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How to give yourself a buzz cut (or even a fade) during the shutdown

By Nick Vadala, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Fashion Daily News

PHILADELPHIA - We've been inside for a while. And barbershops and hair salons have been deemed non-essential in Pennsylvania and New Jersey - meaning that, by now, many of our manes may be looking downright shaggy.

Cutting your hair at home isn't easy, but if you're game, there is one hairstyle that could be pretty simple to achieve: The humble buzz cut. That hairdo has become popular amid quarantine, with celebs like "Snatch" star Stephen Graham and "Rent's" Anthony Rapp rocking the short-haired look.

It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but buzzing your own head at home is doable. Here is what you need to know:

A buzz cut starts with the workhorse of the operation: Hair clippers. Barber on 24th manager Phil Leone says that "you don't have to spend too much money" on a set, and suitable clippers can be found at your local drug or big-box store. You'll want a kit that comes with plastic guards, which slip onto your clippers to control the length of your cut.

A handheld mirror is another good tool, especially if you are able to use it alongside a wall-mounted mirror. That way, Leone says, you can use the mirrors together to get a look at the blind spots on the sides and back of your head when cutting.

Buzzing your head is going to get hair everywhere, so choose your workspace wisely. American Mortals stylist Jessica Kramer recommends cutting somewhere with a tile or hardwood floor for easier cleanup. You might even consider sticking to your bathtub to keep the hairs contained, as Leone recommends, or taking it outdoors.


"If you have cordless trimmers, you could do it outside," Kramer says. "Let the birds take it."

If you've got long hair, Leone recommends you trim down to about an inch all over your head with scissors - otherwise, the trimmers could snag your hair and make the process lengthier and a little painful.

Washing your hair before the cut isn't necessary, says Kramer. What's important, however, is that your hair is dry because "clippers have trouble mowing through wet hair."

Before buzzing, Leone recommends using the little vial of oil clippers often come with to lubricate the blade. Generally, he says, you can drip two or three drops on the metal blade of the clippers, and run them for a few seconds.


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