Home » 1 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

1 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

We guys get haircuts more often than women do, so it makes sense to know a little more about the phrases our barbers use.

That’s why it’s time to discuss yet another type of “on the sides” hairstyle the 1 on the sides haircut. It’s a very popular hairstyle that is also very easy to achieve.

Keep reading to find out what the number 1 signifies and what your options are if you want to get a 1 on the sides haircut. You will also learn how to make it at home or how to best explain to your barber what you want so that you can leave the chair completely happy. 

So, let’s dive in!

What Is A 1 On the Sides Haircut?

what is a number one haircut
Source: @carlym_barber via Instagram

Even though the world of barbers is a “man’s world,” and everything should be simple by default, the truth is far from it.

There is a lot of jargon barbers use to explain different hairstyles, and it’s not always easy for a customer to understand what they mean or explain to them what they want using professional wording. Unless, of course, you regularly read our articles, in which case you are pretty much up to date ;).

Anyway, let’s start by explaining what the number 1 means when it comes to the 1 on the sides haircut.

The number in this hairstyle signifies the hair clipper guard number the barber will use when giving you this haircut. In this case, it is the number 1 guard, which will leave you with about 1/8 of an inch (3 millimeters) in hair length. 

It seems like the machine doesn’t leave much behind, does it? That’s why we would never suggest someone who doesn’t want to show off their scalp get this hairstyle. 

But there are also good things about the 1 on the sides haircut. The biggest pro of this hairstyle is that the length difference between the side and top hair makes the face look slimmer and the jawline stand out. 

Related Article: 5 On The Sides Haircut: Styles, Length, and More [With Photos]

What Does The 1 On The Sides Haircut Look Like?

1 on the sides haircut how it looks like
Source: @barber_060 via Instagram

To understand what the 1 on the sides haircut looks like, imagine a man’s head. 

Now imagine it with the sides, behind the ears, and in the back with the hair so short that it is almost completely showing the skin. This would be a 1 on the sides haircut (as shown in the photo above).

As for the rest of the hairstyle, you can choose pretty much anything you want. 

From hair long enough to tie a knot, to curls and a mohawk lying on top, to a slightly simpler option of having the rest cut with clipper guard 2, 3, or 4. There is a lot of room to play, so we decided to show you some options to think about.

Related Article: 3 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

Top 1 On The Sides Haircut Styles

You will understand this type of hairstyle best if you see examples. 

That’s why we chose the 6 most popular 1 on the sides haircuts, and we are sure you’ll have a much better picture after that.

1 On The Sides And Short Side Sweep

1 on the sides haircut side sweep

This classic style is a safe bet that won’t let you down. 

This haircut is all about making a gentle scissor cut on top and leaving some length on the fringe so that it can be easily swept to one side while the back and sides are trimmed with the number 1 guard.

Keep in mind that daily styling with clay or wax of your choice is a must with this one and that that can take up some of your time.

1 On The Sides And Buzz Cut With Texture

1 On The Sides And Buzz Cut With Texture
Source: @roohit6110 via Instagram

This haircut is a fresh take on the classic buzz cut. 

The barber (or you) should cut the hair on the back and sides very short (using a number 1 clipper guard) while keeping the top a bit longer (using a number 3 or 4 guard). As a result, the top will have a little more texture (when worn dry, as in the photo). 

To add even more texture or tone, feel free to use the gel or pomade of your choice.

1 On The Sides And Slick Back Long Top

1 On The Sides And Slick Back Long Top
Source: @cj_manj via Instagram

If you fancy this haircut, you should keep 2 to 4 inches of length to the top for a side part and slick back combover. 

Next: Taper fade the sides and back with clipper guards starting with the number 1 guard and ending with the number 3 guard.

Not so complicated, right?

1 On The Sides And Long Top Crew Cut

1 On The Sides And Long Top Crew Cut

A basic crew cut is all you need if you enjoy appearing fashionable but also like to keep things simple.

A quick trip to the barbershop every few weeks is all that’s needed to keep the top and sides trimmed.

1 On The Sides And High and Tight Recon

1 On The Sides And High and Tight Recon

Consider this haircut as well if you like to show your boldness. 

To achieve it, you (or the barber) should trim the entire head using guard number 1 (except for a strip of hair in the middle of the head). 

The strip is then trimmed using a number 2 or 3 clipper guard.

Related Article: High and Tight Haircut vs. Undercut: All The Differences & Similarities

1 On The Sides, Undercut And Slicked Back 

1 On The Sides, Undercut And Slicked Back 
Source: @blackfishbry Instagram

Definitely a haircut that gives off a retro/classy vibe. If it’s your cup of tea, go for it!

This hairstyle needs cutting on the sides with hair clippers guard number 1, then making an undercut and slicking back the top.

Pro Tip: Maybe it’s best to have a hairdresser do something like this on your head. It’s a slightly complicated hairstyle.

Related Article: 7 Best 2 On The Sides Haircuts [With Photos]

How To Do A 1 On The Sides Haircut At Home

Do you want to try it yourself?

Brace yourself! Just kidding. It’s not nuclear science.

Keep in mind the following tips, and your one on the sides haircut will look as desired:

  • Be sure you want the chosen hairstyle. This is the most important part because you will have to live with it for a while.
  • Prepare the hair clipper. If you are new to this, it would be good to learn what are the different types of hair clippers. That way, you will be able to choose the most suitable one for you.
  • Sharp blades are a must. This is essential so you can make smooth and precise movements and properly cut the hair. If you don’t know how to do it, you can learn how to sharpen hair clippers in 8 simple steps.
  • Dry hair – safe head. Don’t even think about trimming your wet hair with clippers. It’s a big no-no (for safety reasons). You can read more about it here
  • Good lighting and mirrors. The best place to cut your hair is the bathroom. Get some extra lighting if you need it, stand in front of the mirror (keep another one near) and make sure there’s nothing but tiles around you. That way, you will have less work to do later (when cleaning your mes…).
  • Take your time. Don’t expect to do this as fast as a pro. The first couple of times, you certainly won’t. Cut one side at a time and trim from the bottom of the sides to the top. 

Related Article: 4 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

How To Ask Your Barber For A 1 On The Sides Haircut

If you still don’t trust yourself enough and don’t want to try things out at home, you should find a good barbershop.

A skilled hairdresser and a clear description of the look you want are a winning combination.

Here’s what’s important when it comes to going to a barber and asking for 1 on the sides haircut:

  • Be detailed and clear. In order to explain precisely what you want, you must first know what you want yourself. Make up your mind before going to the salon and explain what you want in great detail, from the length on top to the type of fade or taper.
  • Don’t be shy. Sometimes we avoid saying exactly what we want or feel bad when we have to refuse the barber’s suggestions. Remember: listen to the suggestions, but you’re the one to make the final decision.
  • Bring a haircut photo. Because hairdressing language is confusing, always provide a photo. Just to make sure you’re on the same page.

All in all, the most important thing is to find a proven good barber, to have good and clear communication, as well as to have enough trust in him. 

At the end of the day, the easiest thing to do is to show a picture of the hairstyle and explain it in terms you’ve learned here.


Now that you’ve learned all there is to know about 1 on the sides haircut, it’s time to decide which of the many options will suit you best.

Think about whether you want to try experimenting at home or you want to leave yourself to the skillful hands of a barber.

 It’s up to you to decide what will adorn your head.

We hope you found the information you needed in this article and enjoyed reading it. If you have any questions about 1 on the sides haircut or need help choosing from the many options, leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you soon.

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