With so many hair options that mix different lengths, styles, and patterns, where do you start to get an idea of what style could work for you?
You might be looking for a simple haircut that doesn’t require much effort to look good and isn’t too long or short.
Well, the number 5 haircut is a great option and, surprisingly, has some options if you decide you want something modern looking, like a fade, for instance.
In this guide, we show you what the haircut looks like, the options you have when adding some flair to that cut, and some tips on how to achieve this hairstyle for yourself, so your cut will be the centerpiece of your style.
We’ve also answered some questions you may have about the style in general, so read on to find out more.
What Does A Number 5 Haircut Look like?
Below is a good example of what look you’d get if you were to request it at a barber.
Notice how this look is very minimalist and subtle if you’re not sure what cut works for you and has potential, as the sides can be kept longer or made shorter into a fade if you want something that looks contemporary.
Some might assume that this style is a buzz cut, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but it doesn’t appear to be one on initial appearances, as it requires a combination of the number 5 guard and some trimming with scissors on top instead of an all-round cut.
This haircut is five-eighth of an inch long, and although it has some similarities with a number 3 or 4 haircut.
So you’re looking at a difference within the inch as the number 3 is three-eighths in length and is considered the longes fade haircut that barbers use.
Then you have the number 4 haircut, which is one-half of an inch long, so you’re going to see some noticeable differences between the numbers.
What Can I Do With A Number 5 Haircut?
This style might have simplicity in its look and suits those looking for a professional look or who want to define their facial features better.
This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with different variations of this haircut, so we’ve provided some styles you could try and experiment with that best fit your needs and personality.
The image below is a good example of how this fade looks, as you can see that the transition starts near the level of the temple.
This fade can draw attention to the top of your head in a subtle yet effective way and can make facial features like your jawline and complexion more defined.
However, if you have a beard, you may not want to make the fade too drastic otherwise, the length of the fade into the sideburns might look different and may be a bit awkward looking.
With this fade, you can see a gradual change in length and even extend to the back of the head if you want that look. Below is an example of what this fade looks like.
You can see here that the facial hair has a great platform to stand out, adding a layer of subtlety yet having a casual and contemporary look.
If you’re looking for something more professional, you might want to either lower the transition of the fade or taper the back of your hair so that there is that definition to the base of the hairline.
You might have to cut the sides and back with a 4, for example, then see where you can implement the fade and go a lower number if you think it would suit you.
This fade has subtlety from the tip all the way to the baseline of the hair.
Below is an example of what you could achieve with this type of style.
You’ll notice here that this fade isn’t that noticeable as the transition normally begins around the ear and tapers off into the sides and the back of the neck discreetly.
This might offer you much to experiment with, but you could grow out the top and style it in a way that dares attention to it and can be versatile if you’re looking for a professional look but would like some freedom in style when you’re out and about and want to make a casual impression.
You want to be aware, though, that with any number 5 hairstyle, the top is cut to match the shortness of the sides in a way, so you might not get that much length to experiment with, so you could discuss with your barber what you might want to do with it.
If you’re not happy with the length, this style has the benefit that the hair should grow back without any disproportion.
How To Cut Your Own Number 5 Haircut
If you want a number 5 style and want to take the do-it-yourself approach and trust your judgment, then it’s very possible that you can achieve this result from the comfort of your home.
Below we have provided some tips and a step-by-step process you can follow to get a quality cut that doesn’t compromise your look or pride so you can go about your day with confidence.
Use The Right Clippers
First off, you want to ensure that you have the right gear. You want to look through the contents of the accessories that accompany your clipper and put aside the number 5 and possibly the number 3 and 4 guards.
Be aware that some standard clippers may not come with the number 5 guard, so you may have to invest in a barbers quality clippers, like Wahl clippers, and if not, you may have to buy the guard separately.
Tidy And Prepare Your Hair
A good tip is to brush and naturally part your hair, so you want it to look this way after the haircut, and it can be easier to cut, especially if your hair is wet.
If you have long hair, then you want to part it and possibly tie it back, ensuring there aren’t any bumps if you decide to tie it.
It would be a good step here not to have any product in your hair, as it might make it more difficult to determine how much you need to take off in some parts of your hair.
Use The Clippers To Blend The Cut
You want to ensure that your clippers are set to the closed position, as this makes it easier to make any corrections and doesn’t take too much off initially.
If you’re a bit anxious about taking too much off, you can go up or down a guard size to see how it looks, as you can now cut towards the top of your head to blend the shortest parts into the long, so it has that natural look.
Blend Any hard To Reach Areas
Now you’ve done the sides, you want to make sure you’re blending those tough-to-reach spots around or behind the ears, as this step will mark the foundation of your cut, so take your time and get help with those tough spots if you have to.
You want to make cuts so that the higher you go up to your head, the further away you want to keep the clippers from the longer parts.
This is useful to mark the area you’ve done and makes for a good fade look, and once you’re happy with both sides, you can turn your attention to the back.
Cut And Blend The Back
This is probably the hardest step in this guide because it’s not easy to maneuver your head to get a good look in the mirror and make it look even.
For this, you want to face away from the big mirror you’re using and use a handheld or compact mirror pointing towards the big mirror, adjusting the angle as you do so.
