Skip to Content

Can You Use A Beard Trimmer To Cut Hair?

Can you use a beard trimmer to cut hair? It may not be ideal, but when you have no other options, here’s what you need to know about making that beard trimmer work a double shift. 

Table of Contents

Beard Trimmer vs Hair Clippers

Before you decide to give cutting your hair with beard trimmers a go, make sure to know the differences between the two tools. 

Beard Trimmers

The main difference between beard trimmers and hair clippers is that beard trimmers are smaller. They’re designed to trim, shape, and style facial hair, so their cutting range leans much shorter than clippers. They can cut hair down as close as 0.5 mm, with most designs going up to 20 mm which is about ¾ inch. 

Some beard clippers have adjustable blades, while others come with plastic comb guards that you attach to the blades.

Beard trimmers for home use are designed specifically for shaping beards and simple stubble shaves, so they don’t provide a very close shave, but they’re often better suited for shaping and styling longer hair, whether on the face or head. 

There are also professional-grade trimmers designed for fading or outlining both the beard and hair. They can shave closer than trimmers for home use, but they usually have fewer length settings. If you’d like to learn more, check out this detailed comparison of professional clippers vs trimmers

Hair Clippers 

Hair clippers are significantly larger, and they also tend to accommodate coarser hair a little better. They work faster over the larger surface area of the head. 

They tend to come with a bigger range of replaceable combs that usually cut from 1.5 mm up to 38 mm (about 1.5 inches). A lot of clippers for home use also come with angled combs that make it easier to taper the sides of the head even with minimal professional skill. If you have access to hair clippers, they’re definitely the better choice for cutting hair. 

How To Cut Hair With A Beard Trimmer

If you only have a beard trimmer on hand, you can still make do. Here’s how you can cut hair with a beard trimmer.

What You’ll Need

In addition to the beard trimmer, you’ll also need a plastic comb and a towel to catch the fallen hair. Having a pair of hair cutting scissors and hair clips can help you achieve a more precise look, but no worries if you don’t have them. 

You’ll also need two or three mirrors that you can position in such a way as to see your head from multiple angles. Your phone camera can be a decent alternative. You can also find a friend to help you out with the back of your head. 

Plan Your Cut 

Before you start, create an action plan. An all-over buzz cut is going to be much easier to achieve than a textured quiff with a fade. In this guide, I’ll focus on a simple cut that’s shorter and a little tapered on the sides and longer on top. 

There’s some room for adapting your cut, so here are the things to think about in advance: 

  • How short do you want the sides?
  • How long would you like the top to be? 
  • Where do you want the line where the sides meet the top to be? 
  • Do you part your hair, and if so, where? 

You can use hair clips to actually section your hair and mark out these areas. 

Cut The Sides

Start your cut by cutting the sides. Adjust your beard trimmer to a medium-long setting (around 10 mm). If your beard trimmer doesn’t have long enough combs, use a plastic hair comb to control your length, instead. If you’re feeling really confident, you can also just try to freehand it. 

Then, hold the trimmer against the side of your head so the blades face upwards, and are about perpendicular against your skull. Then, start cutting working your way from the bottom up to where you’ve decided your sides will meet the top. Work your way all around your head.

Create A Taper

Once you’ve cut down that first layer, you’ll want to taper the sides a little bit. Set your trimmer to the shortest setting you’d want at the bottom of your sides and the nape of the neck. Then, trim up to the midway point of your sides. 

Next, set the trimmer to a slightly higher setting, and trim the strip above that first one, to achieve a gradual short-to-long taper. 

Finally, set your trimmer to an in-between point to gently blend those “strips” into a clean, tapered cut.   

Blend The Top 

Once your sides are all trimmed, blend the area where the sides meet the top. You’ll probably want to go up to your trimmer’s highest length setting. Use a comb to lift up the hair both below and above the line of demarcation, so you can better control the length. 

Cut The Top 

Finally, cut the top. It’s better to do this part by lifting up your hair with the comb and then cutting from above with scissors. If you don’t have scissors, you can make this work with the trimmer.  

Either way, let your comb guide you. If you’re using the trimmer, remove any guards from it or set it to a shorter setting. 

Lift up the hair with the comb, and then cut it from above the comb with your beard trimmer. Turn your head around from side to side to make sure you create a shape that you like. You will probably want to trim the hair a little shorter at the crown and let it stay a little longer at the top of your head. 

Once you’re happy with how the top looks, give the entire look a once over. You will probably find a few uneven spots where you’ll need to tidy up and blend things out. 

Can You Use A Beard Trimmer To Cut Pubic Hair?

While you may prefer to invest in one of the best trimmers for balls, you can also cut your pubic hair with a beard trimmer. It’s pretty easy to do, and you don’t need to be particularly artistic. All you need to do as you trim is to move any precious bits around and away from the trimmers. To avoid cutting yourself, hold your skin tight to straighten out any areas where you have folds or where things are a little loose, and then just go to town. 

Miles is a professional men's grooming analyst who believes that to look good a man just needs to take good care of himself. He’s all about wet shaving, sustainability, and evidence-based grooming - an obsession he’s ready to share. Miles is known for his in-depth analysis of men's grooming products, brands, and best practices you can't find anywhere else.