It is said that there are few actions in existence that are as liberating as shaving one’s head. The act oozes defiance and a sense of free will. It also embraces masculinity in its purest form. Trimming a buzz cut with no guard is a ruthlessly efficient way to achieve this with minimal effort.
But although the physical effort may be minimal, the psychological hurdles that need to be jumped before committing the act can be troublesome.
When doing it for the first time, trimming a Number 0 buzz cut can seem like a mammoth ordeal. The stress of not knowing what you’ll actually look like by the end of it is often the most significant concern.
It takes guts to remove that clipper guard and allow that naked blade to glide freely across the scalp. As you know full well, once you start, it isn’t really possible to stop halfway.
As with most topics in men’s grooming, knowledge is power. Being fully-informed will make the decision to proceed, as well as the act of proceeding itself, seem a lot less daunting.
You’ll learn what a buzz cut with no guard looks like, how to trim it, and more. By the end of it, you should hopefully know exactly whether or not this is the style for you.
Let’s get to it.
What Does A Buzz Cut With No Guard Look Like?
I like to describe it as a light shadow falling gracefully upon the scalp. As you can see, this shadowing effect is very subtle but crucial in differentiating the buzz cut from a head that’s been completely shaved with a razor.
It does look extremely masculine and achieves this aesthetic in the simplest way possible.
The light shadowing is still prominent and obvious enough to contour the forehead and temples, as well as framing the face. This “framing” effect is what makes it work so well with a beard which acts to contour and frame the bottom of the face.
It would be safe to assume that another reason this style is considered attractive is that it indicates that a man cares about their appearance but not too much. It’s stylish, but not in a manner that suggests hours pruning and preening in front of a mirror.
This laidback approach to grooming very often has a surprisingly profound effect.
What Length Is A Buzz Cut With No Guard?
The buzz cut with no guard (the Number 0 buzz cut) is between 0.5mm and 0.8mm in length, depending on the device being used.
It is achieved without the use of any guard and is simply a result of trimming down with the naked blade of the clipper itself.
Because of this, the exact length can vary very slightly from one device to another. A standard Wahl blade will trim down to 0.8mm, while the #000 blade of Andis or Oster will trim down to 0.5mm.
But as you’d expect, the length is so short that it doesn’t even really matter. When it becomes that short, 0.3mm here or there won’t make a huge amount of difference.
It’s more important to be able to recognize a Number 0 when you see it, and also to know how to trim it properly and effectively.
A Buzz Cut With No Guard Is Great For Balding Men
For a balding man, having a solid list of flattering hairstyles is a very valuable asset indeed. A buzz cut with no guard is a phenomenal choice for balding men for more than one reason.
The shorter the hair, the less the contrast is between the hair and the forehead. This makes receding and balding less noticeable overall. It’s far more subtle and less obvious than a combover or any other “camouflage” technique.
Thinning hair on top is also much less obvious with a Number 0 buzz cut. As a general principle, when hair is trimmed to a short, even length, thin patches are less noticeable.
This is because there is less discrepancy in length between the hairs. Having longer hair strands immediately next to shorter hair strands is what makes the shorter areas look “thinner” than they otherwise would. It’s all relative and to do with perspective.
Another reason it’s great for a balding man is that it’s almost a symbolic act of defiance, as well as acceptance. Their previous styles may have focused entirely on covering up receding temples or combing over thin patches.
The simple act of trimming down to zero is an emphatic way to embrace their fate in an effective and intensely masculine manner.
Other Benefits Of The Number 0 Buzz Cut
I may have mentioned a couple of benefits already, but trust me – there are more. Here are a few others to hopefully tip you over the edge. Off of the fence and diving headfirst into this glorious style.
1. It’s extremely easy to maintain
This may seem obvious, but I feel it’s really important to drill it in. I do write quite a lot of articles on hairstyles and beard styles, and quite often include simple “how-to” style tutorials to go with them.
