Here’s the story, you buy new hair clippers, they come with a tiny tube of lubricating oil, you completely forget to use that oil until your clippers are just about to punch you in the face, then you use up that tiny bottle. Hair clipper oil is essential for getting the best trim possible, but what if you don’t have any, or you don’t have time to run and get some? Are there hair clipper oil alternatives?
Why Do We Need Hair Clipper Oil?
Were you ever in the middle of trimming your hair or beard and suddenly got a painful tug? Yup, that was your hair being pulled between the dull blades. It’s not nice, but that’s what the oil is for. As the clipper blades run, they create friction and heat.
The oil helps reduce this friction and protects the blades from dulling out, as well as rusting. Not only does the oil protect you from that annoying tug, but it will also prolong the trimmer’s lifespan.
What Are Hair Clipper Oil Alternatives?
When it comes to hair clipper oil alternatives, there is one word you’re looking for: thin. Normal hair clipper oil is thin and slippery, so it doesn’t clog your blades. The less viscous the oil is, the better it is. That’s not enough, however, as the oil needs to be able to resist heat, otherwise you’re looking at a disaster. Here are the best options to choose from:
- Mineral Oil: Here’s the surprise, clipper oil is just refined mineral oil in the first place. So, natural mineral oil is a good alternative in a pinch. It has low viscosity and can take the heat. Mineral oil is stable, versatile, and it will work like a charm, provided that you don’t use too much of it. Availability-wise, it’s easy to get at any pharmacy.
- Baby Oil: It sounds odd, but it does do more stuff than making muscles shine. Baby oil does have mineral oil in it, and because it’s thin and slippery, it will make your clipper blades quite smooth. The best thing about baby oil is that if it leaks a bit on your head, it’s completely fine! Watch out for the fragrances in it though, if you’re allergic. Baby
oil’s availability is unmatched since you can get it at any pharmacy or grocery store.
- Silicone Oil: Not the best option out there, but still applicable in a hurry. It’s also low-viscosity, but you may end up with more dirt than you bargained for with it.
- Essential Oils: With essential oils, you have the option of all-natural ingredients. If they make your hair soft and nice, they’re most likely going to get the job done on your clippers, as well.
What Shouldn’t You Use As an Alternative to Hair Clipper Oil?
Because the perfect alternatives to clipper oil are thin, low-viscosity, and can handle high heat, anything that’s too heavy is a bad idea. For example:
- Water: This sounds obvious, but yes, don’t use water to lubricate your clippers. Even though some clippers are waterproof, the water may lead to rust or damage the clippers from the inside due to the electricity. Don’t even use it to clean the clippers.
- WD40: WD40 is a kind of water displacer, not oil. Because WD40 has silicone in it, it is generally too thick and might clog up your machine. It will definitely clean the machine, but not lubricate it.
- Motor Oil: “Hey, it serves the same function, right?” Wrong. Motor oil is exactly what you don’t want to use because it’s way too thick and could ruin your trimmers.
- Organic Oils: Organic oils like coconut oil, canola oil, sesame oil, and the like are used to make hair itself softer, but it’s not a good idea to lubricate your clippers. Over time, they may clog up your clippers.
- Vaseline: Just because it lubricates your skin doesn’t mean it will lubricate sensitive machinery. Vaseline is far too thick and will ruin your clippers by stopping the blades in their tracks. Not a good option.
- Vegetable Oil: This is the easiest one to think of, but while you may use it once in a pinch, using it frequently is not great because it’s more viscous, and it spoils and goes rancid over time.
- Petroleum Oils: Petroleum oils such as sewing machine oil and kerosine are definitely advised against for putting on your hair or skin.
How Often Do You Need To Oil Your Clippers?
When you get new clippers straight out of the box, you may feel the need to oil them with that tiny bottle it comes with. Most clippers will actually be oiled and ready to go out of the box, but you could give it a couple of drops just to be safe at first. What about later? Well, a good rule of thumb is to oil your clippers before or after each use.
However, you can go for once every two uses if you’re not a professional barber and using your clippers too much. Oiling them will reduce friction and heat and prevent the clippers from overheating. Not oiling your blades enough can lead to blade damage, painful trims, overheating, and slashing your clippers’ life expectancy.
How To Oil Your Clippers?
Oiling your hair clippers is a simple process, but be careful not to go too far if you don’t want an oily mess. Here’s how you do it:
- Turn On Your Clippers: It sounds strange, but it’s best to apply oil when your clippers are running so the oil distributes evenly throughout. If your oil doesn’t come in a drops bottle, then don’t turn it on and apply the oil with your finger instead.
- Apply 3 Drops: 3 is the magic number: One on the right, one on the left, and one in the middle. If your clippers’ blades are narrow, 2 might be enough.
- Tilt Your Clippers: Tilt the clippers downwards so the oil doesn’t accidentally reach the wiring and motor inside. Just be careful not to get any of the oil on the carpet.
- Turn Off The Clippers: Turn off and wipe away any excess oil with tissues or wet wipes and voila, you’re ready for your next trim.
How Do You Clean Hair Clippers?
Cleaning your clippers is essential for hygiene and for your own hair health. You don’t want any bacteria or mold building up there. At first, your clippers need to be unplugged and free of any combs or attachments.
Once your clippers are exposed, use a tiny brush to brush out any hairs that are lodged inside. Try to get as many as possible, and of course over your sink. It might take a couple of blows too.
Once the hairs are out, spray the blades with anti-bacterial spray. If you don’t have spray, you can use a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol but make sure you oil the blades immediately afterward so the alcohol doesn’t dry out the metal.
How often should you clean your clippers? Definitely after every use, so no bacteria have room to grow over time.
Do You Need Special Brands Clipper Oil?
Absolutely not. While Wahl clipper oil is the most famous and available, any brand will work on any model. In this case, all hair clipper oil was created equal.
How Often Do You Need To Change Clipper Blades?
Hair clippers, especially high-quality ones, will last you years with proper maintenance. However, with extensive use, you may wear out or dull your clipper blades and need to replace them. For professional use, barbers advise replacing the blades every 6 months or so.
On the other hand, if you’re a regular Joe just using it at home, you can get the blades sharpened or replaced entirely once you feel like they’re tugging too much on your hair and the oil just isn’t cutting it (Pun intended).
How To Align Hair Clipper Blades?
If you’re like me and you cut your hair at home, you will eventually run into a scary rattling sound your clippers make when they’re misaligned. It will look like your clippers are done for, but don’t panic. This just means you need to take it apart and align the blades.
First of all, you’ll want to unscrew the screws on the top of the clippers. Don’t completely take it apart, just loosen it a little bit so it opens up. Now, using your finger, gently push the top blades (keep the bottom ones still) into position till they feel centered and right. Once they look right, tighten the screws again and give it a try.
Overall, the world of hair clippers is vast and complicated. Clipper maintenance is imperative so that they last you a long time, and you save money on buying new ones or even going to the barber. Make sure you clean your clippers after each use, oil it every other use with the professional clipper oil or mineral oil or baby oil as alternatives, and get the blades sharpened and aligned whenever you feel something is wrong.