Guide to Haircut Length Numbers | Cutters Yard (2024)

Telling your barber what you want doesn’t have to be difficult. But the key to leaving the salon with the haircut you had in mind is to know what to ask for. After all, your barber might be a whizz with a pair of scissors but they’re (probably) not a mindreader.

This is where knowing your haircut length numbers comes in handy. But what are the numbers in haircuts? Let’s dive in.

Haircut Length Numbers: The Basics

Let’s start with the basics. Haircut numbers are connected to the plastic guards that are attached to electric hair clippers. The majority of hair trimmers come with eight different sizes of guard.

The clipper guard AKA haircut number refers to the length of hair that is left after the clipper has been used, with each number representing one eighth of an inch of hair.

This means that the lower the number, the shorter the hair, and vice versa.

So what number do you need to ask for to get the haircut you want?

What Are the Numbers in Haircuts?

If you ask your barber for a number one cut, you are asking them to cut your hair so it is an eighth of an inch long. If you ask for a number eight cut, the hair left on your head will be one inch.

Here are all the haircut length numbers and their corresponding clipper guard size:

  • Zero: 1/16 of an inch
  • One: 1/8 of an inch
  • Two: 1/4 of an inch
  • Three: 3/8 of an inch
  • Four: 1/2 an inch
  • Five: 5/8 of an inch
  • Six: 3/4 of an inch
  • Seven: 7/8 of an inch
  • Eight: 1 inch

How Do Haircut Numbers Work?

Let’s break down the styles that asking for a particular haircut length number will result in so you know exactly what to ask your barber.

Zero haircut

You don’t get any shorter than the zero haircut. A zero cut means your barber won’t use a clipper guard. This hairstyle is basically a skin fade or a shaved head.

Number one haircut

Only a fraction longer than a zero cut, a number one haircut is a very short buzz cut. The number one clipper guard is also used to create faded sides.

Number two haircut

Although still very short, the popular number two clipper guard is also used for buzz cuts and fades. However, because the hair is a quarter of an inch long the scalp is not exposed in the way that it is with a zero or one cut. This makes it a good cut for guys who have thin hair or who are balding.

Number three haircut

Also a popular choice for men who like to keep it short and neat, the number three is the highest number used in fades. Again, it’s a good choice for anyone with thin hair, although a three also works well with thicker hair types.

Number four haircut

If you’re looking for something a little closer to a crew or brush cut as opposed to a fade, try asking for a number four haircut. Less edgy than the numbers that precede it, size four clipper guards allow for a slightly longer and more conventional cut.

Number five haircut

Ask for a number five if you want a longer cut that can be styled. The number five haircut length will result in a look that is groomed and slightly more classic than the four. It’s also a good cut to ask for if you want the sides of your hair to be tapered without the extreme contrast of a zero or skin fade.

Number six haircut

We’re now moving firmly out of buzz cut and into crew cut territory. Like the five, this is a hairstyle that can be brushed and styled. The size six clipper guard is also often used to create a more subtle tapered side.

Number seven haircut

Barbers usually opt for the size seven clipper guard for customers who are looking for a crew cut that can be styled. It’s similar to the six haircut length number before it, just with that added extra one eighth of an inch of hair.

Number eight haircut

If you’re still looking for a stylish men’s haircut that is on the shorter side but you want more freedom to play around and create different styles – for example a side parting or a slicked back look – a number eight cut will leave you with a full inch of hair.

How to Prepare for Your Next Trim

Now you know what the numbers in haircuts are and how they work, there’s just one other thing you need to be aware of.

Making sure your scalp is healthy is a must for any type of haircut, regardless of length. But it is especially important if you’re going for a zero or number one haircut length as both of these are so short, the scalp is visible through the hair.

We recommend using a shampoo such as Aveda’s Invati Men™ Nourishing Exfoliating Shampoo which not only refreshes hair, but the scalp too.

Follow this with the Invati Men™ Scalp Revitalizer which invigorates the scalp and instantly makes hair look thicker, making it ideal for those with thinner hair who still want to go short.

Book Your Next Cut at Cutters Yard

Our barber services in London Bridge and Southwark are tailored to men who know what they want when it comes to a great looking haircut.

And now you have everything you need to know about how haircut numbers work, there’s nothing stopping you from booking your next appointment.

Guide to Haircut Length Numbers | Cutters Yard (2024)


Guide to Haircut Length Numbers | Cutters Yard? ›

The Number 3 length is 3/8 of an inch or 10mm. This is a great mid-length option that is stylish yet versatile. While it keeps your hair short and neat, it's not too closely cropped, giving you plenty of options for different hairstyles. Think of this haircut length as a perfect balance.

