Established 2012


One of the most widely used techniques for cutting men’s hair, clipper over comb is a fundamental skill to master. It provides an even, consistent cut, and is ideal for removing significant amounts of thick hair. A variety of different finishes are possible, depending on the size of clipper or blade you choose. The right size of clipper and comb will depend on the area of the head you’re working on, as well as the hair’s length and texture. By cutting hair evenly at the exterior, a clipper over comb technique encourages hair to grow out nicely and last as long as possible.

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How to Apply this Technique

To begin with, the comb should be held in the less dominant hand and used to lift hair at a 90 degree angle away from the scalp. The barber can then hold the clipper in the dominant hand and move up the comb, cutting off the hair protruding beyond the comb’s teeth. For a tapered effect, with long hair at the top and short hair at the bottom, the comb will need to be angled. By angling the comb, the barber can control the length of the hair that remains after the ends have been clipped off. This can be used to achieve a variety of different styles for men. As the barber lifts the vertical sections of hair away from the head, one end of the comb can be kept close to the head with the other side angled out at the preferred degree to keep length. The hair can be cut section by section, working from the bottom of the hairline. After cutting each vertical section, the barber can move on to the next one.

Tools to Use

Although you need a clipper and a comb for this technique, the sizes of these may vary depending on the type of hair you’re cutting. A large clipper comb will be better suited to controlling larger volumes of hair. If using this technique to finish a blended short haircut like a flat top, a smaller clipper comb can be used. The finer teeth will be better suited to picking up hair close to the scalp. To polish off the final touches, a finishing comb can be used to allow the clipper to move smoothly. Finishing combs are also flexible, which is useful when clipping around the ears or other rounded surfaces.

Tips for Success

  • A clipper over comb technique is often performed on dry or slightly damp hair for best results, because wet hair can potentially clump and result in an uneven cut.
  • The positioning of the comb plays an important role in the clipper over comb technique. This determines how much hair will be cut off, so it must be held steady to avoid uneven cuts.
  • As you move from section to section, use the hair you’ve already cut as a guide for the angle of the comb. This helps ensure that you’ll cut each section at the same angle or as needed to achieve variation in a hairstyle. There won’t be any guide for the first cut, so be conservative at first and cut more off later.


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