Baldness — The Old School Way

Why You’re Here

You’re probably looking for the best clippers for shaving your head.

I’ll spare you the suspense – I think that you’re looking for the OSTER Classic 76. They’re the best clippers that I’ve ever used and, if you’re serious about finding the right tool for a job, I don’t think you need to look any further!

Where My Story Starts (a.k.a., “Being Your Own Barber”)

Here’s what the travel brochure to Baldsville doesn’t mention: Once you start shaving your head, it’s difficult to stop.

I asked my barber to shave my head bald the day before I moved to New York City. It was a bit of a lark, really — not intended to be an enduring sea-change in my personal style. That was over ten years — and many hair clippers — ago.

For the uninitiated, here’s what the travel brochure to Baldsville doesn’t mention before you buy your ticket: Once you start shaving your head, it’s difficult to stop. You’ll unconsciously recalibrate your idea of what “long hair” is and even one week’s growth makes you feel like you are turning into a hippie.

Looking For The Perfect Clippers

Fully embracing my neurosis new hairstyle, I began to reconsider the cost of going to a barber once a week for a haircut.  Instead, I decided to become my own barber — and so I needed some hair clippers.

“I’ll get something cheap”, I thought.

I picked a $10 pair of clippers off the shelf at the drugstore and, for a time, I was okay with that. At some point, I realized that the cheap clippers weren’t really shaving my head as much as making a large buzzing sound while painfully plucking out my hair.

So I began to spend more money in an attempt to find something better. The succeeding batch of clippers got heavier and more costly but, in the end, I always ended up feeling dissatisfied.

Could This Be It?

On the hunt for yet another pair of replacement clippers, I read some reviews on Amazon for the OSTER Classic 76 Hair Clipper. “Whoa!”, I thought, “People love this thing….but it’s kind of expensive!”   Tired of replacing the cheap ones regularly, I took a chance that the extra money I spent would be worth it this time.

It was.

Hallelujah!

When the box with the Oster arrived a few days later, examining its contents made me feel like I had stepped into a time machine… and, in a way, I had: The Oster’s design seemed out of the 1950’s and the package included not only oil for the blades, but a tube of grease for the internal workings.

I took a chance that the extra money would be worth it this time. It was.

Clearly, this wasn’t designed to be a disposable device. Compared to those cheap $10 clippers, the Oster 76 is a little intimidating. You’re going from a flimsy piece of plastic to a heavy-duty professional tool that makes you feel like you’re doing dumbbell curls while cutting your hair.

Turn it on and you don’t get the angry mosquito sound that the cheap clippers give you. It is the sound of a lumbering giant slowly waking… that one you hear in the movies when some great, fearsome machine is powering up. “Whoosh!”

Call In The Five-O

If you thought a “zero blade” was as close of a shave as you could get, prepare to enter a brave new world. After reading one reviewer’s mention of it, I decided to also buy a “five zeros” blade. Normally used for fades, these blades are so fine that even beams of light cannot escape them! To be more accurate, the “five zeros” blades cut hair to about 1/125″ (0.2 mm). Nice and short.

Since originally posting this review, I have found this — A YouTube Clip of the “five zeros” blades on an Oster 76 in action!:

I am the King of Siam!

“Is this thing going to take my whole scalp off?”, I wondered while taking the first swipe.

The scalp remained — but the hair practically jumped off my head.
I laughed out loud. Like Yul Friggin’ Brenner.

When I was done, I stepped back and looked up at the mirror to examine the finished product. Perfect! I think I even saw the ghost of Telly Savalas hovering above me, smiling and proud that I had gone back in time to find a tool for the job that was appropriate for use by real men.1

Perhaps it’s hard to believe how much fun it was to drive this enormous mobile home/R.V. of hair-cutting equipment across my head but, after years of using clippers that didn’t do the job, it really was.

My Conclusion

The Oster Classic 76 is not a tool from our era: It is a tool from another, better time.

It may well be the Stradivarius of electric hair clippers.