How short is a number 3 haircut? ›

The Number 3 length is 3/8 of an inch or 10mm. This is a great mid-length option that is stylish yet versatile. While it keeps your hair short and neat, it's not too closely cropped, giving you plenty of options for different hairstyles. Think of this haircut length as a perfect balance.

What does 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 mean in haircuts? ›

Number 1 clipper: 1/8 inch. Number 2 clipper: 1/4 inch. Number 3 clipper: 3/8 inch. Number 4 clipper: 1/2 inch. Number 5 clipper: 5/8 inch.

How short is a number 4 haircut? ›

The number 4 haircut leaves hair half an inch long, making it a medium-short style that's versatile and popular. It allows for more styling options and is less severe than lower numbers. The number 4 haircut is great for those who want to keep their hair short but stylish.

How short is a number 2 haircut? ›

How Long is a Number 2 Cut? The number 2 haircut length leaves your hair at a quarter of an inch, or 6mm. It strikes a balance between a short and neat appearance while retaining a touch of ruggedness.

What does 1/2 3/4 mean in haircuts? ›

The clipper guard AKA haircut number refers to the length of hair that is left after the clipper has been used, with each number representing one eighth of an inch of hair. This means that the lower the number, the shorter the hair, and vice versa.

What is a 1/2/3 in haircut? ›

Here's a quick reference for the different haircut lengths. Number 1: One-eighth of an inch. Number 2: One-quarter of an inch. Number 3: Three-eighths of an inch.

What does a 3 look like haircut? ›

It refers to the length of hair that remains after being clipped with a guard labeled "three". Imagine it like this: the key to a flawlessly styled haircut is leaving approximately 3/8 of an inch (or around 9.5mm) of hair on the sides. It's the Goldilocks zone for your head - not too short, not too long.

What does a 4 look like haircut? ›

Opting for a number 4 buzz cut isn't just about taking a pair of clippers to your hair; it's about embracing a style that's both timeless and practical. This haircut length, achieved with a guard 4 buzz cut attachment, leaves you with 1/2 inch of hair, blending simplicity with a neat, polished look.

What does a 6 haircut look like? ›

Length and Appearance Details

At 3/4 inch, it's a bit longer than the traditional buzz cut, making it a great choice for those who are new to short haircuts or who prefer a bit more hair on top. The buzz cut number 6 is particularly forgiving for various head shapes and hair types.

What does a 4 all around look like? ›

A Number 4 haircut all over looks even and balanced, with the same 1/2 inch length maintained uniformly across the entire head. This gives a neat and tidy appearance. A Number 4 haircut can also be styled with a fade or a taper on the sides, where the hair gradually shortens from the top to the sides and back.

What does a 7 look like haircut? ›

The Number 7 haircut length is a generous 7/8 inch or 22mm— a versatile cut that seamlessly marries a well-groomed look with a gamut of styling choices. This substantial length is optimal for those yearning for a polished yet laid-back style, permitting your hair to make a statement without appearing unkempt.

How short is a 5 buzz? ›

With a length of about 5/8 inches, it offers more texture and fullness than its shorter counterparts. This length is not only versatile but also forgiving, making it a fantastic choice for those taking their first plunge into shorter haircuts.

What is the short haircut rule? ›

The answer is surprisingly simple. There's an easy, and we mean easy, way to decide if short hairstyles are in your future. We call it the 2.25 rule. Practically fool proof, this rule states that if the longest part of your chin is less than 2.25 inches from the tip of your earlobe, then short hairstyles are for you.

What is a 2 by 3 haircut? ›

Getting a barber's cut Filipino style follows the “2 x 3” rule, or the practice of taking off two fingers' worth of hair on the sides and three fingers' worth on the back. The top section of your hair allows for styling flexibility because it's longer.

What does a 2 block haircut look like? ›

The two block haircut features longer hair in the crown area and shorter hair on the sides and back, making it a cross between the mushroom cut and the undercut. To request the two block haircut, ask for an undercut on the sides, “ice pick” sideburns, and a light taper or fade in the back.

How long is a 3 at the barbers? ›

These refer to the guard length used on the blades and therefore the subsequent hair length created. #1 – 3.4mm, #2 – 6.4mm, #3 – 9.5mm, #4 – 12.7mm, #7 – 22.2mm, #8 – 25.4mm.

Is cutting 3 inches of hair a lot? ›

In summary, cutting two or three inches of hair can be considered a significant amount depending on individual preferences, hair length, style, and texture. It's important to consider these factors and consult with a hairstylist to determine the best course of action for your desired haircut.

What is the shortest haircut number? ›

Ranging from 0 to 8, where 0 is the shortest setting (without the clipper guard) and 8 is the longest setting, the stylist is then able to determine what length to cut the sides of your hair and from that length, determine how best to cut the rest of your hair to your desired haircut and to best suit your features.

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