We’ve all seen the movie where the quirky character cuts her hair off after she’s unceremoniously dumped. Some of us even have the horror story of playing with scissors as little kids and chopping off a lump of our hair or our friend’s hair.
Cutting our own hair at home is usually prevented by the memory of these two cautionary tales. However, if done correctly with the proper tools and patience, a DIY haircut can look just as good an expensive salon cut.
Grab your scissors (no, not the ones in your kitchen drawer) and give yourself a trim after you’ve read this article. It’s only hair, after all. It will grow back eventually.
Can I cut my own hair?
Of course you can That’s the best part of being an adult! You can do anything you want to do.
Perhaps you’re reluctant to give it another try after your last attempt at bangs resulted in tears for days. You’ll be more prepared this time. Cutting your own hair is great as long as you prepare first and don’t just cut it on a whim.
The most common reason to cut your own hair is to save money, along with the convenience of not needing to leave the house. If you want a drastic haircut or a specific, precise cut, those are best left to the professions.
Some people choose to cut their own hair because their stylist is booked solid for the foreseeable future and they are desperate for a trim. As long as your reasons aren’t rooted in emotions (a bad day, a recent breakup, too much alcohol), cutting your own hair is a great idea.
DIY haircuts are best done on bangs or hair that just needs a trim. If you’re trying to recreate the last haircut your stylist gave you, that might be a bit out of your wheelhouse. Stylists are experts in cutting hair and they make it look simple and easy. It can be – with patience and the right tools.
Trimming the split ends yourself promotes healthy hair to grow to replace the dry ends. Longer hair requires trims every six weeks, but shorter hair can make-do with a micro-trim, or dusting, every three weeks. That adds up to a lot if you go to the salon for each trim.
A trim is generally cutting off half an inch of hair at the ends when you notice your hair is getting dull and frizzy. The split ends weigh down your hair and make it look drab. A quick trim can brighten your hair and your mood.
Once you’ve mastered the simple trim, you can move on to more complex cuts, such as the A-Line Bob and layered looks.
Things you will need
Before you start chopping your hair, there are a few items you need to gather for an easier cutting experience and clean-up.
Hair Cutting Shears – Invest in some professional hair scissors and leave the ones in your junk drawer for clipping coupons, not hair.
Hair Clips or Rubber Bands – You will be cutting your hair in sections and need clips to keep the hair separated.
Fine-tooth Comb – A fine-toothed comb has better quality for close cuts.
Spray Bottle – Spray bottles can be bought for less than a dollar in most drugstores. Your hair needs to be damp, not soaking wet.
Mirror(s) – A bathroom or bedroom mirror does the trick, but you might need more hands-free mirrors if you’re cutting the hair on the back of your head.
Broom – One downside of a DIY haircut is you have to do the clean-up yourself, too.
You’ll also need patience and a steady handy. You might want to keep the number of your favorite salon handy, just in case.
DIY Simple Trim
You can use either the ponytail or the pigtail methods for a simple trim. A basic trim doesn’t require much experience because the ends are evenly cut. However, take care not to make the cut look like you put a bowl around your head like the haircut your grandma gave you when you were 12. Thanks, grandma.
The back ponytail method is useful for shorter hair that can’t be split into the longer pigtails or front ponytail.
Steps for a simple trim using the ponytail method:
Lightly mist your hair until it is damp. Don’t cut your hair when it is soaking wet or dry because you might cut off too much. Remember – wet hair is longer than dry hair. Cutting dry hair can damage the ends.
Once your hair is damp, comb the sides into a ponytail. Use a clip to put the front section on top of your head to cut last.
Use the mirror to estimate how much to cut off. Cut the split ends of your hair in a straight line.
Remove your hair from the ponytail and make sure you’ve cut it evenly. Use smaller scissors to even the hair out if needed.
Release the front section of your hair from the clip. Comb it until it is smooth and straight.
Grasp the front section between your fingers to where you want it cut. Cut the hair underneath your fingers in a straight line.
Check to see that your hair is even and at the desired length. Repeat the process if you want to trim it shorter. Dry and style your hair.
This method is for trimming longer hair. Divide your hair into two sections on each side of your head – pigtails. Secure with rubber bands at the length you plan to trim.
Cut one pigtail under the rubber band. Repeat on the other pigtail. Now you have to even out the back.
Gather your hair into a low ponytail in the back. At the end of the ponytail, you will see and feel a V shape. Use your hair shears to cut off the V shape. If you prefer to keep the V shape for a layered look, that is your decision.
Once the back is cut to your preferred length, it’s time to cut the front. Brush the front section of your hair forward. Hold the hair between your fingers and snip off the hair underneath your fingers.
Check your hair to make sure you’ve cut it evenly and make any required adjustments. If you’re satisfied with your work, dry and style it in your normal way.
DIY A-line bob
An A-line bob haircut is a bit more complex than a simple trim. It stands for asymmetrical bob, meaning the hair is shorter in the back and progressively gets longer in the front, particularly on one side.
An a-line bob probably shouldn’t be your first attempt at a DIY haircut. But with practice, you can give yourself an a-line bob haircut following these steps:
Divide your hair into three sections – one on each side of your head and one in the back. Use hair ties to keep the sections in place. The hair tie in the back should be loosely placed at the desired length of the haircut.
Start at the section in the back by cutting your hair at the beneath the hair tie. Go slowly to ensure an even cut. Bobs are usually cut shorter but it is up to you how short or long your bob will be.
Once you’re done with the back section, release all of your hair. Use the shears or a razor to cut the sides to your desired length. Most people choose to cut one side at a sharper angle than the back and other side.
You can add layers by dividing your hair into smaller sections and cutting the bottom sections longer than the hair above it.
If the a-line bob haircut sounds complicated, you can always look up instruction videos on the internet.
DIY Hair Cutting Tips
Before you start chopping your hair, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
Use Professional Shears – don’t use the kitchen scissors to cut your hair. Splurge for hair shears or use smaller (new) scissors for toenails.
Don’t Try a New Haircut – If this is your first attempt at cutting your own hair, start with a realistic trim. Don’t try to give yourself an entirely new hairstyle.
Damp Hair, Not Wet – Wetting your hair with a spray bottle is enough to get your hair damp. Wet hair is often cut too short.
Go Slowly – The best advice is to go slowly and be patient with yourself.
The most important thing to remember when you try at DIY haircut (or get a bad haircut) is that it’s only hair. It will grow back.