Am I being a little too hyperbolic about all of this?2

I’d like to think that, many years from now, future people will unearth one of these beasts (and I assure you with the way these things are manufactured, they will be part of a future archaeological find) and ask themselves “What kind of people could have made a tool as wonderful as this one? How did they do this?”

And maybe if they listen hard enough, they’ll hear the sound of my happy laughter bridging the chasm between their time and ours.

  1. This was probably a hallucination []
  2. Yes. []

47 Responses to “Baldness — The Old School Way”

  1. iraforbes November 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    Best clippers hand down,i headshave once a week ,this machine is a tank!!!!!!!!!!if the egyptians had this back in there times they would be using this to shave their heads both male and female.

    • Justin November 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

      You know what I’m talking about, Ira!!!

  2. iraforbes November 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    yes justin i do brother!!!!man this thing rocks though:) i mean wet shaving is good and all but every time you wet shave your removing layers of skin which leaves your skin dry and flacky,besides with us men you shave one day and the next day you have stubble,the oster 76 leaves about one days length growth which is not bad at all once a week and mow it off the result? well better looking skin vin diesel uses this thing along with other celebs that should tell you something, this machine doesnt even slow down at all,compared to andis wahl and walmart brands this is the caddy of all clippers period.

    • Justin November 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

      The “Cadillac of Clippers” really captures the vibe of the ’76 — nice job!

  3. iraforbes November 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    lol justin!!

  4. Wayne December 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    I bought these clippers based on your review, the youtube vid you linked, and Amazon reviews. I could not be more pleased. I was using some $10 reconditioned Wahl clippers previously. They cut ok, and to 0.67mm, I believe, according to the manual. These came with the 000 blade which cuts to 0.5mm. The difference is noticeable, probably also because the Classic 76 doesn’t miss a hair. You don’t have to do it over and over to get things even.

    With the 000 blade, I need to cut my hair every 3 or 4 days to be happy with it, so I may eventually get the 0000 or 00000 blades, but for now I’m fine.

    Anyway, thanks for the review. It really helped in my decision.

    • Justin December 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

      Happy that it was helpful to you, Wayne — and thanks for letting me know!

  5. Wayne January 30, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    Another update.

    Today I received the 00000 blades in the mail. I had to use them immediately, and I am impressed. If anyone is debating between the 0000 and the 00000 blades, as I was, I highly recommend the 00000 (0.2mm). Reviews say it is about like one day of stubble after shaving with a razor, and when I finished, the hair on my head was shorter than my two day beard. So that seems about right. Fantastic.

    • Justin January 31, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      Thanks for the update, Wayne!

  6. Mark May 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    For those seeking the ultimate, Andis makes a 000000 blade (1/150″ .01mm) that fits the Oster 76, you can find it on Amazon and sometimes on Ebay, that’s where I got mine.

    • Justin Lancy May 17, 2010 at 1:18 am #

      This is excellent news — especially since I also just got a dual voltage Andis clipper for use while traveling!

      I’ll have to look into whether the blade will fit it as well…. if so, than I think I’ve found my ultimate “home and away” setup! :D

  7. Vincent Petitto March 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Great review on the clippers… I am definitely getting them.

    Great video link too. About the song in that video… Who is that? It’s a beautiful song and I’d like to have that as well.

    Thanks!

    • Justin Lancy March 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      Awesome — think you’ll love ‘em. (FYI — my clippers are **still** going strong!)

      Couldn’t tell you about the song since it’s not my video… maybe leave a comment on the YouTube page?

  8. M.L. May 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Justin – Thanks for the review – very helpful. Two questions:

    1. Does it ever seem TOO heavy and unwieldy when clipping your own hair?
    2. Wouldn’t you prefer a cordless in order to cut your hair in your shower (less cleanup)?

    Would be curious your thoughts on this – thanks!

    • Justin Lancy May 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      Great Questions!

