How to Do Clipper over Comb

Do you want to cut hair quickly but still have it look good as it grows out? If you’re cutting a shorter or medium-length hairstyle, using the clipper over comb method works great. This fundamental technique makes it easy to blend length and give hair a tapered look. While it’s really hard to do clipper over comb if you’re cutting your own hair, you can easily give someone else a haircut using it. With a little bit of patience and practice, you can give someone a style that they’re sure to be happy with!


[Edit]Preparing Their Hair

  1. Position the person so their head is at your eye level. If you’re working in a barbershop or salon, raise the person’s seat so it’s easier to see where you’re working. If you’re cutting hair at home, try to find a tall chair where they can sit down. If you need to, put something on the seat to raise them up even more.[1]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 1.jpg
  2. Wet the person’s hair with a spray bottle. Clippers work best when you get the person’s hair damp, so fill up a spare spray bottle with some clean water. Spritz the water onto their hair to make it easier to comb through and section off. If you get their hair too wet, just lightly dry it with a towel so it’s still a little damp.[2]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 2.jpg
    • Avoid leaving their hair dripping wet since it could clump together and make your cut look uneven.[3]
  3. Comb their hair with a wide-toothed comb. You won’t want to cut through tangled hair since it might affect the finished look of the haircut. Start from the top of the person’s head and slowly pull a comb down toward the bottom of their hairline. If you hit a tangle, gently work through it without ripping or breaking through their hair.[4]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 3.jpg
    • Combing their hair also helps you see how it naturally lays against their head so you can give them a cleaner cut.
  4. Section off the top of their hair along their natural part. Everyone has a natural part shaped like a horseshoe where the top of their scalp meets the sides of their head. Comb all of the hair on top of the person’s head forward so you can see their part. That way, you won’t accidentally cut off too much hair or give the person an unnatural part.[5]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 4.jpg
    • If the person has long hair that keeps falling back down, use a hair clip to secure it on top of their head.

[Edit]Setting Length

  1. Start on the same side of their head as your dominant hand. It’s a lot easier to see what you’re cutting when you move from your dominant side to your non-dominant side. Start on the right side of their head if you’re right-handed or the left side if you’re left-handed. Always stand directly in front of the section of hair you’re working on so you can see it clearly.[6]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 5.jpg
  2. Hold a handled comb in your non-dominant hand. Use a wide-toothed comb if you’re cutting off a large volume of hair or a fine-toothed comb if you’re blending a shorter haircut.[7] Position your comb so the teeth point up. Pinch the base of the handle with your index finger and thumb. Loosely wrap your other fingers around the lower half of the handle so the comb doesn’t slip around while you’re using it.[8]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Depending on the hairstyle they want, you may start off with a wider comb to trim off more hair and switch to a smaller comb when you’re finishing up.
  3. Comb up from the base of their hairline so the teeth point up. Place your comb just below the person’s hairline and press it lightly against their head. Keep the comb’s teeth pointed straight up so it moves easily through their hair. When you see hair poking through the teeth near the bottom of the comb, hold it in place.[9]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 7.jpg
    • Only focus on a section of hair that’s about wide so it’s easier to work with.[10]
    • If you want to make their hair look like it has more volume, try positioning the comb diagonally instead of horizontal.
    • To remove weight and volume but keep the length, hold the comb so it’s perpendicular to the floor instead.
  4. Pull the hair out from their head to the desired length. For longer hair, this determines the base length for the rest of the haircut. Keep your comb with the teeth pointed up and slowly pull it away from the person’s scalp. When you’re happy with the length, rest your ring finger against the person’s head so you don’t move your hand around.[11]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 8.jpg
    • If you’re cutting the hair shorter, you can leave the base of the comb against the person’s scalp.
  5. Tilt your comb away from their scalp if you want to taper the length. Clipper over comb is great for creating a fade or tapered hairstyle. Keep your comb still and slowly twist the teeth toward you. With the comb angled, you’ll cut the hair near the bottom of their head shorter and leave some of the length as you get closer to the top.[12]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 9.jpg
    • If the person wants the same length rather than a tapered look, keep the comb’s teeth pointed toward the ceiling.
  6. Move your clippers straight across the comb to cut their hair. Since you’re using the comb as a guide for their hair length, don’t use any guard or attachment on your clippers. Hold the comb steady so it doesn’t move around when you make your cut. Hold the clippers in your dominant hand and press it against the side of your comb. Slowly move the clippers from one side of the comb to the other to cut any of the hair that’s sticking out through the teeth.[13]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 10.jpg
    • If you’re right-handed, cut from right to left. If you’re left-handed, make your cut from left to right.
    • Make sure you keep the clippers flat against the side of the comb. Otherwise, you’ll cut the person’s hair unevenly.

[Edit]Blending Their Hair

  1. Comb out the section of hair just above where you cut. Working in vertical sections of hair makes it a lot easier to give the person a clean and even haircut. Run your comb up from the section of hair you just cut into the uncut hair right above it. Overlap the new section of hair with the top of the first section so you can use it as a guide for the right length.[14]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 11.jpg
  2. Angle the comb until the shortest hairs don’t extend past the teeth. You’ll have some of the hair you just cut near the base of your comb so they’ll be your guides. Pull the comb away from the person’s scalp or tilt the teeth toward you until you can’t see the shorter hairs anymore. The hair near the top of the comb will still stick through the teeth.[15]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 12.jpg
    • Be careful not to cut the guide hairs from the previous section since it will make the haircut look uneven.
  3. Trim their hairs with your clippers so they blend in with the lower section. Hold your comb steady and run the clippers over the teeth. Comb their hair down so the 2 sections you cut blend together and have a uniform or tapered look depending on the style they want.[16]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 13.jpg
    • If you notice some stray long hairs in the sections you cut, comb up through the section again and trim them to the same length.
  4. Keep working up their scalp until you reach the top. Continue cutting up the side of the person’s head in small sections so you maintain a consistent length. As you’re working, comb the hair down so you can see if there are any long hairs you missed so you can trim them down. Once you reach the top of the section, you can keep moving on.[17]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 14.jpg
  5. Cut in sections around their head until you reach the other side. Place your comb at the bottom of their hairline to start the next vertical section of the haircut. Try to overlap the sections slightly so you can keep using the hair you already cut as guides for the length. Continue working in vertical sections around the back of their head until you finish on the opposite side.[18]
    Do Clipper over Comb Step 15.jpg
    • Take a few steps back and check that the lengths are even on both sides of the person’s head when you’re finished.


  • Cut off less off the length when you’re first starting off so you don’t trim it too short. You can always go back and trim off more if you need to.[19]


  • It can be really difficult to cut your own hair using the clipper over comb method. If you’re trying to give yourself a haircut, use the plastic guards that come with your clippers instead.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Towel
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Hair clip
  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Electric clippers


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