I don’t think there is a single style that’s as simple to trim and maintain as the buzz cut with no guard. There is hardly any technical skill required, although there are certainly a few tips and tricks to help you get the best result.
But the simplicity of the style and the ease with which you can maintain it is a very liberating factor in itself. No stress, no headaches – just whip off that guard and trim.
Sure, you may want to line it up if you want a more precise, sharp aesthetic. But a lot of men are fine with more natural-looking borders. This is a personal decision. Ultimately, it really could be as simple as just trimming it all down.
2. Washing and drying is a dream
One of the main benefits of being completely bald is always going to be washing and drying. As you’d expect, it’s very, very easy.
The Number 0 buzz cut carries the same benefits as being completely bald. Hopping out of the shower and towel-drying the scalp will make you wonder why you ever chose to have longer hair in the first place.
Efficiency and time have become increasingly valuable assets in men’s grooming. There are few styles that embody this as well as this one.
3. It’s easier on the skin than shaving
A lot of men, particularly balding men, choose to shave their head to embrace the look.
It wouldn’t be accurate to call trimming a Number 0 “shaving the head”. The difference between trimming and shaving is that shaving cuts closer to the skin.
Shaving is typically done with an electric shaver or manual razor. The razor could be a straightforward cartridge razor, a safety razor, or even a straight razor.
The main disadvantage of shaving is that it can be irritating to the skin. When using a manual razor, shaving oil or gel is essential to appropriately lubricate the scalp before gliding a blade across it.
The beauty of trimming a buzz cut with no guard is that the hair is so short that the benefits are similar to shaving.
However, because trimming doesn’t cut as close to the skin as shaving does, it’ll be less irritating to the scalp. There will be less risk of nicks and cuts – the aftermath will be less sore and a lot more comfortable.
How To Trim A Buzz Cut With No Guard
Here is a straightforward, step-by-step routine for trimming a Number 0 buzz cut. What I love about buzz cuts is they really aren’t difficult to trim. This one is no different.
You’ll need an electric clipper to do this. It’s really the only product you need, although there are a couple of extras that might come in handy.
More specifically, a handheld mirror would come in useful for the back of the head, and an exfoliating scrub will get you the best results.
1. Rinse the hair with water
Where you choose to do the trim is completely up to you, although in front of the bathroom mirror usually makes the most sense.
Clean hair is much easier to trim than greasy or oily hair. The first step should always be to try and achieve this.
Rinse your hair with lukewarm water, gently running the strands in between your fingers as you do so.
2. Exfoliate the scalp
Although this isn’t essential, it really does lead to a better outcome. “Exfoliation” refers to the process of removing dirt, oil, dead cells, and grime from the top layer of skin. The scalp is a very oil-rich part of the body.
Although this natural sebum oil is essential in a lot of ways, when it accumulates in excess, it can clog up the bases of the hair strands. This “mattifies” them and obstructs the blades during the trim.
Obstructed blades lead to uneven trims, irritated skin, tugging, pulling, and a less pleasant experience overall.
You may not even notice this until you try it after exfoliating. An exfoliating scrub is pretty cheap to buy and the actual act of exfoliating adds barely any time to your routine overall.
3. Prepare the clipper and your surroundings
It’s important to ensure your device is primed and optimized before you start using it. Ensure that it’s fully charged before you start using it. When a clipper is low on battery it starts to tug, pull, and even stall.
Ensure the blades are clean by using the tiny little brush that came with it to clear out any excess hair that may have accumulated. If you don’t have one of these, an old toothbrush would be fine too.
Also, most clippers do come with some cleaning oil. Drip a few drops onto the blade and use the brush to distribute it. Well-oiled, well-lubricated blades lead to more effective trims and also last longer.
To prepare your surroundings, you’ll basically want to make sure you’ve got an “easy-clean” set up. Lay some old newspaper on the floor to catch the hair you’re trimming off. Trust me, you’ll be thanking yourself for this at the end.
