How to know your number for a machine haircut in a foreign country?

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Getting a machine haircut in a foreign place can be frightening, let alone in a foreign country. There’s always constant paranoia that the barber might mess something up and you will have to look the way you don’t want to look for a month now.

However, the skepticism doubles up when you are traveling to a foreign country. If you are an American citizen or someone living in America for a while now, you already know that they have fixed clipper numbers and sizes (haircut numbers) to provide the most accurate cuts as per your preference.

To say that every other country, such as the U.K., Canada, Morocco, Germany, etc., has a fixed haircut number would not be inaccurate. The only point of difference is that these haircut numbers may vary from country to country.

This is where the confusion begins. How do you know the haircut number for a machine haircut in a foreign country?

In the specifics of this article, we shall discuss how you can understand your haircut number for a machine haircut in a foreign country and more.

How to know your number for a machine haircut in a foreign country?

To be honest, there is no straight answer to this question. Different countries have different haircut numbers for a machine haircut. The haircut number depends on two things, however, the blade and the length of the blade.

Very often, many countries use the following system to allocate haircut numbers using machine clippers:

Each number is a multiple of 3, added by 3 as the haircut number increases. For example, if a haircut number is 1, the cut length is 3mm or ⅛ inches.

Similarly, here is the cut length in correspondence to the haircut number:

  • Number 2: 6 mm – 2/8″ (1/4″).
  • Number 3: 9 mm – 3/8″.
  • Number 4: 12 mm – 4/8″ (1/2″).
  • Number 5: 15 mm – 5/8″.
  • Number 6: 18 mm – 6/8″ (3/4″).
  • Number 7: 21 mm – 7/8″.

The same system is used in Italy and Spain as well.

Another metric used for determining the haircut number (although it is not very dependable) is to understand which system for measurement the country uses.

If the country uses the metric system, your haircut number should be 3mm per grade. If the country uses an imperial system, your haircut number should be ⅛” per grade.

This is one of the most generic ways of determining the haircut number. It makes sense since it is possible that most barbers or hair salons in a country will use measurements in accordance with the day-to-day measurement systems they use.

What is Metric Measurement and Which Countries Use It?

In principle, this system is much easier to describe. All of the concepts centers on a common base for a certain form of measurement. As a result, meters are a universal unit of measurement for length. Liters and grams are the units of measurement for liquid volume, respectively.

It is just the prefix or the term preceding that base, which explains how big or tiny something is, that varies on the metric system. As an illustration, consider the unit of length, the meter. You get a nanometer if you prefix it with “nano.” In this context, “nano” refers to the one-millionth fraction of a millimeter. Another prefix like “kilo” gives us “kilometer,” which is precisely 1000 meters.

What is Imperial Measurement and Which Countries Use It?

Weights and measurements are expressed using a set of standards in this system. Multiple descriptive categories are available in the metric system when expressing volume, mass, and area measurements. It is possible to measure an area in square feet, meters, perches, roosts, or acres. The metric system uses units of ounces, pints, and gallons to express the volume of an object being measured. The ounce, the pound, and the ton are the most commonly used mass units.

United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries utilize the imperial system of measurement. The inch and the mile are two of the most commonly used units. The metric system has mostly taken its place.

Imperial units of measurement are relics of a bygone era. These units of measurement are still widely employed in the UK for non-mathematical purposes such as gauging height, weight, and distance.

Only the United States, Myanmar, and Liberia are still officially operating under the imperial system, which may come as a shock to some. When it comes to countries like Myanmar and Liberia, metric systems have been used in tandem with the imperial system, and both countries are moving toward utilizing only one system, the metric one.

As a result, the United States is the only major country that plans to stick with the imperial system of measurement in the future. Weights and measurements were supposed to be expressed using the metric system until 1975, however, this never happened. There was never a formal ban on the imperial system, thus it is still a system that the United States employs.

It’s interesting to note that, given the imperial system’s long history in the United Kingdom, one might expect it to be the country’s favorite system. The UK, on the other hand, falls somewhat in the middle between the two. It’s not illegal to indicate distance and speed in miles/hour in the United States, although the metric system is the official standard there. Volume is also expressed in terms of pounds, gallons, and pints, amongst other units.

What Can You Do When You Are Unable To Determine The Haircut Number In A Foreign Country?

It is obvious that you would not want to just give any haircut number a try based on some wild hunch, that too, in a foreign country. Although there is no straightforward solution to the question, a number of travelers reported that the ideal way to go about this is to show the barber a clear picture of the haircut you want.

The picture should clearly depict the haircut length so that the barber uses the most accurate clipper size to achieve that cut.

Although this solution is not the most dependable one, it is possibly the only resort you have when you are unsure about what haircut number you should be going for in a foreign country.

Haircut Numbers And Clipper Sizes In The U.S.