You might also want to take your time here and cut it in the same way as you would for the sides, moving the clippers, so they move further from your head as you reach the top.
If you are worried you’ll miss a spot, it’s always a good idea to ask someone to touch up or check any areas you may have missed.
Taper Or Fade The Sides And Back
If you find that the sides a still a bit too long for your tastes, you can go back with a number 4 guard and cut just before the partition that marks the top of your head, and then you can go for a number 3 and cut below where you’ve touched up with the number 4 to get a good fade if you want this result.
You can generally use your ears as a good mark for where the number 3 can start, and you can work your way down from here, just make sure that you don’t go too far up otherwise, you’re undoing what you have done with the number 4 guard.
When tidying up the back, you can use the sides as a good indication of where to start at the number 4 and gradually get to the 3, which might take some time, and you want to make sure that you don’t go over the point you’ve cut with the 4 as you’ll have to go down another size to get that tapered look.
Now you can take off the guard and trim near the bottom, so it transitions nicely down to your neck and any loose and curly bits of hair are removed.
Cut The Top Of Your Hair
Now you can focus on the top of your hair, which the length can be down to preference, but if you’re going for a number 5 haircut, you can take off anywhere between half an inch to a full inch if you want a fuss-free style.
You want to take the long bits of hair and run them through your fingers, and you can normally tell when it’s too long as the ends begin to curl.
Now you want to brush your hair to see if there are any long points that you want to trim down, and this step is more to do with preference and intuition, so if you’re not sure, take half an inch to begin with, and move up if you feel the need to.
Cut Any Stray Hairs
Now you want to go in areas like around the ears and the tapering around the back to ensure the edges of your hair are straight and have that seamless look about the transition.
You can also trim around the sideburn area if you have a beard to complete the fade look.
And that’s it, you have your own number 5 haircut, but that’s not all.
When you cut the top, you can leave it longer if you want some options in regards to styling it, but if you want a simple cut that doesn’t require much maintenance, you can go as shorter as you see fit.
It might not look perfect on the first try, but when you go to cut it again, you can see what you might want to do differently and go from there.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I Don’t Have Much Hair, Can I Still Have The Number 5?
Suppose you have thinning hair or a receding hairline.
In that case, this style could also work for you, as the cut normally leaves enough hair at the front to cover your temples and can be styled with product to move some of the hair to the front and give it more of a fullness that you might not get if you just brushed your hair normally.
Be aware, though, that you don’t want to go too short as you don’t want the scalp to show any vulnerabilities with the thickness of your hair if you struggle with this or are starting to bald in some areas.
What Number Fade Should I Get?
If you’re at the barber’s, they will be able to give you an idea of what each different style of fade looks like, so if you’re going for a number 5 haircut, you might be advised to use the 3 and 4 guards if you want to keep the hair longer.
It’s also a good idea to tell your barber how you’d like to style your hair and how much maintenance you’re willing to do for it, and they will normally be able to take this into account when talking about length or style.
How Do I Know If This Haircut Suits Me?
You can generally determine if a style will suit you by looking at the shoe of your face.
Suppose you have a round or oval-shaped face.
In that case, most hairstyles will work for you except for certain styles that involve layers and make your head seem taller, which mixes up the proportions of your face shape.
You don’t want to look awkward, considering that your face or head is one of the first things that people look to when gauging what sort of impression you give.
So whether you’re dressing up or down, you don’t want your hairstyle to disorientate your look.
If you have a beard as well, that can be a bonus as the number 5 haircut can seamlessly fade into your facial hair, making your look appear sharper and cleaner, and with an assortment of fades you could try, you can further enhance this look.
It can also add structure to your face, where your face shape can’t, by making it look fuller, which can compensate for the lack of height you have if you go for the number 5 haircut.
Why Are My Clippers Leaving Lines?
You might encounter this problem if you decide to cut your hair yourself, which is caused by not moving the cutter on the clipper enough from side to side when using the guard.
This problem can occur with the numbers 3,4, and 5 blades where the teeth are placed further apart.
To circumvent this problem, first, you want to ensure that your clippers hold the blade in place and that there isn’t any rattling.
You also want to remove any loose or clumps of hair that might be stuck between the guard and the clipper if you find you’re not getting the cut you want.
Lastly, you want to ensure that you are cutting in the same direction so the spread of your cut will look consistent, and you aren’t applying too much pressure to certain spots and barely covering others.
If you’re in doubt, stop, and look closely in a mirror to identify the areas that need attention.
The Bottom Line
So now you have an idea about this classic look, whether you cut it yourself or get that professional touch, it doesn’t end there.
You can discuss with your barber or look for inspiration if you want a number 5 haircut that reflects your personality and style, so you don’t have to compromise on looking too simple.
If you don’t like the level of fade, you can just go up or down in length the next time, but you don’t want to go too close to a skin fade as a standard number 5 style tends to be short anyway and can definitely be considered a buzz cut in this instance.
Now you have the look you’re going for, you can go about your day and have heads turning wherever you go, so have fun with it, and maybe even go for a bold look if you’re feeling up to it.
Thank you for reading.