Even if you haven’t cut hair before, it’s not difficult to learn to cut boys’ hair at home with clippers, and it saves a lot of money!

With a family of seven, we have to be thrifty. Let’s face it – big families cost money, and we’re always looking to do things the frugal way where we can. One way that we have saved a LOT of money over the years is by cutting hair at home. I have been cutting my husband’s hair since we got married (13 years ago!) and all of the boys’ hair from about age 2 1/2 and up. (I like to hang on to the baby hair as long as possible, so when they were babies they would get a trim when I got my hair cut!)

Let’s do the math… 5 haircuts x $10 per haircut (Jordan’s might be slightly more and the kids might be less, but let’s estimate) = $50 a month saved. That’s $600 a year!

It’s also a time savings. I can cut hair in about 10 minutes per person, and the clean up just takes a few minutes. If Jordan finds out he has an important meeting at work, I can cut his hair at the last minute the night before. There’s no time spent driving somewhere and waiting our turn.

How to Cut Hair with Clippers

A good clipper set is worth the investment, especially if you will be cutting hair for several people in your family. We paid about $75 for a Wahl brand clipper set that came with a small trimmer, and it lasted about 7 years. When it died, I replaced it with the set pictured below for under $40 at Target, and it is not the same. It does not cut as evenly, and I can tell it will not last long. My next investment will be a $100 Oster brand clipper, but that will pay for itself in only two months!

How to Cut Boy's Hair with Clippers

The guards are the same for each set no matter what brand you buy.

#1 – 1/8th inch

#2 – 1/4th inch

#3 – 3/8th inch

#4 – 1/2 inch

#6 – 3/4th inch

#8 – 1 inch

Here is Aidan’s hair before the haircut. I’ll explain my method for cutting hair, and then there is a video at the bottom of the post that will show it a little better.

How to cut boys' hair with clippers

In the summer, I usually do a #2 on the back and sides of the boys’ hair and a #6 on the top. I blend the two lengths with a #3 all the way around the head. In the winter, we usually leave it a little longer and do a #3 on the back and sides, #8 on top, and blend with a #4.

How to cut boys' hair with clippers

If you simply cut with the clippers and stop there, the haircut will still look a little “home done.” Touching up around the ears, sideburns, and the back of the neck with a trimmer makes it look SO much better!

I trim around the ears with scissors:

How to do a boys' haircut with clippers

And then trim the sideburns in a straight line: (Look at the child from the front while doing this to make sure they are the same length! Ha!)

How to do a boys' haircut with clippers

The finished haircut looks so much better! Aidan added a little gel.

(I can’t believe how grown up he looks! He’s turning 11 next month, which makes me feel quite old.)How to do a boys' haircut with clippers

The back is so much neater.

How to do a boy's haircut with clippers

Tips for Cutting Hair at Home:

  • Cut hair in the backyard or the garage to cut down on mess. Or cut hair in the bathroom. Our bathroom is very small, so we actually just do the kitchen.
  • You don’t need to wet the hair first to cut with clippers. In fact, wet hair is harder to cut. We can’t cut hair outside in the summer because the boys get super sweaty in two minutes. Ugh.
  • You can purchase a hair cutting cape at a beauty supply store.
  • Don’t ever cut hair while your child is wearing polyester pajamas! The hair will never, ever come out! (We had to throw the pajamas away…)
  • Getting a hair stuck in the bottom of your foot hurts like crazy! I usually sweep the hair up, wait a while, and then sweep again. Sometimes the hair is too statically charged to be picked up the first time around. If the broom doesn’t cut it, a quick mopping job with a damp cloth will pick up the hair.
  • For kids who hate getting their hair cut… We’re not above candy as bribes! Our boys know they can have one of those Dum Dum lollypops when they’re done. It also might help to put on a movie to watch while you cut. For Jonathan (age 2), I just cut the whole head one length so I can get done really quickly.

Video Tutorial

This video is not professionl quality, but hopefully it will give you a better idea of how to cut hair!


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  1. Soozoo Jun 9, 2014

    I do this too! My youngest has the loveliest hair that looks perfect all the time so I just cut his all one length and trim around the ears and neck. For my husband and my older son I go shorter on the sides and longer on top. Sometimes it doesn't come out exactly how I want it to but I think I'm getting better, and I know I'm getting faster. My best tip is to use a lint roller to get all the little cut hairs off their necks and collars when you're done trimming.

    1. Sarah Jun 10, 2014

      A lint roller is a great idea!

  2. Mia Jun 13, 2014

    Thank you! I just spent an absurd $15 for someone else to cut my kids's hair with a #2 on the sides and a #3 on top. I'm doing it myself next time. Thanks for showing me how.

