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The 1.5mm Haircut (Number 0.5): Guard, Look, Trim Guide

January 3, 2021
The 1.5mm Haircut (Number 0.5): Guard, Look, Trim Guide

Ever feel like going so short that hair maintenance becomes a non-existent issue? You’re not alone. Trimming this short can drastically cut down on hair-related frustrations. Here’s everything you need to know about the 1.5mm haircut. 

Don’t get me wrong – you’ll still need to regularly trim down this short if you want to maintain it. 

But washing and drying become ultra-quick and that drawer full of hair products, combs, and brushes becomes redundant. 

If any of this sounds appealing to you, read on. 

You need to know what to use to achieve, what it looks like, and how to do it yourself. Trust me – this is a length that is simple to DIY as long as you’ve got the correct technique. 

Let’s get to it. 

Which Clipper Guard Number For A 1.5mm Haircut?

The 0 guard for most clippers, or 0.5 guard for Wahl clippers, will allow you to trim down to 1.5mm (1/16 inches). 

I’ve included “number 0.5” in the title because a lot of men out there do use Wahl clippers. But it’s important to remember that most other clippers won’t have a 0.5 guard. It’s their “0 guard” that’ll produce a 1.5mm length. 

When I say “most clippers”, that includes huge brands including Andis, Oster, Remington, and more. 

Basically, Wahl is really the only major clipper brand that bucks the trend by throwing a 0.5 guard in there. 

Having said all of this, a lot of men out there with basic DIY clippers will notice that their device didn’t actually come with one of these guards. 

As a result, they’re torn between having to go for a number 1 (3mm) or simply trim down with no guard attached. 

Trimming with no guard attached so the blade comes into direct contact with the hair will usually lead to a length between 0.5 and 0.8mm, depending on the size of the blade. For men looking for that much-coveted 1.5mm length, this may be unacceptable. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done about this. You can look online to see if you can buy a 1.5mm clipper guard separately for the specific clipper you’ve got. 

Another option would be to use the clipper’s lever. Again, this would only be an option if your clipper actually came with a lever, as a lot of cheaper ones won’t. 

But if yours did, check the blade size. If the blade size is around 0.5-0.8mm in length, opening the lever (i.e leaving it horizontal) with no guard attached will allow you to trim down to around 2mm. For most men, this would be close enough. 

Ultimately, the easiest thing to do would be to get yourself a clipper that comes with the correct clipper guard. There are some pretty affordable ones out there – I’ll be giving you an example shortly. 

But first, what exactly does this oddly specific yet very popular hair length look like? 

What Does A 1.5mm Haircut Look Like? 

The 1.5mm haircut looks like a layer of light stubble across the entire scalp. 

You could call it a very short induction buzz cut if the entire scalp is trimmed down to the same, even length. 

Here’s what it looks like: 

Example of a 1.5mm haircut
From Shutterstock

As you can see, it almost just looks like a shadowing effect over the head. It’s so subtle that it may not be for everyone. 

But it’s a great alternative for men who don’t want to fully shave their head but do want the benefits of looking bald. 

That gentle shadowing effect adds depth and contouring to the top half of the face. It adds character, shape, and definition. 

Combining it with light stubble on the face that’s a similar length would be great and would add a lot of balance. 

Having said that, the contrast that a longer beard would provide definitely also has its appeal. 

Going clean-shaven on the face is more of a risk, considering you’ve got so little hair on the head. When you’re bald (or nearly bald), head shape needs to be considered

It can exaggerate the shape of the head, making it look too round or too short if you’re not careful. Having some facial hair is a good way to counteract this and add some definition. 

A Great 1.5mm Hair Clipper

The Wahl Color Pro is an affordable clipper that comes with a number 0.5 guard and will allow you to trim down to 1.5mm. 

Check it out on Amazon here

If you intend on trimming down this short, make sure the clipper you buy will allow for it. 

There are plenty of other clippers that would allow you to do it, but the Color Pro provides great value for money. 

You don’t need anything too fancy to get this done. 

As I mentioned earlier if you’ve already got a pair of clippers but don’t have a number 0 or 0.5 guard that would allow you to trim this short, check online. 

