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What Is a Buzz Haircut?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

A buzz haircut, also known as a buzz cut, is a hairstyle in which hair is all but completely shaved off. Most buzz haircuts are performed with electric razors or clippers. The buzzing sound that these devices make as hair is shorn is what gives the cut its name. Buzz haircuts are predominantly associated with men, but are occasionally seen on women, as well.

In its most traditional form, a buzz haircut leaves but uniform stubble of hair across the entire skull. This variety of buzz haircut is typically associated with the military. Armed forces of countries all over the world typically require male recruits to buzz cut their hair. Women soldiers are usually required to wear their hair tied back when in service, but are usually exempt from the buzz haircut requirement.

Almost all of the hair is removed in a buzz haircut.
Almost all of the hair is removed in a buzz haircut.

Requiring a buzz cut for the majority of active duty troops carries several advantages. It reduces chance of lice and scalp infection, and also promotes quick preparation in the mornings. The traditional buzz haircut is almost entirely maintenance-free, as hair requires no combing or styling. It can also keep soldiers’ heads cool, particularly when wearing helmets in warm climates.

Almost all of a person's hair will be shaved off in a buzz cut.
Almost all of a person's hair will be shaved off in a buzz cut.

Convenience and temperature control are also assets for athletes. Many sportsmen choose buzz cuts to minimize the time they need to spend fixing their hair, as well as to help keep them cool on the field or fast in the water. Shorter hair often leads to better ease of moment and less distraction.

Buzz cuts have evolved beyond what was once a necessity to become a style choice. The haircuts come in a variety of forms beyond a uniform clipping. A buzz haircut can involve some longer hairs, for instance, particularly on the top of the head. These hairs can be styled, spiked, or smoothed. A buzz haircut can also preserve bangs, or sideburns.

The gist of what makes a buzz haircut is the use of the electric razor to keep hair clipped short. Hair can typically be left longer than stubble, but still qualify as a buzz haircut. Any hair length from an ⅛ inch (about 3 millimeters) to a full ½ inch (about 12 millimeters) generally qualifies as a buzz haircut, so long as it covers the majority of the head.

Men are usually the main wearers of the buzz cut, but women may also be seen sporting the style. Buzz cuts are more prevalent in some ethnic cultures than others, but are routinely worn by people of all backgrounds, in all countries of the world. Celebrities who have buzz cuts often spawn trends among fan groups, and friends and family of chemotherapy patients will sometimes elect buzz haircuts as a sign of solidarity.

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Discussion Comments


@ZipLine-- A well done buzz cut looks good but unfortunately, they're not all well done. Sometimes, people leave a lot of hair on top of their head and the rest of their head is a close shave. That does not look good. A well done buzz cut involves hair that is the same length, short but not bald across the scalp. Or it involves a gradual fade from the top of hair to the neckline, but so gradual that the length differences are not noticeable. This is really not something that most men can pull off at home with a razor. It's important to have an experienced hair stylist do this type of haircut for the best results.


My friend's daughter is receiving chemotherapy, she is only nine. To make her feel better, her sister, who is eight, decided she wants a buzz haircut. Her parents told her that she doesn't have to but she insisted. It was definitely a great gesture and I know that the little girl receiving treatment felt much better when she saw her sister. She didn't feel different anymore.


I used to think of buzz haircuts as something that no one would prefer. In fact, I think many servicemen would prefer to have longer hair. So I've always thought of buzz haircuts as a hair style that one would adopt only when required. But now it has become a very popular hair style.

As the article said, quite a few celebrities sport this hair style now and it looks very good in my opinion. I think a buzz haircut makes men handsome because the attention goes to their facial features rather than their hair. And it must be great to just shower and go in the morning, no brushing or styling required.

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    • Almost all of the hair is removed in a buzz haircut.
      By: David Stuart
      Almost all of the hair is removed in a buzz haircut.
    • Almost all of a person's hair will be shaved off in a buzz cut.
      By: soleilc1
      Almost all of a person's hair will be shaved off in a buzz cut.