  3. Becca Jun 14, 2014

    I've been cutting my two year olds hair for over a year now and found this tutorial really useful; I had been going through a whole load of guards to get a 'graded' look. This method took less than half the time it normally does and looks fantastic! I have bought a #12 guard so he can have a slightly longer top but its gone down to the #3 with any problems at all! Thanks a lot!!

    1. Sarah Jun 17, 2014

      Thanks for your comment! I'm glad this method worked for you. I didn't realize there was a #12 guard - I might need to get one of those!

  4. saipanstayathomemom Jul 27, 2014

    I'm glad to see this post. I have two sons and one daughter. I agree haircuts are too pricey. So I'd like to learn how to cut my husband's hair and my boys and of course my daughter's too. Thanks.

  5. Christina Priest Jan 14, 2015

    Thank you so much for posting this and for the video!! I have 4 boys and I'll be trying this tonight for the first time! Paying for 3 haircuts (the youngest is less than a year old and has very little hair at this point) every month or so gets expensive.

  6. Didi Jan 14, 2015

    My son had autism and cries at the clippers and won't sit still for scissors. I've been cutting his hair myself for years (he is 14), but always just used one number guard. Which made his hair really short and not really the look I wanted. Thanks so much for your tutorial, I'm going to try and use this technique and hopefully his hair will look much better this time!

    1. Didi Jan 14, 2015

      Has autism, not had! Swipe is not always my friend. :)

  7. Rebekah Jan 15, 2015

    My son was cut by a barber when he was 2. He freaked out any time anyone else would go to cut his hair. So I found the most patient lady in the world who would let me "pretend" to cut his hair (really she was I just held clippers that were not on). But I started paying very very close attention to what she was doing. By 4 I purchased my first set of clippers with the rationale that if I screwed up, I could shave it! Only had to shave it once, because he asked for it!! My husband now has me cut his hair, I am a pro! His sister who just went through cosmetology school commented on what a great haircut he had over Christmas! This is such a time and money saver...now if only I could cut mine!

    1. Rebekah Jan 15, 2015

      My son is almost 11 now. So I have saved a TON of money! Don't buy cheap clippers though!

      1. Sarah Jan 15, 2015

        Definitely! Cheap clippers pull hair...

  8. Tove Maren Mar 20, 2015

    This is awesome! We have four boys and I cut hair on the 3 year old and the 6 year old. Some times the 3 year old gets all one length - and that's the best we can do - other times he will let me get a little more fancy than that. This is a great tutorial - I learned things by trial and ERROR - lots of ERROR! ha ha ha

  9. Anthony Oct 29, 2015

    Good tips. I’d like to add there is a new product that helps me cut my sons hair and it works great for the popular taper/fade style. It’s called the “Hair Fader”. It’s pretty easy to use. Just thought I’d throw that out there for others who have kids with taper/fade haircuts.

  10. Daniel Dec 9, 2015

    Karmin all the way

  11. Tara Mar 11, 2016

    What size attachment do you use in your two year old

  12. Susanna Apr 19, 2016

    thanks for the tips! i cut my boy's hair today! worked out perfectly!
    Thank you!

  13. eric crayon Jul 21, 2016

    I am using Wahl Pro Lithium Cord/Cordless Hair Clipper and I love it . It has great functıons . You can use it easily .

  14. Ryan Nov 30, 2016

    Sarah, this is a simple, yet great guide that shows the ropes of haircuts for kids.

    It's been a while since you've posted the article, but recently a new type of 'vacuum' clippers have become all the hype. They collect the hair INSIDE the casing via a suction fan, quite neat.

    I'm a father and an ex-barber, doing a website for clipper reviews and I can really vouch for this new technology.

    Needless to say, Wahl are quite spectacular too. It's just that the vacuum clippers can be so convenient, especially for kids.

    All the best!

  15. Vincent May 14, 2017

    Hi Sarah, great post. I regularly shave my 4 year old's hair and it can be a challenge but what I do recommend for the more younger kids is;
    Buy a hair clipper which is as silent as possible. I used to use a professional hair clipper which unfortunately made tremendous noise because it had such a large motor, but this terrified him.
    Use a cordless trimmer. The younger kids tend to move around alot and you don't want the cord to keep tangling up around them as this may get pulled and cause an accident.
    I also take a garbage bag and cut a hole at the bottom to put it through his head. This way the hair does not go under his shirt and cause irritation while I'm shaving his head.

    Basically the more comfortable you can make them the better for you and the quicker the job gets done.

