The 3 Buzz Cut: What It Means, How To Cut It, Pictures, And More

The Number 3 Buzz Cut is one of the most well-liked and flexible buzz cut hairstyles worn by men of all ages. This is a very versatile haircut and is ideal for men who want a lower maintenance cut while also still being very stylish.

The 3 Buzz Cut: What It Means, How To Cut It, Pictures, And More

Even though the length of the cut differs from man to man, it is often long enough that the scalp does not stand out between the hairs, and is hardly noticeable at all. This trait is a reason why this style is so popular.

Also known as a “medium-length” buzz cut, the number 3 is very often mistaken for the number 4 cut, though in reality, these are both nearly identical haircuts so it may not even be noticeable whether you get a number 3 or 4.

Like with the Number 4, the Number 3 is an excellent option for guys who want to experiment with the buzz cut style but don’t want to fully commit to a cut that is as short as a Number 1 or Number 2.

So what even is the Number 3 cut, and how can it be styled? These questions and many more will be answered in this article, so if you want to learn more about this cut and if it will look good on you, keep reading!

Let’s get into it.

Number 3 Length

The length of the Number 3 buzz cut is 10 millimeters, which is equivalent to 3/8 of an inch.

In the majority of men, including younger guys and kids, this is long enough to make the scalp largely hidden behind the hair.

Having said that, this does somewhat depend on the color of the person’s skin as well as the color of their hair.

You have probably heard someone in a barbers shop ask for a “3 on the top and 2 on the sides”, which is a very common haircut for men. The number 2 represents a quarter of an inch, which is equal to 6 millimeters.

With this look, when compared to the top, the sides appear to be rather tapered. It’s a great way to make sure that the buzz cut will keep its attractive and natural appearance even as it grows out.

The fact that you can give yourself a buzz cut all around with a number 3 trimmer is the greatest aspect of this haircut, as it is super easy to do with very little room for it to go wrong.

It is also cheaper, as it does not require a trip to the barbers, and it can be done very quickly, which is perfect if you need a quick trim in a rush.

The Best Benefits Of This Cut

A buzz cut of this length is a perfect “stepping stone” for males who are perhaps worried about committing to a shorter hairdo. This is because a buzz cut of this length leaves the back and sides of the head rather long.

This is not the only benefit of getting this haircut though.

Easy To Look After

With a cut like this, maintaining and washing your hair may be easier than it ever has been before.

It takes less time to dry, takes less shampoo to wash (so you may end up saving money by having to use less), and requires little to no of your styling.

Can Do It Yourself

If you want to give yourself a simple buzz cut, the number 3 won’t be too difficult to do on your own. This style is also known as a military-style induction cut and involves cutting all of the hair to the same length.

You should not have any trouble doing this on your own if you want to. However, you may want the assistance of a barber in order to successfully do the more complex alterations, such as fading.

Feels Nice To the Touch

If buzz cuts have one major drawback, it is that they are not nice to touch often. This is because when the hair is cut very short, it can feel sharp or rough.

With the length on a number 3 cut though, the hair does not have a rough feel when it is touched and actually can have a softer feel.

Suitable For Formal Occasions

Unlike many other styles of buzz cuts, the Number 3 is versatile enough that it is considered appropriate for many scenarios or situations.

For instance, you can be confident knowing that whether you are going to work, at a wedding or formal event, or are doing a job interview, your haircut will not be looked down upon, as unfortunately, many other shorter buzz cuts are.

With this cut, you will have self-assurance knowing that your hairstyle looks put together and professional.

Ideal For Balding Men

Having hair this length is that it is a great choice for men who are going bald or who have hairlines that are receding.

When cut short and kept consistent in length, thinning hair can give the impression of being thicker than it actually is.

Are There Any Downsides?

The only real disadvantage with this haircut is that you are not left with enough extra hair for you to style and play with.

You won’t be able to push your hair up into a sweeping quiff or comb over as there will not be enough hair to do so.

You are able to customize the cut itself though and can add dimension and interest by adding a fade to the look.

It is best that you get your barber to do this for you though, as it can be difficult for people with little experience in hair cutting.

How To Do A Number 3 Buzz Cut

How To Do A Number 3 Buzz Cut

Like we said above, doing a Number 3 haircut on yourself is very easy. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do this haircut. By following these steps, you should be left with a clean and even cut all around.

