When you visit a Minnesota Fantastic Sams, you want a great men’s haircut. Choosing our team of skilled and experienced hair stylists is one important step toward getting a look you love, but knowing how to ask for what you want is essential, too! In today’s blog, we’ll be defining a few hair salon tools and terms you should know so you can go into your next appointment with confidence. Read on to learn more, and find exceptional men’s hair care at Fantastic Sams in Maplewood!


There are several ways a Fantastic Sams hair stylist can craft the men’s haircut you’ve been looking for, but if you’re looking for a classically short cut, then they will likely use clippers. Clippers work in a similar way to scissors to clip your hair, but they are designed very differently. Electric clippers include a set of sharpened blades that move against each other quickly, powered by a small motor. They make it easy to cut your hair quickly and cleanly, and they are the tool your stylist is most likely to reach for if you like to keep your hair under an inch long.

Clipper Guards

Clippers alone work great for a buzzcut, but for lengths up to one inch, a stylist will often use clipper guards. These are effectively shields that fit over a set of clippers that dictate how short it will cut your hair. Each clipper guard is numbered so you and your hair stylist can easily decide which guard you want for your custom cut.

If you ask for a “zero,” your stylist will use clippers without a guard for a cut that leaves only a little stubble behind. It’s very short without being a close shave. Higher guard numbers correspond with longer hair.

  • One: ⅛ inch
  • Two: ¼ inch
  • Three: ⅜ inch
  • Four: ½ inch
  • Five and Six: no standard size, between ⅝ and 6/8 inches
  • Seven and Eight: ⅞ – 1 inch


The next term you should know, “taper,” refers to a stylistic choice rather than a tool of the trade. Tapering refers to blending one length to another, so you can ask for a haircut that is longer on the top and shorter on the sides and back if that’s your style. You can choose the longer and shorter lengths to match what you’re looking for, and the hair stylists at Fantastic Sams will taper between the two for a look you’ll love.


There are many similarities between a taper and a fade. Both are techniques that blend one length into another, except when you ask for a fade, your stylist will often blend your haircut down to the skin with clippers. There are a few ways to tweak your style with a fade — a high fade, for example, starts blending down to shorter hair high on your head. A low fade, on the other hand, typically doesn’t begin until about an inch above your natural hairline. You can discuss exactly what you want with your hair stylist!


Your neckline is where your hairline ends at the top of your neck. There are a few ways you can style your neckline, since there are often plenty of stray hairs that can make your cut look less than sleek. If you ask for a blocked neckline, your stylist will shape your natural neckline into a straight, sharp line. A rounded neckline looks much the same, except with rounded edges. For a less structured look, ask for a tapered neckline, which will follow your natural neckline and blend the edges down to the skin.


Your arches are the space between your hairline and your ears. Similar to your neckline, there is a natural arch of hair around your ears, but it can get unruly. A natural arch means your hair stylist will simply clean up any stray hairs and keep your arches even. You can also ask for high arches, where your stylist will clip your hair to a new line slightly higher than it’s natural, to enhance the look of smaller ears or simply make maintenance easy.

Visit Your Fantastic Sams Today

Are you ready to put your new vocabulary words to work? Stop into your local Fantastic Sams! Our hair stylists are here to work with you to craft a look you’ll love. Visit us in Maplewood today for expert men’s hair care, from a cut and style to high-quality hair care products you can take home.