how to cut your own hair at home
Dr. Sedat Öz
Written by Dr. Sedat Öz
24 November 2020
Average reading time of this content is 10 minutes
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If the global pandemic we are all currently living through has taught us anything, it’s that we are more skilled that we thought at adapting and learning new skills as the world around us changes. We have had to learn how to work from home, educate our children at home and – from an even more personal point of view, look after things such as how to cut your own hair at home. We all have our favourite barber or hairdresser whom we trust to cut our hair, or trim our beards exactly the right way to suit our personality and our face, however, the pandemic closed the doors of many hairdresser and barbers around the world, for months at a time in some cases.

Here are some tips for how to cut your own hair at home, in case you are unable to reach your hairdresser or barber again in the future. Whether you are seeking to give yourself a whole new look, or simply keep your current appearance neat and tidy, the following article should provide plenty of tips to help get you started.

How to cut your own hair

First of all, you need to find a suitable space to cut your own hair. The best option is somewhere with a smooth floor, such as tiles, wood or laminate, rather than carpet. This will allow you to clear up cut hair more quickly, plus if you choose to dye your hair at the same time as cutting it, any drips can be cleaned up far more easily.

Choose a location that has lots of light – natural light if possible – so you can really see what you are doing. Have a mirror available – preferably two so you can look at the back of your head as well as the front. Make sure you can sit comfortably in a sturdy chair that allows you to sit up straight. Again, a chair with a smoother finish such as leather, plastic or wood will make it easier to clean up and sweep away any hair afterwards. Gather your hair cutting equipment, which should include sharp scissors, a set of clippers or a hair trimmer, a hairdryer, plenty of towels, a hairbrush or comb and any hair products that you normally use.

Once you have chosen and set up your make-shift salon, you can get started. Check out magazines or style websites for inspiration about hairstyles and looks that you think would suit you – but don’t get too ambitious, as your barber will be much better equipped to achieve more complicated styles that you are. Try and gauge what you can do by yourself using what you have got in your home and within the time you have available.

Wash your hair first, using your usual shampoo and conditioner. Dry it using a towel, leaving it slightly damp to avoid it flying up too much when you are trying to cut it. Go slowly with the actual cut, stopping to appraise your progress in the mirror at frequent intervals. Remember, you can always cut more hair off, but you cannot stick it back on once severed, so avoid the temptation to go too far, too fast.

Essential tools for cutting men’s hair

Men’s hair requires careful attention, as it represents a large part of who we are for many of us. If you want to learn how to cut hair, men, or how to cut boys’ hair, you will need to invest in some good quality equipment. Depending on the style, length and condition of your hair, you will need to buy a decent set of clippers. This versatile tool can help you achieve a wide range of men’s haircuts. Choose clippers that have an adjustable blade for all-purpose cutting, shaping and tapering, with optional detachable blades for more specialist work if you are feeling ambitious.

You can add to this with a beard trimmer if you wear a beard or moustache to help cut away any straggly facial hairs and keep it looking neat and tidy. There are a variety of beard and moustache products designed to add extra shine if you are interested in maintaining a sleek, groomed look. You may also wish to invest in some hairdressing scissors or shears for general cutting and layering of longer styles. Finally, a set of razors can help you achieve an even closer finish, while a comb and hairbrush will help you add the finishing touches at the end of your home haircut. Oh, and don’t forget a handheld mirror so you can examine your masterpiece from all angles at the end of the haircut.

Why a buzzcut might be the best option

There was a time when buzzcuts were more commonly found on a military base than on the high street. Those days are long gone, however, as more and more of us are switching on to the many benefits of having this practical, no-nonsense haircut. the most obvious benefit is the fact that it is incredibly easy to maintain, both in a salon if you are able to and want to spend the money, or at home using your own set of clippers to achieve the desired length. Clippers can be set to whichever length you require, and they can shave very close to the scalp if you want them to, to create a clean buzzcut look.

Sporting a buzzcut also has its advantages in daily life. It is easy to wash and maintain, with little to no time required to style it during a morning routine, You just give it a quick scrub when you are in the shower and you will be good to go. You will find your shampoo and hair product budget drop dramatically and your close-cropped style will go with all sorts of looks and clothes combinations.