The only equipment that you will need for this haircut is an eclectic clipper. You may already have one at home, or you can buy one for a relatively low cost online or in stores.

You will require an electric clipper in order to complete this instruction. Be sure to pick one that comes with a clipper guard numbered 3.

As an optional item, a medium-sized handheld mirror may be useful to you. This is perfect to use when cutting the back of your head, which may be a difficult task to complete on your own.

Here is how to do the perfect Number 3 cut every time.

Wash And Dry Your Hair

When the hair is clean, it is considerably simpler to cut. After soaping your hair with a mild shampoo thoroughly clean it by rubbing individual strands of hair between your fingers. Then rinse it out with water,

Before attempting to trim a buzz cut, the hair should either be completely dry or almost completely dry. When the hair is wet or damp, it is considerably more difficult to cut it down.

If you’re pressed for time, consider using a blow dryer.

Get All The Equipment Ready

Before beginning the trimming process, you must make sure that the clipper you will be using is promised and ready to go.

Most importantly, you must check to see that the clipper has a complete charge.

The speed of a clipper will gradually decrease when the battery begins to run low. It begins to pull and drag, which results in an inconsistent cut and a less than pleasant experience when being groomed.

Also if the clippers battery has died mid-haircut, then you may be left with a very embarrassing trip for a few hours. This is less than ideal if you have places to be.

Additionally, hair can collect around the blades of the clipper. After each trimming, you will need to remove this hair, since it has the potential to clog and disrupt the blades’ normal operation if left there.

Also, you need to make sure that the blades have adequate lubrication. The majority of clippers do include some lubricating oil, which may be applied to the blades.

Because of the lubrication, your cuts will be more effective, and it will also guarantee that your equipment is maintained properly and will survive for a long time.

Before starting, you need to adjust the length setting on your clippers as necessary. Make sure the clipper guard for a Number 3 (10mm) clipper is properly attached and that it is tightly fixed on top of the blade.

In addition to your clipper, you should also ensure that you have your portable mirror close to hand for when it is time to do the back of your head.

As we said, this is not necessary, but it does help a lot when you get to this stage.

You will, however, be utilizing your regular bathroom mirror for the cutting of the top and sides of your head.

Finally, in order to make cleanup following a bit less of a hassle, be sure you spread some newspaper out on the ground so you can pick up all of the fallen hair in one go.

Make every effort to avoid getting clumps of hair in the sink as well as this can cause clogs and blockages.

Start Cutting

Start cutting with your clipper guard set to number 3, and go from there. It is up to you to decide where you want to begin.

The most natural way to cut your hair, and the way that people find easiest, is by working your way around your head. You should start with the top, then move on to the sides, and finish up with the back.

You are going to cut against the grain, which means you are going to cut in the opposite direction that the hair grows. This is the easiest approach to achieving a trim that is neat, short, and even all around.

Check where you are trimming your hair by feeling for the direction in which the hair is growing. It’s often not too difficult to figure out how to do the top and sides.

In most cases, the top will be trimmed in a backward direction, while the sides will be cut in an upward direction.

You should begin by trimming the top, taking your time, and making every effort to ensure that no patches or sections are left untrimmed.

Because there is typically less hair in these areas, the hair that surrounds the frontal hairline and the temples can be relatively simple to overlook. Repeat your steps in this region a few times to cut this spot evenly.

When you are trimming the sides, pull the ears backward and forward so that you may access the more difficult spots. In general, you shouldn’t run into too many problems while you’re here.

The rear of your head, on the other hand, is another story. In this location, getting an efficient trim might be challenging, mostly due to the fact that it is difficult to visualize what has to be done.

Therefore, while keeping the portable mirror in one hand, turn your body such that the back of your head is facing the mirror in the restroom.

Because the portable mirror is reflecting off of the mirror in the bathroom, you should be able to see the back of your head when you look in it.

It’s a relatively easy method once you get the hang of it, so keep moving around until you get it.

The majority of your cutting will be done moving upward along the back of the skull. However, because hair grows in such a variety of ways around the crown area, it can be difficult to style this region.

To successfully remove all of it, you should give it your all and attempt to get a feel for the general direction in which the hair grows.

Even The Cut

Look at your buzz cut from all different perspectives, including the front, the back, and the sides. Tilt your head forward and backward. Make use of the hand mirror for assistance.

