how to do crew cut

Crew cut is a short version of regular haircut once worn by university rowing teams – hence load of different names of universities. It’s a relatively hard but far from impossible haircut to do yourself. And that is why we’re here – keep those clippers ready and let’s get started!

If you want a clipper cut, but don’t want it to be too obvious, the crew cut is the thing for you. This cut demands little care once it’s done.  It’s perfect for those who don’t like to spend too much time styling or combing it everyday. You can get it at the hairdresser’s the first time. It’s not too hard to touch it up at home after 2 weeks and make it hold its shape just a little longer. Hopefully you’ll feel more confident in your skills to completely do it yourself after touching it up a few times.

Before you cut

black and white profile of someone with short hair

For this haircut it is even more important than with other clipper cuts that you look through some reference photos and try to imagine how you will cut your hair. Spend some time in front of the mirror, see your hair growing pattern, and try to visualise how you would cut it with clippers. This haircut requires a great deal of fading, which is one of the hardest things to master in DIY haircuts. You will need a comb, a pair of scissors and multiple guards and blades ready.

Uniform sides and back

To do a crew cut, you will need to cut sides and back to a short uniform length (#2 or #4). Take your time during this step. Ask a friend to help you or keep a second mirror at hand to make sure you got that uniformity. Work from bottom up, starting in one side, then the other, then working on the centre part. This will ensure you remember what you did on the first side.

Create a smooth transition

When you’re ready, create a transition from the bottom to the top of the head and taper the lower part by switching different guard sizes. This is perhaps the hardest thing to master, so don’t rush. As you did above, work on one side and then the next, and only then focus on the centre, all from the bottom up. This will help you create an uniform cut. You can find more on this in our tutorial on cutting your own hair. Before rushing to the top, make sure the back and areas around your ears are neat.

Focus on the top

woman wearing crew-neck tee shirt with blonde short hair and pink lipstick

The top will be the most visible part of this cut, and depending on the length of your hair you can get very different results. The top is faded from the front to crown. The hair will be longer at the front. It can later be styled into a pompadour, bangs, or even part, depending on your hair length and structure. After you’re done with sides and back, create the top fade. Decide how long you want that segment to be. Then, gradually start cutting horizontal segments of hair with different guard sizes. Make sure the transition between the bottom and top is smooth. Alternatively you can also use a pair of scissors to trim your hair or to do the final touch ups.

Pro Tip: fixing mistakes

Are the transitions in your cut too obvious? Do you need to fix the fading? Or, are you simply a perfectionist and want to make sure your cut is uniform and well done? Grab a pair of thinning shears. They can be great in fixing mistakes. They work because the cuts they do aren’t obvious and so can blend out pretty well. Place the scissors horizontally in the ”line” that you see needs blending and do a quick snip with the shears. Stick with them to help you fade transitions. You can also run them horizontally bottom up around your head to blend all transitions. However do but don’t focus on the same area too long. If the top of your haircut has too much volume, you can use the same scissors to take some of it out.

How to style a crew cut?

You can style this haircut quite easily with some wax or gel or leave it as it is. This cut is very low-maintenance, but it needs to be refreshed regularly as all short haircuts do. Putting some effort in styling it will also increase the duration of the cut and will make it look neat. Do keep in mind that very short is prone to sun burns. Since there is a lot less hair covering your scalp, sun rays will get to you unless you use sunscreen or wear a cap on sunny days.

Examples of crew cut

crew cuts different lengths men