Clipper Size Guide For 2 On The Sides Haircuts

The hairdo known as “2 on the sides” is quite popular among men, but is not widely understood by the general public. This misunderstanding of what this phrase means that you could leave the barber shop with a disastrous haircut.  

Clipper Size Guide For 2 On The Sides Haircuts

So what does 2 on the sides mean? Well, many things. This haircut can be modified and changed so that the haircut can suit people of all face and head shapes. 

After reading this and studying the images of the completed product, you will have a much better idea of what you are asking your barber for.

In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about this type of haircut, from the clipper guards used, the lengths you can expect, and pictures to show you what the overall cut will look like. 

Let’s get into it!

Four On The Top, Two On The Sides

In this look, the hair on top of the head is trimmed to a length of half an inch using a clipper grade of number 4, while the hair on the sides and back of the head is trimmed to a length of one-fourth of an inch using a clipper grade of number 2.

This style of haircut is known as the “4 on top and 2 on the sides and back haircut.”

This is a buzz cut that falls in the middle of being very short and medium length. It i

typically an excellent alternative for males who want to try buzz cuts but don’t want to commit to anything shorter than their present length of hair.

It is a stepping stone for people who aren’t ready to take the full plunge with buzz cuts. 

Another term for this style is the “finger-length on top and 2 on the sides,” which refers to the fact that finger-length is often somewhere about half an inch.

The length is trimmed short enough that it may be identified as a “buzz cut,” but it is not shaved off to the point where the scalp can be seen through the hair.

When getting this haircut, the barber (or yourself) should create contrast in length between the hair on top of the head ( #4) and the hair on the sides and back of the head (#2) of the head to give the illusion of having a thinner face and jawline. 

In addition to this, as the hair spreads out, it grows in a manner that is both incredibly organic and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

You may think of this as the same thing as bringing everything down to an even number 4, but without the tapers on the sides and the back.

It is possible for this style to evolve into something that has the appearance of a “fuzz ball,” though.

To avoid this happening and to have it grow out more naturally, you should have the sides and back a couple of grades shorter than the top. 

This can be accomplished by trimming the sides and rear to a shorter length (for example, the 4 on top and the 2 on the sides).

It is also a style that can be replicated and done yourself with very little practice or experience as it is very easy to do. 

It won’t be as easy as, say, cutting everything down to a #4, but trimming the sides and back down to a #2 doesn’t require a lot of technical talent unless you’re going for a fade or taper.

In that situation, it will call for a higher level of expertise.

Three On The Top, Two On The Sides

In this look, the hair on top of the head is trimmed using a clipper grade of number 3 (3/8 inch), while the hair on the sides and back of the head is clipped using a clipper grade of number 2 (1/4 inch).

This haircut is known as the 3 on top and 2 on the sides haircut.

When the hair is cut to this length, the benefits of a short buzz cut can be seen. 

Having your hair cut to the three lengths is very simple to do, but it does mean that style options are very limited as you are essentially shaving all of your hair off.

But if you like no-fuss hairstyles, this is the one for you. 

It is recommended that men who are losing their hair or whose hairline is receding get their hair cut to approximately this long.

When the hair is trimmed in an exceedingly short style, thin or bare areas on the top of the head become less visible.

This is because shorter hair does not protrude as much as long hair does.

In addition, fading the sides (using a method such as a high 2 fade) virtually absorbs the receding temples, which makes them look less obvious as a result. 

Even though there isn’t much of a difference in length between a #3 on top and a #2 on the sides, there is enough of a difference to create an effect that is slimming and narrowing on the face and jawline.

This is because the #3 on top is shorter than the #2 on the sides.

There are some words of warning when it comes to this hairstyle though. 

When someone has their first buzz cut, their hair is often trimmed quite short. If you are not prepared for this, then the length and the final look may be a bit shocking to you.

Start by giving a length of a #4 or #5 a try (with a #3 on the sides), and then, if you like the way it looks, you may gradually make it shorter.

When your hair is cut to such a short length, the features of your face and the shape of your head become marginally more obvious.

A person with a facial shape that is already more round or shorter than average might have these features exaggerated because there is not much that can be done with the hair on top to make the face appear taller (such as a small quiff).

Even while this cut may still come out looking stunning, it’s quite unlikely that this will be what you were expecting it to be.

Therefore, keep this in mind while you are deciding on what haircut to get. 

Two On The Sides, With Longer Hair On Top (Using Scissors)

For this hairstyle, the top is cut using scissors and left a little longer than the sides and rear, which are trimmed to a length of a quarter of an inch using a clipper grade of number 2.

“2 on the sides and long on top” is the name given to this particular style.

Because the “long hair” on top may be molded and styled into nearly anything, ranging from a pompadour to a quiff to a French Crop and many other styles, this style is by far the least defined one on our list.

The only thing that the sides have in common with the other ones on this list is that they are buzzed down to a length of #2.

On the other hand, even the number two on the sides may be different. As an example, you may decide to have the length of the sides and back gradually grow up to a #2, similar to what you would see with a fade. 

You might also have a very sudden transition from the sides of your hair being trimmed to a length of #2 to the top of your head having long hair cut with scissors. This is called an undercut. 

In the end, you have total freedom of creative expression thanks to the enormous number of different style options available with this haircut. 

It is to your advantage to consult with your barber on the scissor-cut, long style on top, along with a #2 length on the sides, and how this would look best on your face. 

Eight On The Top, Two On The Sides

This style is when the top is trimmed with a number 8 guard (which is one inch) and the sides are trimmed with a number 2 guard (which is one-fourth of an inch).

It is more correct to describe this style as a “buzz cut,” the same name that is given to the first two cuts on this list because getting a #8 on top necessitates the use of hair clippers. 

On the other hand, due to its extensive length, it isn’t always obvious that this is a buzz cut. 

Using the 8 on top and 2 on sides strategy might be beneficial for buzz cut variations that have longer hair on top and shorter hair on the sides.

For example, there is a haircut known as a crew cut, in which the hair on top of the head is kept long and is progressively trimmed shorter heading forward.

There are also butch cuts, which differ from crew cuts in that the hair on top is combed in a fashion that is more horizontal and lacks the tapering that is typical of crew cuts.

If the difference in length between the long #8 on top and the extremely short #2 on the sides and back is significant enough, this haircut may be highly captivating and draw a lot of attention to itself.

While you may think that this is an ideal look for you, any change in hairstyle is a bit decision.

If, on the other hand, you want to get a look that has less contrast, you might want to give a #3 or a #4 cut a shot, which involves leaving the sides and back of your hair a little bit longer than the front and the top.

If you cut your hair to these lengths, you would still have enough contrast to produce a wonderful and tapered style that would have a slimming effect on the face. 

However, there isn’t that much of a distinction between the top and the sides of the hair, so it’s not the very first thing that people notice about it.


These are only some of the many popular hairstyles that can be achieved using a clipper or scissors.

When deciding on a new hairstyle, you need to think about how the change will affect your face and head shape, as these can both be hidden and shown off with the right haircut. 

Do your research and talk to your barber to find the right haircut for you.

Joseph Pais