By doing this, you should be able to identify and fix any areas and spots that you may have missed or not cut properly.

It is easy to forget some details, therefore it is important to go back and look at everything. Ensure that you do this in very good lighting conditions, as darkened rooms can hide a lot.

Repeat the trimming process with your clipper if you discover any places that are uneven. These are the little details that will make all the difference in your haircut.

Line Up The Neckline

At this stage, the neckline should have a somewhat unforced and natural appearance. While you don’t have to, not is the perfect time to either round or square off this area of your hair.

Using the unguarded blade of your clipper would allow you to do this task. However, if you are doing this by yourself, it may be challenging.

If you wanted to do this, then you may have to get the help of another person, as using the two mirror trick while also squaring off this section of your hair can be very difficult.

On the other hand, a significant number of men are content to maintain the natural appearance of their neckline.

Some people do like it to be lined up nicely, along with the removal of any underlying stubble or hair on the neck. It is entirely dependent on your own preferences.


After the last step, you are all done with cutting. Get in the shower, wash the extra hair away with some water, then pat your hair dry with a towel. And just like that, you should have done the perfect Number 3 trim!

The Number 3 Cut With A Fade

While the Number 3 buzz cut is relatively simple, it has the ability to look amazing and more elevated if it is styled with the appropriate fade.

A fade is a process through which the hair gradually becomes longer as it gets higher up the head. Fades are typically cut along the sides and back of the head.

When you are first starting out with cutting your own hair, it may be challenging to complete a fade cut successfully on your own.

It is to your best advantage to pay a few visits to your barber before getting your hair trimmed so that you may see how the pros do it. This will allow you to receive the greatest possible cut.

After that, you’ll be able to put your skills to the test with some do-it-yourself tasks.

The 3 may be styled with either a high or low fade, with the high fade terminating at the point where the sideburns begin (ending around the temple area).

Both of these styles will make a buzz cut seem more exciting, but a high fade is going to be the one that is going to be more obvious and bring more attention to itself.

Is A Number 3 Cut A Good Look For Receding Hairlines?

Without a doubt, the number 3 cut is one of the best haircuts a man with a balding or receding hairline can have.

One of the aspects that adds to the overall high quality and usefulness of this cut is the fact that the length of the hair on the person has been chopped to the same, uniformly short length.

When you do this, the top layer of your thin hair will give the appearance of being much thicker than it actually is.

By trimming the hair shorter and making it more uniform in length, the contrast between the forehead and the hair may be reduced.

If you are a man who is experiencing hair loss, you could find that getting a buzz cut is the solution to all of your issues. And not only is this haircut visually attractive but it is also straightforward regarding maintenance.

Buzz cuts for receding hairlines put the emphasis not on trying to cover up or comb over thinning hair, but rather on working with the hair that is there and learning to appreciate it for what it is.

Do Buzz Cuts Look Good With A Beard?

The collaboration of a Number 3 cut along with a beard has the potential to look really good on any man.

The reason for this is due to the fact that both of these characteristics (the cut and the beard) may be used to bring more harmony to the general form of the face.

Buzz cuts can have the disadvantage of limiting your capacity to style your hair and make other changes to the way it is structured, so be aware of this before getting one.

Because longer hair may be styled in such a way as to modify the general contour of the face, this is actually a very helpful thing for stylists to have at their disposal because it enables them to change the overall shape of the face.

Because it reveals the shape of your head and face, a buzz cut may not give you the look or impact that you had hoped for at all. This is where the beard steps in.

For instance, one can choose to cultivate a sharp beard in order to create the impression of a longer and more pronounced chin.

It is common practice to use beards in order to draw attention to facial characteristics that are deemed to be of “weaker” structural integrity.


You may have first thought that this versatile, comfortable, and effortlessly stylish hairstyle was going to be more rigid than it actually is, but you should now be able to appreciate how well this style is able to work for you.

The Number 3 has several advantages, including being very easy to wash and maintain, and is perfect for those suffering from receding hairlines.

For some added style and flair, you could ask your barber to add a fade to this cut. This is something that has pushed buzz cuts to a whole new level, making them much more stylish and interesting to look at.

If you want to try doing the Number 3 buzz cut on yourself, then then you should find it very simple to do, especially if you follow our guide above.

If you want a fade though, you should go to your barber as this can be very difficult to achieve yourself.

Joseph Pais