaving this length slightly longer than the back and around the ears length.

Once both sides are even and inline with the back and you have your slightly graduated hair joining to the top, it's now time to move onto the top of the hair. Now the top of the hair is generally left longer than everywhere else, so before cutting away check by holding a section of hair up and showing the client if they are happy with the intended length of hair about to be cut. Starting at the front/fringe area and working your way back to the crown of the head ensures all the top length is even before moving on to the joining up of all the hair.

Once the top is even, it's the time to work your way around the sides of the hair removing any out of place or unjointed bits of hair through the back and sides. Once all joined and in place it's the time to either use your mini clippers or razor and clean up the neck hairline and sideburn areas of any unwanted hair - again depending on what haircut your client has chosen because you may not need to clean up anything if they want a shaggy/ not cut type of look so best to check with them before you go ahead with it.

So there we have it, the most basic way to cut a man's hair. This method can be used on nearly all types of men's haircuts. You'll just need to use your own judgement on which one.


How to cut men's hair with clippers?

How to cut a men's haircut with clippers is and can be a lot quicker than if you were to use hair scissors. While some find it easy to use clippers others might not which is why it's best to start off basic before you get into your fades and more intense haircuts.

Firstly just like when using scissors you need to find out what your client wants in their hairstyle, For example what number guard, how short or long they want the back and sides, once you've got the finer details it's time to put your clipper guard off and start clippering away.

Once you've put on the chosen number guard its best like all haircuts to start from the back and clipper through the hair and work your way to tops of the ears, once there you can continue through to go around the ears and up a little further - again much like the scissor haircut. However when using clippers always try to use a scooping motion when going into clipper and coming out scoop it away from the hair - not straight up.

Once you've worked your way around the back and sides it's the time to move to the top. Now it's a buzz cut, meaning the same number all over you can go right ahead and continue with your clippers all over. However if it's to have longer on top then you'll need to whip out your scissors and cut to the desired length and go around the sides like with the scissors method and join up any missed bits.

Finally after all clipper work and scissor work is done then it's time to clean up around the hairline and sideburns. We'll say it again though - keeping in check with your client through each step is always best to make sure they are happy with the way the haircut is heading. Keeping in mind this is a super basic way to cut men's hair with clippers but it's a stepping stone to being more creative the more practice you get.

Bottom line

The bottom line here guys is that of course there is many techniques used for men's hair cuts its just about finding the best one for your customer that will leave him feeling like he's got a professional and quality haircut that all his friends and family will be asking about, and of course - don't be afraid to experiment with men's cuts

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