Will that be a burr buzz or a fade buzz, sir? When you walk into your local barber's thinking of a short haircut it's a good idea to know exactly what you'd like before being caught up in barbershop jargon which you feel you ought to be familiar with already. And then sticking with what you know because the alternatives seem a little scary. Welcome, then, to our guide on the intricacies of the buzz cut, featuring five of the best buzz cuts for men. Because it's time for a change, right?
5 of the best buzz cuts for men
The basic, the classic and perhaps what you're thinking of when you think buzz cuts for men. The name literally enough comes from the armed forces, since the induction cut is a take on the brutal take-no-prisoners cut given to new recruits, particularly in the US. The initial idea – sorry about this – was to fend off head lice. The look could not be more sharp: the classic induction cut is a simple 0.5 on the barber's clippers all over. Hardcore aficionados of the induction cut go for a zero, favoured by the US Marines. The induction cut is easily possible at home, just make sure you achieve the same length – or lack of it – all over with your clippers.
Burr buzz cut
Less radical than the induction, so if you're thinking of a buzz cut, the burr cut isn't a bad place to start. Clippers are set to one or two, so when you run your hands over your hair there will be some hair to run them over. Again it's possible at home, again make sure it's absolutely even all over, you – and others – will notice it as it grows out otherwise. This is a look that foregrounds hairlines and is also great for showing off those childhood scars from that bicycle tumble. To state the blindingly obvious, it'll grow out quicker than the induction cut, so if you really hate it there's not long to wait before you have a full head of hair again. On the other hand, if you love it, the induction awaits.
First: go to the barber's for this one. Do not try it at home, you'll only end up with a burr buzz or an induction, trust us on this. The key difference from an induction or burr buzz is that the hair isn't the same length all over. Classically, a barber will take clippers to the sides for a taper and scissors to the top so that in side profile, the look is just about horizontal. The name is said to derive from American Ivy League rowing crews, where a long haircut would flop over a rower's eyes. It's a great no-nonsense cut, with counterparts in many other countries – in France for instance it's "coupe en brosse" or "cut like a brush". Perfect suited and booted.
Buzz cut fade
A cut with elements of both the crew cut and the induction cut. The top is far longer than on a crew cut, while the sides are a radical fade or taper. It's an attention-grabbing cut and ideal if you've a full head of hair on top and really want to give that a pop. The sides are key to the success of the fade buzz. They can begin as short as a zero - or even shaved - tapering to your choice of length on top. As the fade buzz grows out it's going to have less impact so there's a bit of maintenance on this one if you want to retain the classic fade buzz look. A simple weekly visit to the barber's should sort that out, making sure that – even if you're growing the top – the sides retain that vital buzzed shortness. We love it.
High and tight buzz cut
The clue's in the name. Sides are zero on the clippers or shaved, tapering high to an ever so slightly longer clipper cut on the top: think a click or two above what you've done for the sides, so a half or a number one on top. The key is the height, though, of the side cut: right up to where your skull starts to think of going horizontal. You could try it at home but again we'd be inclined to leave this to the professionals: you want the fade to go all around the head at the same length and for the best effect it really does have to look military sharp. When it works, it's a great confident look that will naturally grow out towards a crew cut. The sharpest of the lot? We’d say so.
Read our guide to five of the best short haircuts for men.
Now, tame and style that new 'do with Horace's haircare essentials.