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To zero gap or not to zero gap is a question that has troubled many barbers and grooming enthusiasts around the globe.
If you are one of those troubled men or women, you have landed at the right place. Keep reading because, in this article, we are going to talk about everything zero gapping. We will explain what zero gapping is, what are the pros and cons of zero gapping and show you how to do it properly. So grab a coffee (or a glass of wine) and keep reading.
What is Zero Gapping?
Zero gapping is a technique professionals use to make their hair clippers cut closer. When using a clipper without a guard, the hair length will be the same as the distance between the teeth of the two blades. When you zero-gap the blades of a hair trimmer, you are moving the back clipper blade teeth to the same level as the front blade teeth (zeroing the gap) to achieve closer cuts and cleaner lines.
Why Is Zero Gapping Important?
Zero gapping is important because it will provide a precise cut that will look both professional and clean. Additionally, it ensures that all hairs are trimmed evenly, leaving your client with an even and symmetrical look.
Finally, clients who prefer super-short cuts will appreciate the close shave provided by a zero-gapped trimmer as opposed to a regular hair trimmer, which will leave an unsightly stubble.
Benefits of Zero Gapping
1. Incredibly Close Cut
The most apparent benefit of zero-gapping your hair clippers is that it gives an incredibly close cut.
For example, if you want to do a fade, it is very important to use a zero-gapped clipper since you need to get very close to the skin to create clean lines and sharp edges. But it is not only about fades; guys with balding heads that want to achieve the closest cut possible will also appreciate the closeness a zero-gapped clipper will give them. If you want to learn what makes a good balding clipper read this article.
2. Smoother Finish
Zero-gapped hair clippers also help create a smoother finish because they don’t leave behind any rough patches non-zero-gapped blades can.
You can ask any serious stylist who has been behind the chair for a while about the benefits of zero-gapping their hair clippers. The answer will be pretty much the same! Zero gapping ensures their work remains consistent, professional, and perfect to the smallest detail. So, if you’re looking to give a professional-grade cut every time, zero-gapping your hair clippers is the way to go!
3. Increases efficiency
Lastly, with zero gapping, you can streamline processes like fading and get efficiency out of every minute. When you have to do a dozen fades and another dozen of highly detailed haircuts, having the right tools that will allow you to get a precise and close result without having to run the hair trimmer over again and again will save you a lot of time and help you become more efficient.
Related Article: What are the different types of hair clippers?
Drawbacks of Zero Gapping
Despite its advantages, zero gapping should be approached with caution cause, if done incorrectly; it can lead to undesired results. If you don’t know what you are doing, you not only risk damaging your hair clippers but also hurting your client. This is why we strongly advise taking your hair trimmer to a professional if you are not sure how to do it.
1. Permanent Damage
When messing around with your clippers, it’s important to remember the golden rule: not too tight. If you tighten your clippers too much, you risk damaging them permanently by putting too much pressure on their internal components. Another side effect of tightening the blades too much is the creation of friction between them and, as a result, permanent damage.
2. Cause Nicks
If you put the blade’s teeth very close to each other, you can easily cut the person getting their haircut. Make sure to leave a small gap (about 0,2 mm), so you and your client have a pleasant experience every time! Trying to rush through the process is not worth any time saved if it results in unhappy (and injured) clients.
3. Harder to Clean
Finally, over-tightening your clippers can make them harder to clean since the dirt particles will get stuck in the tiny gap between blades instead of flushing away like they usually would when adequately gapped.
How To Zero Gap Your Clipper (For Beginners)
Zero gapping isn’t rocket science, but knowing what to do and having the right tools for the job are essential. Now that you got the knowledge by reading our article so far, the only missing part of the puzzle is gathering the right tools for the job, so let’s see what you will need.
- Your clippers
- A screwdriver
- Some clipper oil or a clipper oil alternative
- Some paper towels
Once you have gathered these, follow the steps below:
Step 1: (Optional): Use the screwdriver and unscrew the blade screws. Take off the blades and clean them to remove all the dirt and hair that has accumulated over time.
Step 2: If you haven’t removed the blades, use the screwdriver and loosen the screws a bit. If you have removed and cleaned them, screw them back, but don’t tighten them too much; leave them loose so you can move the cutting blade.
Step 3: Move the back (moving) blade and align its teeth with the static blade’s teeth. Then tighten the screws.
Step 4: Oil the blades’ teeth and turn the clipper on for a few minutes. This will help distribute the oil to the blades and keep them well-lubricated. Read this article to learn more about how to oil your hair clippers.
Here is a video if you are more of a visual guy:
Zero gapping is easy once you know how but you should do it if you want great results from your clippers every time! Whether you’re cutting at home or in the salon, zero gapping will give you cleaner lines, sharper edges, and smoother finishes—all while extending the life of your blades! So remember: when it comes to haircuts, always ensure that “zero gap” is part of your vocabulary!