Here’s something my readers don’t know about me – I have been cutting my own hair for more than a year. This post is about why and how.
Learning how to cut your own hair
The number one reason is that I don’t like random people touching me, especially not my hair. Number two is that due to my frugality, my hair was always overgrown. I would rarely go to a friend (who is a hairdresser) to get a haircut for $20. At a certain point I had figured out that this expense is going to stick with me for my entire life, meaning that if I only get one haircut per month and I get to live for another 50 years (being 21 yo at the time of this writing), I’ll blow $12.000 just to look decent. I thought that’s unacceptable if I can get the best hair clippers on Amazon for less than $20, so I went ahead and bought ‘em at a local supermarket.
How To Cut Your Own Hair And Save Money in the process
It turns out I am not the only one who had thought of this. And now I want to teach you how to cut your own hair too :) Cutting your hair can save money and sometimes lead to better hair styles.
What you’ll need to cut your own hair
- hair clippers with guards
- scissors (optional)
- styling comb (optional)
- a towel (or another mean of protecting your clothes from hairs) and/or a cleaning brush (optional)
- 1 large mirror (preferably two)
- at least some idea of what kind of a haircut you want – check out these men’s hairstyles for example
Haircut types that you can give yourself
My own haircut is relatively simple; my hair is very short on sides and on the back, and there’s a little more hair on top; I later discovered that this haircut is called Quiff. It’s very popular with teenagers nowadays.
Of course, there are numerous different haircuts that you can do with hair trimmers. The easiest to do yourself (called ‘buzzcuts’) are butch cut, crew cut, flattop, and ivy league. These are sometimes named introduction cut, high and tight, Harvard clip, or Princeton, but they’re not much different from one another anyway.
A little harder to do are quiff, undercut, mohawk, and Caesar’s cut.
I’m sure there are other haircuts out there, you can find them here. Now let’s move on.
When you’ve decided which haircut you want, you need to figure out how to do it. You can do that by simply looking at a photo and noticing where the hair is the shortest and where it is the longest. Where does it fade and how quickly? Draw diagrams for the chosen haircut to create a cheat-sheet and check out this resource for hints.
Techniques to cut your own hair
Personally, I only use hair clippers with 2 clip-on guard combs that came with it. I wanted to develop a simple enough workflow for cutting my hair, so I never used additional tools such as ear guide combs, I don’t even use a secondary mirror to check the back of my head. I would suggest you develop your own style and get whatever additional tool you need. You’re going to save tons of money anyway.
Get the cheat-sheet and decide which size of the hair clipper guards will determine the longest hair in the haircut – most probably, it will be on the top of your head. Put guards on and start cutting your hair – always cut hair in the opposite direction of its growth. The following image shows in which direction hair normally grow – it might be different with you though. Simply run your hand through your hair to find out!
You want to cut the whole head with this largest size. Afterwards, set the next, smaller size and cut that area. When making a fade (smooth transition in between two sizes), gently lift the clippers when finishing the cut. This method is called ‘fading’ – this video does a pretty good job of explaining it.
It’s not too hard. Find the right length guard (when in doubt, go longer. You can always go shorter afterwards). I’d recommend looking in a mirror and having a second hand-held mirror handy for the back.You’re gonna want to dampen your hair a little, then comb the sides down until the part is how you want it. Comb the top inwards, so that the part is clear.
Next, turn on your clippers, and using the mirrors, slowly cut. This way, you can go a little faster while trimming the bottom portion. When you get to the back, face away from the wall mirror and use the hand-held mirror to see. Slowly cut around the part again, then do the bottom portion.
For the back side, I normally just feel my hair to see if it’s smooth, but you can use a smaller secondary mirror to check the back side (I even used my phone’s camera a couple of times). Either way you need to have a good idea of what your back of the head looks like and about hair growth direction.
After you’re done with the haircut you can put some final touches in, creating nice arches and sideburns, fixing the neckline (for hair clipping, I recommend the tapered nape), forming a mohawk, etc. You can do that with scissors and such, but I only use clippers.
Closing tips on how to cut your own hair
I hope this guide came in handy to anyone who would like to save at least $20 per month. I’d like to stress that practice makes perfect – I still make mistakes, even though it’s been about a year I’ve been making this exact haircut. Don’t be shy to ask your family for help – you can even cut each other’s hair.
The most difficult part with cutting your hair will obviously be the back of the head. You can either do the 2 mirror strategy (which is actually pretty hard/confusing at first because your right/left switch when looking at a mirror backwards) or you can do it by feel. Both are very difficult but I think that by doing it by feel leads to better results and less mistakes.
I am sorry this guide is not covering the topic of cutting your own hair if you are long-haired – in this case, hair clippers are obviously not the way (unless you want some undercut). If you’re wondering about the subject, I suggest you check out this report and this guide.
I recommend having someone else help you with your neckline, as it gets a little tricky. It’s confusing trying to discern which direction to move your hand in the mirror and it’s easily messed up. If you can, get a beard trimmer (or any smaller clippers) for the next part. Remove all guards from it and cut sideburns to desired length, then around the ears, and you’re good.
Practice cutting your own hair!
Whatever way you cur your own hair, you’re going to have to keep practicing which will mean you’ll need a backup plan for those instances when you really mess up your hair. For example, a backup plan is to shave down my head to a very short length, which incidentally coincides with the lowest sized clip for the sides/back of my head. obviously, starting off you’ll want to start with a 4 and work your way up to an 8 (larger the # the more hair it keeps on your head). a 4 is a safe size, but you’ll need to cut your hair more often at first. once you get comfortable with the process then you can go down to a 2 or even a 1/0 if you want a tigher (less hair on the sides/back) fade.