      1. It’s never really seemed **TOO** heavy or unwieldy to me… It’s not like a kettlebell workout by any means! ;) To me, it seems pleasantly sturdy.
      2. Although I have Dual Voltage Cordless Clippers for when I travel, the Oster 76 does a much better job. It’s easy enough for me to lean over the shower basin while I shave and rinse it out afterwards, so clean-up isn’t really an issue for me.
  9. SarahJayne May 18, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    Thanks for the review. I was looking for clippers for my husband as he is always cursing his and they seem to die so quickly. Ive ordered this now based on your review, its my husbands birthday present….I’m confident after reading these comments that these clippers are going to be just what he was waiting for! Thanks for the review!

    • Justin Lancy May 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      You bet, Sarah!

      I really hope he enjoys them as much as I have but, regardless, I’m sure he’s grateful to have a wife like you who is looking out for him! ;)

  10. Some Guy May 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Like most others, I found this site through a Google search while looking for something better than an old rotary trimmer to shave my head.

    Question: Is it possible to use the Oster 76 to shave your head *by yourself*? I can use my rotary trimmer and shave my own head. It’s slow-ish (20 minutes or so), but it gets right down to the skin, and I can’t possibly cut myself with it.

    • Justin Lancy May 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

      Absolutely!

      • Some Guy May 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

        Thanks for the quick reply!

  11. Jake June 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I got a great deal on the 76 lite which from the description has the same innards as the Classic. It didn’t come with any grease so I don’t think it’s designed to be self serviced.

    I didn’t like using the blade that came with it because the teeth were too long and sharp and seemed to stab my scalp. I think it was designed for doing fades with a comb or a guard and not meant for direct contact with the scalp.

    It was nice to find this site because I wasn’t really sure which blade would be best for shaving bald and the video was perfect. The “00000” is what I am going to get and I hope it gets here soon because I’m starting to feel like a hippie.

  12. Filip August 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Hello great review! I know your track. I’m shaving my head for more than 10 years and I am really, really, really tired of clippers s.a. Babybliss/brauns/whatever brand. They just don’t do the job. Your review convinced me. I want those clippers and the 00000-blades! Problem is electrical current. Do you know if these clippers run on 220 Volt (this what we)?

    Greetings,

    Fellow baldhead Filip.

    • Justin Lancy August 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      Hey Filip,

      Funny you should ask this… At the moment, I’m traveling in Europe and missing my favorite clippers as — at least for the model sold in the USA — they aren’t dual voltage (110V/220V).

      I did find this on the Amazon UK site: Oster 76097-440 220 Volt Classic 97 Professional Hair Clipper. To me it looks like these are the equivalent clippers, only with the 220V power supply needed to be a smooth character outside the USA! ;)

      Maybe you could check them out and let us know how they work!

    • chromb August 23, 2011 at 7:28 am #

      Hello, Oster makes an alternative to the “76” called “classic 97″. the classic 97 works with 220V. It is the copy carbon of the “classic 76″, but uses european voltage. Oster claimed that it is more powerfull than the “classic 76″.

      I bought mine a while ago and it is an outstanding device for cutting your hair. you may find it on ebay.
      Unfortunately there are no reviews on the classic 97 as much people do not know it.

      • Justin Lancy August 23, 2011 at 7:33 am #

        Thanks for the confirmation on this — It looked to be the same model to me.

        Anyone else have one of these? Care to share your experiences?

        • Filip August 24, 2011 at 7:41 am #

          Searching the web for this 97 device. I’ll keep you posted on how they work. Thank you very much for this thread. This is the internet at its best. Enjoy Europe!

          • Filip September 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

            Hi Justin,

            My new Oster 97 device + 00000 blade arrived in Belgium today… Man, this is an American Dream Machine! What can I say… Classic 76 turning into 97 with 220 Volt power! It is worth every dime. Shaves perfectly, smoothly and quick. And I love the solid, retro look and sound! This is how shaving your head is suppose to be. Spread the word: OSTER 97 for all European Head Shavers!