4. Trim the sides and the top
Where you choose to start trimming is up to you. When I choose to buzz myself, I usually start with the sides. There’s no real reason for this – it’s just a habit.
Now that you’re clipper has been primed, it’s time to choose the length. This part is easy – just take off any guards that may be clipped on. All you’ll be using is the naked blade of the clipper.
Choose whether you want to keep the lever of the clipper open (pushed back) or closed (pushed forward). Keeping it closed will trim just a little bit shorter than keeping it open.
If you aren’t sure, keep it open for now and go over it again with the lever closed if you want to go even shorter.
Start trimming the sides. Go slow – do not rush. When trimming a buzz cut, you’re aiming for a quick, efficient, effective, and even trim. The best way to achieve this would be to trim against the grain. In other words, against the direction of hair growth.
With the sides, this usually means you’ll be trimming upward. But the best way to determine the direction in which hair grows is by running your fingers through it.
The areas behind the ears can be hard to reach, so pull the ears gently backward and forward to get to them.
When trimming the top against the grain, you’ll most likely be trimming backward. The same principles apply – be sure not to rush.
Don’t worry if things aren’t quite perfect at this stage, as you’ll be fine-tuning everything a bit later on.
5. Trim the back and neck
The reason this is most likely going to be the most difficult part is that it’s quite difficult to see the back of the head. You probably noticed this already.
There are also a few dips in the back of the head that can be awkward to trim.
To make the process easier, a small handheld mirror does definitely come in useful. I’d definitely recommend that you use one to avoid messing it up.
With a small handheld mirror in your non-dominant hand, turn around so that the back of your head is facing the bathroom mirror. As the bathroom mirror reflects off the handheld mirror, you should now be able to visualize the back of the head.
Start trimming the back of the head in exactly the same way – against the grain. This will usually be upward, but the crown area can be troublesome. This is because hair just seems to grow in awkward directions around the crown.
The best way to tackle this is by running your fingers around it and trying to gauge the direction of hair growth. It can be difficult to navigate but do your best. Try and trim as evenly as possible around here.
There’ll be a dip around the middle which can be difficult to trim across. Go slow in this area because it can be easy to miss patches here.
You’ll have to decide what you want to do with the neckline. A lot of men don’t mind keeping it natural. However, you may want to square or round it off, or at the very least get rid of any stray hair or neck stubble.
This is the only part you may find tricky to do yourself – an assistant would be most welcome. But it isn’t impossible to do it yourself with the assistance of the trusted handheld mirror you’ve become well acquainted with by now.
6. Look for uneven parts
It’s time for that fine-tuning I mentioned. Although the buzz cut you’ve just trimmed with no guard may be looking very impressive by this point, there may well be scope for improvement.
You’d be surprised. The buzz cut may look perfectly even when looking at it from a single angle and in only one type of light. But look a little closer and you’ll see uneven patches that have somehow escaped the blade.
Look into the bathroom mirror and tilt your head up and down. Then, inspect the scalp from each side. In fact, from any angle you can possibly look at it from. The handheld mirror will come in very useful for this.
Try and inspect it from natural light as well as electric light.
Also, run your fingers along the whole of your scalp. It’s amazing how you can sometimes feel uneven patches that you might not even be able to see at this point.
If you do see or feel any unevenness, trim it down with your clipper. These finishing touches are crucial if you’re aiming for perfection.
It’s time for you to enjoy the beauty of showering with a Number 0 buzz cut for (potentially) the first time.
Wash off the excess hair, hop out, and gently towel-dry it. You’ll want to be gentle at this point because freshly-trimmed skin can be irritated.
It’s simple. The Number 0 buzz cut a phenomenal choice for men looking for clinical efficiency and effortless style.
You’ve seen pictures of what it looks like, learned why it’s so great and how to trim it in the most effective way possible.
If you were ever on the fence, hopefully, this should have tipped you off of it in one direction or the other.
It may not be for everyone, but for some, it may be exactly what they need.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.