Understanding the Machine: Clippers…. Motorized? Magnetic?

clippersA clipper to some stylists is a very frightening tool; but the clipper is the tool to achieve very short cuts where the fingers cannot hold the hair.  There two different types of clippers: motor driven clippers, which has detachable blades and magnetic/vibration driven clippers, which has attachments.

The majority of Cosmetologists use the Magnetic/Vibration Driven.  Some may go the extra mile and purchase a Motor Driven clipper, but most likely, they are using attachments and not cutting freehand. During my 20 years as a stylist, I have been trained using both clippers. Although I was trained in Cosmetology, I have always favored short hair. Some say it’s easier. I disagree. It is just the opposite. Short hair is a sculpture, a piece of Art.  The hair is your medium and the tool I am going to explain which helps achieve this is the clipper.

Motor Driven Clippers

This clipper has a strong engine going on underneath where your hand is holding. The power of this clipper and having the blade rotate back and forth gives it a softer blending of the edge.  You can use this on wet or dry hair.  With the motor being so powerful it cuts through wet hair with total ease. This machine has detachable blades ranging from 00000 – 1/125″, 0000 – 1/100″, 000 – 1/50″, 0A – 3/64″, 1 – 3/32″, 1A – 1/8″, 1.5 – 5/32″, 2 – 1/4″, 3.5 – 3/8″, 3.75 – ½. Even though it has detachable blades, this machine works its beauty in freehand cutting (Clipper over Comb). The most popular rotary clipper is the Oster 76. The average cost of this type of clipper ranges from $150 – $400. Each detachable blade averages $25-35 for each one. When you purchase the rotary clipper, most likely it will come with a 000 & 1 Blades. You will need to purchase the rest of the detachable blades.

Magnetic/Vibrator Clippers

This clipper is not as “powerful” as the rotary motors, but the professional clippers are “powerful” enough for daily cutting. The magnetic clipper, which comes very close to the motor driven, is the Senior by Wahl.  With the blade vibrating, it has a blunter edge than the motor driven…clipper over comb is not recommended. In reality, the attachment is the comb…. the sizes are 1/2 – 1/16″, 1 – 1/8″, 1 – 1/2 – 3/16″, 2 – 1/4″3 – 3/8″, 4 – 1/2″, 5 – 5/8″, 6 – 3/4″, 7 – 7/8″, 8 – 1″.  The magnetic clippers follow head shape. The average cost of magnetic clippers ranges from $30 to $125.  The attachments come with the clippers. When I began cutting hair in the early 90s, clipper attachments only went to 4, but as you see they go to 10. If you lose an attachment you can always go to your local distributor store and buy a la carte attachments.

Let us recap:

Motor driven – Powerful motor, blades moves back and forth. It can use clipper over comb especially to remove large quantities of bulk. It can be used on wet or dry hair. Is made for clipper over comb.

Magnetic/vibration – Powerful (vibration). Is made for attachments. This clipper is not recommended for clipper over comb because of the blunter edges it leaves when hair is cut. Made to follow the head shape.

Now, I know there is a lot on YouTube and such, but to really grasp how to use this machine or any tools in the hair industry, you will need “Hands On” classes. You need to make the mistakes in front of an expert to learn from them. A video is not going to that for you. But what you can do is get a mannequin & clippers and start practicing.

This is just a brief explanation of the difference in clippers. Next time I will write on how to clean, balance & set the blades for your clippers. When you should replace the blades and to oil. Which all this information will keep your clippers fresh and sharp. But for now, just understanding what the clipper is and what it is designed for is the first step to understanding clipper cutting.

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