Cuts and Style

How to Use Guards on Clippers for the Precise Haircut

How to Use Guards on Clippers

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Knowing how to use guards on clippers is essential if you want a flawless haircut. These handy tools prevent you from cutting more hair than needed and allow you to create various hair lengths effortlessly.

You can get the style that you want and refine your looks. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need about using guards on clippers and mastering the art of cutting hair like a pro.

How to Use Guards on Clippers to Have Fade Hair

The most essential thing is knowing the Clippers’ transition between your guards. They work by attaching clippers to attain specific hair length. Trimmer guards’ usage relies on how they connect with clippers and types of guards.

Let’s learn the methods in the sequence below:

1. Preparing Your Clippers and Guards Before Starting the Haircut

Before cutting, you must ensure your clippers are in good condition and your guards are clean and secure. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Check Your Clippers: Ensure your clippers are well-oiled and the blades are sharp for smooth cutting.
  • Clean the Guards: Clean the clipper guards to remove hair or debris from previous use.
  • Secure the Guards: Ensure the guards are securely attached to the clippers, preventing accidental detachment during the haircut.

2. Start with Simple Adjustments to the Clipper Lever

At the beginner’s level, all you require to begin with is adjusting the lever of a clipper. Familiarize yourself with the different cutting lengths by moving the lever between open and closed positions. The lever gives longer or shorter haircuts; that is what the lever does on the clippers.

3. Set Bald Guidelines and Blend with Midway Clipper Lever

Use trimmers to set the bald guidelines to achieve accurate fade. Create the initial procedure around the bottom edges of the hair and use the clippers with the lever fully open to create the following guideline slightly above the first.

Now, switch to the clippers with the lever set to midway. Begin blending the two guidelines, working your way up from the bottom to create a seamless fade.

4. Perfecting the Fade with Different Guard Sizes

Apply variable clipper guard sizes to create a smooth transition between lengths:

  • Using a 2 Guard with the Lever Closed: Use the 2-guard with the lever closed to leave around ¼ inch or 6mm of hair. Flick out the hair for a smoother transition to the top part of the hair.
  • Using a 1 ½ Guard: Continue blending and connecting the top and bottom parts of the taper fade using a 1 ½ guard.

With the fade technique mastered, you can confidently create smooth blends and fades that will leave your clients in awe.

Now that you’ve learned the essential steps for mastering clipper guard techniques for fades, it’s time to explore additional tips and tricks for haircuts.

Tips for Even Haircuts with Guards

Unlock some essential tips to get desired results.

  • Blend with Gradual Changes: When moving between guards, avoid abrupt changes. Gradually move from one guard size to the next, making subtle adjustments to create a seamless blend.
  • Blending Technique Usage: Gradually utilize the blend method by overlapping the guards to smooth the transition between shorter and longer lengths for fading styles.
  • Know Your Cutting Lengths: Familiarize yourself with the different guard sizes and the corresponding hair lengths they create. This information will help you gain the expected haircut for each client.
  • Start Conservative: When cutting hair, it’s best to start with a large-sized guard and gradually adjust to achieve the desired length. You can always go shorter if needed, but going too short initially can lead to mistakes.
  • Keep the Lever Within Reach: As you cut, keep the clipper lever within easy reach so you can make quick adjustments while maintaining a smooth cutting flow.
  • Use the Same Set of Guards: Stick to one set of guards throughout the haircut to ensure uniformity. Keeping guards the same can lead to consistency in the final result.
  • Check for Evenness: Regularly check for evenness as you cut to ensure that both sides of the haircut are balanced and aligned.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Achieving consistent cutting lengths may require training. Keep honing your skills; with time, you’ll develop a knack for delivering perfectly even haircuts.

How to Safely Use Clippers With Guards And Avoid Mistakes

Safety should always be a top priority when handling clippers and guards.


  • Keep Clippers Clean and Well-Maintained: Regularly clean and oil your clippers to maintain their performance and ensure smooth cutting. Blunt or improperly maintained clippers can lead to uneven and unsatisfactory haircuts. Apply on guards as well.
  • Use Guards Securely: Ensure the guards are securely attached to the clippers before starting the haircut. Loose guards can lead to uneven cutting and potential accidents.
  • Avoid Overheating: During extended use, clippers may become hot. Take short breaks to allow the clippers to cool down to prevent burns or discomfort.
  • Mind the Blade Position: Be cautious when adjusting the clipper lever or changing guards to avoid accidental nicks or cuts. Keep your fingers away from the blades while making adjustments.
  • Work in a Well-Lit Area: Proper lighting is essential for achieving precise haircuts. Work in a well-lit area to ensure you can see the hair clearly and avoid mistakes.
  • Sanitize the Guards: Disinfect the guards regularly to ensure proper hygiene and prevent the spread of bacteria or germs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even experienced hairstylists can make mistakes while using guards. Knowing these common errors will help you avoid them and deliver top-notch haircuts:

  • Skipping Guard Sizes: Skipping guard sizes while fading or blending can result in uneven and abrupt transitions. Gradually work through the guard sizes for a seamless and natural-looking fade.
  • Pulling Hair Too Tightly: Avoid pulling the hair too tightly when using guards. Pulling the hair can lead to uneven cutting and discomfort for the client.
  • Not Checking for Evenness: Always check for evenness on both sides of the haircut. This step must be revised to avoid asymmetrical results.
  • Moving Too Quickly: Rushing through a haircut can result in mistakes and an inconsistent finish. Take your time and work methodically to ensure precision.


How Often Should I Replace Trimmer Guards?

The thumb rule is to replace your clipper guards every 6 to 12 months or sooner if you notice any signs of wear, such as cracks or loss of shape. Clipper guards are durable but wear out over time with frequent use. The replacement frequency depends on the material and quality of the guards, as well as how often you use them. Regularly inspect your guards and invest in high-quality replacements to maintain consistent cutting lengths and achieve precise haircuts.

Can I Use Clippers Without Guards?

Yes, clippers can be used without guards, but it’s essential to exercise caution. Clippers without guards allow for very close cuts, often called “bald fades.” When cutting without guards, be extremely careful to avoid any direct contact between the skin and the clipper blade to prevent cuts or irritation. Clippers without guards are commonly used for detailed work, outlining hairlines, and creating sharp, clean edges. However, for most haircuts, using guards provides more flexibility and safety in achieving various hair lengths.

What’s the Best Guard for Beginners?

Starting with a guard that leaves a slightly longer length is advisable for beginners. Guard #2 (1/4 inch or 6mm) is a popular choice as it offers enough hair length to work with while still being manageable and forgiving for new users. With the #2 guard, you can practice blending and do some fade without going too short too quickly. As you gain confidence and experience, you can explore using shorter guard lengths to achieve different hairstyles and fades.


Using guards on clippers is essential and a creative and fulfilling process. With dedication and continuous learning, you’ll soon achieve professional-looking results that leave your clients delighted and returning for more.

Thank you for joining us on this haircutting journey. Wishing you great success, confidence, and creativity in your haircutting efforts. Happy styling!

Cuts and Style
Cuts and Style
At Cuts and Style, we help readers create personalized hairstyles and self-grooming using the best haircut tools. With a deep knowledge of the barbering industry, we bring our expertise on day-to-day tools to meet the needs of wise hair-clipper users. We are offering insights and advice beyond the ordinary. Whether it's sharing advice on the latest trends, hacks, tips, or a selection of top hair care products, we are dedicated to guiding those seeking the perfect blend of style to look good and, in turn, feel good. Join us on this journey where cutting and styling hair is a skill.
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