            Thank you very much. At last, I’m free ;-)
            Greetings,

            Filip

          • Justin Lancy September 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

            AWESOME! Great news for all our friends in Europe!!!

  13. LIOR October 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    okay!!!

    I found it n ebay for $65 brand new (open bid until tomorrow, pro $100) also the 00000 blade on ebay for $21 “buy it now” cant find the 000000 blade so im not sure if its even out there so ill get the 00000.

    Thank you all for the info, i wasn’t sure but on point after reading this page.

    Thank you!

    LL – New York City

  14. Best Hair Clippers January 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Good clippers and a must have if you go to the barbers that often will definitely save you a lot of money in the long run.thanks for sharing
    regards
    dan

  15. Dorian May 23, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    how or where can i find six zero(000000) blade replacements.

  16. Rafaello August 7, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Nice review just ordered one, Oster 97, Sweden send their regards

    how or where can i find six

    zero(000000) blade

    replacements. if iam from sweden and amazon doesn’t send shipment here

    • Magz August 15, 2012 at 3:39 am #

      @Rafaello: You may have to use a carrier service (that’ll give you a US mailbox), I live in Norway and use this carrier service which is good: http://www.jetcarrier.com/ They also deliver to Sweden and Denmark.

      @Justin: Hey, thanks for posting this info! This oster 97 seems to be exactly the hair gadget I was looking for.

  17. IraForbes August 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    3 years later and my machines still doing what’s its meant to do love it I’m also using the andis 000000 blade cuts to .1mm nice and close just like a razor and shaving cream shaving with the grain,no bumps etc badass combo

    • Justin Lancy August 29, 2012 at 1:30 am #

      Mine too, Ira — The thing is a tank!

  18. scarface October 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    bought the Andis 24140 Dual Voltage Cord/Cordless Hair Clipper but only problem i dont think there are zero blades for it.. any ideas on what model number of the zeros blades go with it..

    • scarface October 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      so still not sure what i missed from the reviews here.. bought the

      Andis 24140 Dual Voltage Cord/Cordless Hair Clipper
      and
      Andis Ultraedge Trimmer Blade Size Model #64160

      but the blades dont fit. at all.. would have loved the dual voltage def..

  19. Ira March 6, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    hey fella headshavers !whatsup justin! just an update switched to the 0000 blade from the 00000/000000 i was using i noticed these blades were grabbing skin or anybumps cutting into my skin from time to time so after using the 000 which gives a short buzz i went over to the 0000 and couldnt be happier….before sometimes on the nape of my neck would get red and a few bumps would occur due to the 00000/000000 blades superclose cutting causing ingrowns…but still happy with the 76 money well spent and it payed for itself 100 times over Ha!!

    • Justin Lancy March 7, 2013 at 7:05 am #

      Thanks for the update, Ira! :-)

  20. Winny November 9, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    First off, I love your siteblog thank you.

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. How do these compare to the Wahl Balding Clippers in terms of weight, unwieldy, power and lowness of cut?

    2. Can you recommend a similar cordless clipper, that has the equivalent power, cuts as low and not too heavy?

    Thanks

    Winny

  21. Sky December 29, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Found your blog post when searching on google for best clippers to use to shave your own head… loved the write up and the reviews so I just ordered it – thanks for providing a great write up of your experiences.

  22. Harold Stoner February 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Is this a cordless and be put in water?

    • Justin Lancy March 14, 2014 at 2:46 am #

      No – definitely not!

  23. jerimiah February 16, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    Haven’t had hair for 15+ years. I laughed at the comment about a weeks worth of growth making you feel like a hippy. It’s so true! I have a question though; do you recommend any other set of clippers that aren’t so expensive. I don’t mind shelling out for than $10, but just can’t justify $130 for clippers at the moment. Thanks.

    • Justin Lancy March 14, 2014 at 2:45 am #

      None of the cheap ones have ever really worked for me… part of why I bit the bullet and paid for these! ;-)