The number of clipper sizes available increases in direct proportion to the length of the haircut. When you want a number 1 haircut, the barber will trim your hair to an eighth of an inch in length, which is a very short length. For your convenience, we have translated the clipper sizes into a hair length chart that men may use to guide them through the process of selecting a haircut when they are in the market.

  • Haircut #1: Clipper Length – 1/8 in.
  • Haircut #2: Clipper Length – 1/4 in.
  • Haircut #3: Clipper Length – 3/8 in.
  • Haircut #4: Clipper Length – 1/2 in.
  • Haircut #5: Clipper Length – 5/8 in.
  • Haircut #6: Clipper Length – 3/4 in.
  • Haircut #7: Clipper Length – 7/8 in.
  • Haircut #8: Clipper Length – 1 in.

Knowing The Terms Commonly Associated With Haircut and Haircut Numbers

In order to have a highly trendy haircut, you must first learn how to ask for it properly. The following are some popular haircut terminology that your barber may use with you:

Taper vs Fade

The majority of people confuse these two names, yet the two cuts are distinct from one another. A fade haircut fades down to the skin’s surface, however, a taper haircut does not end up being as short. The taper leaves a small amount of hair on the head and does not reveal the scalp.

Crew cut

Having a crew cut is universally flattering since it has a short back and sides and a little of length on the top. For people who don’t have much time to devote to their hair but still want a fringe to style or a bit of weight on top, this is a wonderful option.

French crop

The French crop is quite similar to the crew cut, however, it has a more defined fringe than the crew cut. This haircut is ideal for men who have thick or high-maintenance hair because it is quite simple to style.


In this case, the phrase means exactly what it says on the label. The neckline of your haircut is critical to the entire appearance of your hairdo, although it is frequently disregarded. Generally speaking, there are three main neckline options: blocked or square; rounded; tapered, and faded. Men typically choose rounded or tapered ends for a more gentle transition.

Faded cuts

Not all faded cuts are created equal; when it comes to this style, it all comes down to personal preference. For example, a low fade begins just above the ear, whereas high fades provide far more contrast, beginning towards the top of the head and fading downwards. (See illustration.) The mid fade strikes a compromise between the two and is the most versatile of the looks, so it can be worn with virtually any style. Hair fades that reveal the scalp, on the other hand, provide a considerably stronger contrast.

4 Best Hair Clippers for Home Use (Based on US Haircut Numbers)

1.   Wahl Elite Pro High Performance Hair Clipper Kit

For regular haircuts at home, Wahl Elite Pro High-Performance Hair Clipper Kit would be the top choice. While the plastic combs don’t bend when pressed on a scalp, they are incredibly hard and sleek. The metal retention clip on the rear of the combs ensures that they stay seated and straight on the blade better than any other set we tried.

They stay in place. As an added bonus, this clipper set includes new combs of equivalent quality that cost less than half of what a competitor’s combs cost. As a result of our testing, we found that the side-mounted taper lever on the clipper did not slam shut due to vibration. The Wahl Elite Pro’s strong, 8-foot power cord is another plus. In addition to the shears, this model comes with a hard-plastic carry case.

2.   Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper

To maintain buzz cuts and fades, the Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper is an excellent mid-priced professional option. Many barbershops still use it now because it’s built to last for years on end. Those of us who have had our hair cut by a clipper know exactly what kind of sound it makes. Despite its high output and silent operation, the Fast Feed clipper’s motor can run all day without overheating (which is not true of our other picks). Additionally, the razors in this device are sharp and may be simply replaced if necessary..

There are just four guide combs in this model, compared to the eight in our other recommendations.) The housing of the Fast Feed is made of strong plastic, making it lightweight but durable, and the taper lever on the side may be adjusted easily with the thumb. If you have a household full of individuals who want haircuts on a regular basis, a clipper like this can be a good purchase.

3.   Remington Virtually Indestructible Haircut

The simple-to-use one Remington’s Virtually Indestructible Haircut and Beard Trimmer is great for those who prefer to cut their own hair. The palm-sized design, rubberized grips on the sides, and low weight make this a great choice. The result is a model that is simpler to move and hold in a loose grip, even with the fingertips (as is frequently required while trimming your own hair).

The clipper comes with eight high-quality, solid plastic guide combs that fit snugly (despite the fact that they have fewer tips and a slightly sharper sensation). With an 8-foot long cable and a powerful but quiet motor, this model is ideal for cutting children’s hair.

4.   Wahl Color Pro Plus Haircutting Kit

The Elite Pro’s guide combs are more robust than those of the regular model. If you prefer the stiffer, metal-plated, black plastic combs on the Elite Pro over the all-plastic, color-coded guide combs on the Color Pro Plus, that is a personal choice. Compared to the Color Pro, the Color Pro Plus has a more whimsical appearance and a distinct grip style.

However, it’s just as useful. The Color Pro Plus is more frequently out of stock and has had larger price swings in the past than the Elite Pro. At the time of this writing, the Color Pro Plus is back in stock, and it costs around half as much as the Elite Pro set.

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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