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You’re probably never going to be a creative genius to rival Vidal Sassoon, Nicky Clarke or George Northwood, but if you’ve got a relatively simple short style that you want to keep looking tidy, learning how to use a set of clippers will stand you in good stead. Here’s what you need to know…

Styling guards or combs are the attachments that sit on the end of your clippers and are what dictate the length of your hair. They are measured in millimeters, with the number indicating the length of the hair left behind when you use that attachment. While many clippers come with a set of combs, you can often buy longer ones if you want to keep a slightly longer hairstyle tidy.

Limural

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Clippers are usually cordless, powered by a rechargeable battery that can give you from an hour’s use right up to five hours’, depending on the size. Some will come with their own plug (often a two-pin bathroom plug), while others use a USB charging cable. Unless you want to travel without a charger or use the clippers every day, battery life probably won’t worry you too much—although models that have an indicator of remaining battery capacity are helpful.

Philips

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One notable feature to look for in a pair of clippers is if it’s waterproof. Waterproof models are easy to clean, as you can just rinse them by turning on your sink. If your clippers aren’t waterproof (or if you want to deep clean them), look for models that comes with a brush to clean the blades. And make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding oiling to blades to keep your clippers trimming well, rather than pulling hair out painfully.