It is advisable, when moving from a longer style to a buzzcut that you do so in increments, rather than slicing it all off in one go. For a start, you can gauge your reaction to your new style and check that you face, features and the shape of your head really do suit it. Start with your clippers on around a grade four and clip all over your head so that the hair is evenly trimmed. If that is too long, move the grades down until you find the one that suits you, until you reach the shortest grade and the traditional buzzcut look.

Remember, as we have already said, you cannot put cut hair back on your head if you do go too far; you will have to be patient and wait for it to grow back before you can try again. If you want your home buzzcut to look more professional, pay attention to the sides of your hair – the sideburns – and take some time to taper them gently to reduce the appearance of harsh lines where your hair ends and your scalp begins.

Looking for a little trim?

If you are not looking for anything quite so dramatic as a buzzcut, then learning how to cut your own hair short enough to stay neat, tidy and out of your eyes is a worthy endeavour. This can also be achieved at home with a little care and attention. First, wet your hair and comb it so that it sits straight and you can see what you are doing more clearly. Start from the bottom and work upwards, trying to blend the hair as you go to avoid any stark lines or uneven areas. Take frequent breaks to check your progress in the mirror. If you don’t feel confident enough to complete the back by yourself, ask someone to help you and cut or clip your hair as you guide them to where they need to work.

If you have a fringe, this can be cut at home easily too, after once again wetting the hair to make it manageable. Cut from the bottom, working slowly and tapering the cut to create layers and stop your fringe looking too much like a thick wedge of hair. Dry your hair when done and style it as you normally would to spot any wisps or areas you may have missed. Run some product through it to add a finishing touch and examine the finished results from all angles.

Ways to cut your curly hair

Curly hair can be harder to cut at home, and many guys with longer locks can feel reluctant to try in case it messes up the overall look and quality of their hair. However, with a deep breath and some useful hints and tips, a tidy up can still work out fine for anyone interested in learning about how to cut your own curly hair. Areas to concentrate on first are overgrown patches around the ears, sideburns and neck, as these will not only feel uncomfortable if left to grow too long, but will look the most obviously ungroomed.

Many people are already used to tidying these areas up at home, and this can be easily done with a set of standard or adjustable clippers. Handle this gently, as it can be all too easy to nip delicate ears with the clippers as you work. You will also want to avoid creating any unsightly bald patches as, even with curly hair, these can show up and spoil the overall effect.

As for the rest of your hair, move slowly, again working from the bottom up to avoid cutting off too much and ruining the appearance of the curls. You may want to use a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for curly hair, plus there are several products on the market that can help you define your curls and make them stand out and hold firm for longer. If you are nervous about tackling curly hair, you might prefer to set aside several time slots to sort one smaller section at a time, although do bear in mind that if you want to go out, you will doubtless want to be happy with how your hair looks, even halfway through the process.

What if it all goes wrong? Some final top tips

The final piece of advice in this article is not to take it too badly if you don’t achieve the exact look you were hoping for. It’s only hair and will grow back, or can be re-dyed if you get the colour wrong. A good barber or hairdresser will be able to correct your mistakes and give you some advice on how to proceed next time you are seeking the answer to how to cut your own hair straight, for example, or how to cut your hair in layers.

You should always clear up your home hair cutting area straight away to stop the cut hair getting spread around the entire house. Wipe away any dye spills to stop them staining and make sure you clean all equipment, especially clippers, razors and scissors very carefully to keep everything in good working order and hygienic before placing it back into storage for the next time.

Check out hairdressing and barber-themed blogs and website for ideas on what to do differently next time and try to maintain your sense of humour about it all. You can always wear a hat until you look presentable once more if you really feel that your home hair cutting skills need some more work. If you are interested in learning more and honing your skills, you could consider investing in a model hairdressing head and an online course to get you practising before being let loose on your own hair.

If you would rather leave it all to the professionals, however, that is absolutely fine. You may just have to wait a little if your regular salon is closed. Even during periods of national lockdown or restrictions caused by the current global pandemic, your barber or hairdresser may be willing to give you a virtual consultation via video conferencing or social media to guide you as you cut your hair at home. You can also support them when they are closed by ordering products from their website and making bookings for when they reopen.

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