The Buzz Cut: Everything You Need To Know

The Buzz Cut:  Everything You Need To Know

From clipper grades to barbershop requests – this is the woman’s guide to shaving it all off.

This year’s most unlikely hair trend has to be the buzz cut.  As far as hair trends go, it certainly errs on the side of extreme.  Not since the 1970s, when they were a byproduct of skinhead subcultures, has the buzz cut seen such a surge in popularity.  So much so that we thought we better find out a bit more about how to get one.

It all started earlier this year when photographer Rankin shot the model Ariana London crouching next to a pile of her own hair for the Equinox campaign.  Then came the glorious blonde skinhead Ruth Bell, who had her buzz cut done for the McQueen campaign.  The rest followed like a tidal wave at the Spring Summer 2016 shows, with at least 5 skinhead models counted at the major shows including Gucci in Milan and Paris and then more at the Seoul shows this week.


So where to start if you want a buzz cut (and Bravo, if you do)?  We spoke to Brady Lea – the session stylist who actually gave Ariana London her grade 2 for the Equinox campaign – here is what he had to say...

So Brady, can I just stroll into the salon and ask for a buzz cut?

Totally.  You need to ask for a shape that is the same length all over – the sides need to be the same length as the top and the back.  I actually recommend going to a good men’s barber shop.  It’s no different from getting a male buzz cut and the clippers are often actually better at the barbers.  Plus it will only cost you a tenner!

Clippers?  So does that mean I need to ask for a grade?  Help!

If you’re going for the Ruth Bell look, a proper skinhead, then you want to ask for a Grade 2.  The Grades on clippers go upwards in 3mm lengths.  Grade 0 being no hair at all, Grade 1 being 3mm, Grade 2 being 6mm, etc.  If you want Ruth’s look then ask for a Grade 2.

What will actually happen?

If you have long hair then you have to get it all chopped off first, you can’t go straight in with clippers.  The hairdresser will cut it to about 3 or four inches first and then go in with a longer grade like a 4, then a grade 2.   It’s better to do it in stages.  

Can I do it myself?

Yes you can but to be honest, it’s such an affordable cut that you might as well walk into a barber shop and get it cut by someone who knows what they are doing.  The important thing is to get it really even – you don’t want tufts! Go over you head again and again in all directions with the clippers to make sure it is absolutely smooth and even.  You could get a mate to do it for you if you do want to do it at home.

And what if I, ahem, don’t like it…

Your only option is to grow it out.  Slowly.  Grow it to a pixe crop and then to a bob – leave it for as long as possible.

Do different hair types need different grades?

Blonder, finer hair is going to show more scalp so the look will be more extreme than if you have darker coarser hair.  You may want to start with a grade 4 as that may seem short enough.  If you have curly or afro hair then you should take it down in stages too, start with a 4 and then move to a 3 or a 2.

Finally, how do I know a buzz cut will suit me, before I take the plunge…?

Assess your headshape.  Have a feel of it under your hair and take a look at the side of your scalp and where your ears sit.   If you have a nice smooth round head then go for it.  If you have an irregular shaped head or ears that stick out then this may not be the look for you.  Also bear in mind that a round face will look rounder with no hair to narrow it down.  Having thick eyelashes and brows will help you feel more feminine when all of your hair has gone south. 

Read all about Ruth Bell here.

Contact Brady Lea here

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