You may be able to buy one separately. Just make sure it’s specific to the clipper you’ve got. 

How To Trim A 1.5mm (Number 0.5) Haircut

For this tutorial, you’ll need a pair of clippers and a mirror. An additional handheld mirror would come in very useful for the back as well. 

This routine is for trimming a basic 1.5mm induction-style buzz cut all the way around. 

It’ll assume you’ve got a 0.5 guard (for a Wahl Clipper) or a 0 guard for most other clippers. Essentially, a 1/16 inch (1.5mm) clipper guard. 

If you’ve got a clipper with a lever, I’ll be explaining the alternative way to do it as well (no guard necessary). 

1. Prep The Clipper

Clippers need prepping before attempting any trim. Ensuring the clipper is in a good state before starting the trim is half the battle. 

More specifically, it needs to be charged, cleaned, and (ideally) oiled. 

Charging the clipper beforehand is the easiest win. Of course, if your clipper is corded this isn’t relevant. But an uncharged, cordless clipper will tug and pull as you attempt the buzz. 

The slow motor will struggle to glide the blade across the scalp, leading to an uneven trim. 

“Cleaning” the clipper refers to brushing away clogged up hair around the blades. This would have collected from previous trims and it will obstruct the blade. 

Finally, your clipper would most likely have come with a little bottle of clipper oil. If not, there are alternative clipper oils you could use instead. 

A couple of drops of clipper oil between the blades will reduce friction and lead to a more efficient, comfortable, and even trim. 

2. Wash And Dry  

Trimming clean and dry hair down to 1.5mm is a lot easier than trimming greasy hair. 

Unclean, oily hair clumps together, is hard to judge and also obstructs the clipper as it attempts to move through. 

So, rinse with water (plus shampoo if you’d like) and dry off. I’d recommend drying off completely before trimming; in other words, use a blow-dryer. 

Hair clippers shouldn’t be used on wet hair

3. Top And Sides Down To 1.5mm

There’s no exact science to this. If you wanted to start with the back, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so. 

But leaving the back until last would probably be a better idea because it’s harder. Go for the quick wins first as it’s more motivating. 

Attach your number 0 or number 0.5 guard to the clipper. Again, it depends on your device, but just attach the one that trims down to 1.5mm (1/16 inches). 

The alternative way would only be possible if your clipper came with a lever. 

If your clipper comes with a lever and the blade size is around 0.5 – 0.8mm (as most standard ones are), pull the lever backward so it’s horizontal. 

Opening the lever like this should allow you to trim down to around 2mm which many men would feel was close enough. 

So, with your clipper prepped, turn it on and start trimming the top and sides. Trim against the grain (i.e against the direction of hair growth) for the quickest and most even trim. 

On the top, this would mean trimming backward for most people. On the sides, it would mean trimming upward. 

Don’t forget the areas behind the ears. Try and get as even and neat a trim as possible. 

The front hairline can be easy to miss, so make sure you pay close attention to it to avoid hard lines. 

4. Trim The Back Down To 1.5mm

The back of the head is harder because it’s an uneven surface. There are ridges, dips, and grooves; this is normal. 

Plus, it’s much harder to see the back of your head. A handheld mirror would make things a lot easier. If you’ve got someone you trust that could do it for you it would be even better. 

If you’re doing it yourself, gently placing your index (2nd) finger over the clipper guard as you move it across the back of your head should add some stability. 

Just be careful the guard doesn’t slip right off. 

Pay close attention to the crown area (at the top of the back). Hair grows in different directions here, so spend a bit of extra time making sure you trim as evenly as possible. 

5. Define The Neckline

The neckline is another area where you may want to get some assistance. It’s the lower border of your hair at the back of the head. 

The beauty of the 1.5mm (number 0.5) haircut is that you could leave the neckline au naturale and it wouldn’t be too obvious. The hair is so short that even if the neckline isn’t lined up, squared off, or rounded off it won’t look too bad. 

But if you want to line up that neckline you could either try to free-hand it, ask a trusted loved one to do it for you, or use a handy neckline shaving template like this (Amazon Link). 


Hopefully, that’s just about everything you could have possibly hoped to learn about this glorious hair length.