Some clipper guard sizes aren’t as well understood as others. They simply aren’t used as commonly. This is one of them. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about the number 12 haircut.
Let’s get to it.
What Does The Number 12 Haircut Look Like?
The number 12 haircut looks like this:
As you can see, it’s short but not that short. The top is still long enough to style pretty comfortably.
It isn’t long enough to style a pompadour or anything along those lines. But a subtle comb over or a short quiff?
Sure – easily.
The beauty of it is that it’s easy enough to pop on a #12 clipper guard and trim the top down yourself. The result is long enough to almost look like it’s been scissor-cut.
It has a more natural and textured finish to it than shorter buzz cut lengths.
What can you do with a number 12 haircut?
These are styles where the top is short but still relatively long compared to the sides which are clipped down much shorter.
The top is left long enough to style. As a result, it’s a great option for those who want a style that’s short enough to make it easy to maintain, but long enough to actually do something with.
Remember, it’s pretty rare for people to trim everything down to a #12 length. Usually, the top is trimmed down to a #12 while the sides are kept much shorter in comparison.
Doing this will lead to a much better result.
What Length Is The Number 12 Haircut?
The number 12 haircut is 38mm (1.5 inches) long and trimmed using a #12 clipper guard. Wahl is one of the few clipper brands that actually make a #12 clipper guard.
The fact that so few brands actually have a #12 clipper guard tells you quite a lot.
It simply isn’t a very common haircut length to trim down to using a pair of clippers.
While leaving 1.5 inches of length up top is common, it’s usually achieved using a pair of scissors – not a pair of clippers.
Having said that, using a pair of clippers to produce this length often gives you a look that’s pretty comparable.
It may not look as natural or as textured as scissor-cutting down to 1.5 inches of length.
But it often looks surprisingly natural and surprisingly textured, considering how evenly you’re clipping everything down using a #12 clipper guard.
Wahl is the main brand that allows you to attach a #12 clipper guard.
While it can be tough to find a Wahl clipper that comes with this clipper guard as part of its original set, you can buy these longer clipper guards separately online.
They may not be made by Wahl themselves, but they’re designed to fit most full-sized Wahl clippers.
Here’s an example of a set of long clipper guards on
3 Benefits Of The Number 12 Haircut
If you were wondering whether or not to go for the number 12 haircut, here are a few benefits that may lead you to take the leap.
1. It Suits Most Face Shapes
One of the benefits of a length that’s short but not that short is that it suits most face shapes.
In particular, the #12 haircut is great for men with rounder or shorter face shapes (eg. square).
Even longer lengths such as the #5, #6, #7, or #8 would probably have the same effect. The reason for this is that you’re removing a lot of hair from up top. So much hair that you really don’t have much length up there to add any sort of real height.
When you’re unable to add height or length up top, some people find that it makes their face look rounder/shorter than they’d expected.
For example, they’re no longer able to style that short quiff to elongate the face like they used to.
They now have the problem of wanting a short hairstyle such as a buzz cut, but then having to deal with their face shape being exaggerated once it’s trimmed.
A good compromise would be to go for a length such as the #12 haircut.
It’s long enough to add some height up top if you wanted to, but it’s still short enough to give you most of the benefits that a shorter haircut length would as well.
Men with longer face shapes such as oblong or rectangular would also benefit from the #12 length.
It gives them some length up top but not so much that it elongates their face.
Once again, it’s the benefit of having a haircut length that’s short but not that short. It’s a middle-of-the-road length that most people would be happy with, regardless of their face shape.
2. It’s Surprisingly Versatile
Although there isn’t that much length, there’s still plenty you can do with a #12 in terms of styling.
Let’s compare it to shorter haircut lengths.
But if you’re going for a cut this short, there’s probably not much you wanted to do with it in the first place.
With longer lengths such as the number 7 or number 8, you’ve got more to work with. You’ll have enough to pull off a quiff or maybe a subtle side-slick at the front.
These lengths work pretty well for crew cuts too.
But ultimately, they won’t give you as many styling options as a number 12 haircut.
When you’ve got more length, you can build more texture and add more volume/height. Although it’s still an undeniably short haircut, the #12 will give you options.
When it comes to style, options are usually a good thing.
3. It’s Easy To Maintain
The #12 haircut length may not be as “set it and forget it” as a #2 or a #3, for instance.
You still do need to worry about flattening strays and flyaways.
But it’s actually very easy to maintain a #12 haircut length. There’s simply not enough length there to really worry about having to brush or comb it.
As long as you keep it clean, the rest takes care of itself.
It’s not long enough to cause any real “bad hair days”. It’s short enough to get away with not using any styling product at all if you didn’t want to.
I would recommend using some styling product, however, even if it’s just a little. It’ll give the haircut a more sophisticated finish.
The type of product you choose is important – I’ll be talking about this more in the next section.
But the point here is that you won’t need much of it and you won’t need to spend much time doing it.
The #12 haircut is easy to maintain.
Maintenance Tips For A Number 12 Haircut
When you’re working with a #12 length, there are certain tips that’ll help you get the most out of it.
1. Use The Right Styling Product
When you’re working with short hair, you want to be a little more careful with the type of product you choose.
The #12 length is in a grey area where it’s long enough to benefit from using styling products, but still short enough for the wrong styling product to make it look worse.
The reason for this is that shinier products can often show quite a lot of the scalp when the hair is this short, particularly when the hair is quite thin.
These products are great for building texture and volume – the #12 length is long enough for these effects to actually be noticeable.
As the hair is pretty short, you won’t need a product with that much hold. If you did want a heavier hold, gritty hair clays usually provide it.
Pastes and creams give you a lighter and more subtle hold – for a lot of men, this would usually be enough.
But the beauty of these products is that they’re not very shiny at all. As a result, they won’t show too much of the scalp when applied.
Pomades, waxes, and gels are generally shinier products that may have this unintended effect.
Whatever you use, however, use the minimum amount necessary to achieve your desired effect.
2. Keep The Sides Short
Trimming a number 12 haircut all over isn’t a good idea. While keeping the #12 length on top will often look great, the sides should be trimmed considerably shorter in comparison.
Clipping the sides down to a #12 length as well will usually lead to there being too much fullness at the sides when looking from a front-on view.
It doesn’t look very aesthetic and will often grow out badly as well. It’ll usually grow out with a sort of fuzz ball appearance that you’ll definitely want to avoid.
When you’ve trimmed the top down to a #12 length, the sides should be much shorter than this.
A good example would be a #12 on top with a #3 or a #4 on the sides.
It really depends on how much contrast you want between the sides and the top. If you aren’t sure – ask your barber for some advice.
You could keep the sides the same length from the bottom to the top, or choose to taper or fade them instead. Again, a good barber is an invaluable source of advice.
But keeping the sides nice and short while keeping the top a #12 length is a much better option than going for a #12 all over.
There you have it.
Hopefully, everything you could ever want to know about the #12 haircut.
What it looks like, what length it is, and its benefits.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.