  16. Amanda Oct 9, 2017

    When you said you do your 2 year olds hair all one size, what size do you use?

    1. Lauren Feb 5, 2019

      I am wondering this, too!

  17. Teggy Brandon Oct 19, 2017

    I have Oster Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper and definitely it is the best product on the market . The quality of these Oster 76 Classic clippers was evident the moment I picked them up out of the well packed box. They are clearly quality through and through. If you're looking for professional level hair cutting equipment, this is it.

  18. Lisa Hanners Oct 19, 2017

    Tried your method this morning on my 4yr old before preschool....he still hates the clippers, but his hair mostly looks good! :D Some good tips in the comments - I like the idea of a vacuuming clipper because it seems the hair on skin is the biggest cause for freaking out other than the noise of the clipper. I use foam ear plugs for him, but he still hates it. :(

  19. Anngirl Aug 2, 2018

    I cut my husband's hair but there always seems to be pieces that don't get cut and they stick out like little flyaways all over his head. Maybe are my clippers just not good enough? What brand do you have?

  20. Anne Sep 5, 2018

    >Getting a hair stuck in the bottom of your foot hurts like crazy!

    So I'm not the only one this happens to! I had a hair get stuck in my foot just the other day and thought I had been bitten by a spider or something! It's crazy how something so tiny can hurt so much.

  21. Melissa Oct 11, 2018

    I didn’t know which blade guards to use to blend. Thank you for your informative video tutorial.

  22. Brit Dec 19, 2018

    perfect! Thank you so much! My son has a cowlick right around where your son does, and it's always a challenge, but I think I got it this time! I love the blending last, before I was going "in order" from smallest to largest. This is much easier!

  23. darya Apr 5, 2019

    I have three boys and it does get expensive! This tutorial was VERY helpful!! Thank you sooo much.

  24. Vicky May 12, 2019

    i cut my hubby's hair every two weeks using Wahl number 16 guard (2 inches long) and it was special order from internet. My hubby love it so much although it's pricey but it's worth it in the long run. Thanks for your video.

  25. Nidhi Dec 25, 2019

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you so much for this post and the video!! I showed the video to my almost 3 year old and I mentioned to him how your kid was sitting calmly no crying etc and that it wouldn’t hurt him either.. the video did the trick and he was fairly patient - he cried towards the end when the hair on his body started to cause him itching.. I also loved your style - it looks super professional - almost like I went to a fancy salon to get his cut.. thank you so so much ❤️

  26. Debbie Mar 28, 2020

    This was such a timely post for me! My husband and son (6)both needed haircuts and because of covid19 fiasco, we were unable to go to our usual barber. I had a good set of clippers, but I’ve been too nervous to cut hair. Luckily my husband knew what size the barber used and how he did it, so he guided me through. It actually looks really good! My 6 year old on the other hand? His hair is thick and it’s going to be a bit more of a challenge.

  27. Pauline Oldfield Mar 28, 2020

    Hi Sarah
    Where did you find the sea creature cape?

    1. Sarah Mar 30, 2020

      We have had that cape a LONG time, so I'm not sure! My mom bought it for us.

  28. Audrey V Mar 30, 2020

    I know this post is a little old, but I can't get my kids'hair cut for less than $20 apiece! I went to a barber, but it wasn't cheaper and they cut my kid's neck. I have been too scared to try- especially since my oldest has all kinds of cowlicks and uneven growth, but we're all staying home, so what do we have to lose?

  29. Kerstin Apr 17, 2020

    Hi Sarah, I wanted to thank you for your great ideas on crafting & exploring withs kids, which we tried with lots of fun in the past. But this time you did not only bring jpy to me & the boys, but also my husband is a happy man thanks to your hair clipping tutorial. Due to the pandemic lock down all three looked like "Monchichis". Luckily my neighbour had all the equipment available and off I went. : ) I even had to cut the boys top heads with scissors, as they insisted it had to be done as "always". I personally hope for the barbor to open again within six weeks, but if not, we're definitely know how to do it now, thanks to you. Warm regards from Frankfurt / Germany!

  30. Michele Winkler Jun 28, 2020

    You saved me! My husband and I are both high risk for Covid, and I watched a dozen videos of salon barbers cutting hair and got more nervous each time. He has such thick, curly hair! Your instructions and video made it so simple, and my husband loved his haircut. I am so grateful to you for posting this.

  31. Kristen S Jan 12, 2022

    I live in Alaska and I cant get any haircuts (even kids) for under $40 :'( If I got my own long hair trimmed it'd cost me about $85. I couldn't afford to have two boys and daddy get their hair cut every other month so im hoping I can get good at cutting it myself!


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