For most people, going to a salon or a barbershop is an integral part of life’s experiences. Just like going to the movies.
However, a person can have perfectly valid reasons to completely eliminate haircutting and hairstyling service from their life. Of the many, some of the most common reasons are the following:
- Trying to save money.
- Going bald.
- Don’t like public exposure.
- Safety concerns.
- Frequent disappointment with the outcome, no matter the barber and directions followed.
Fortunately, if your reasoning follows any of those, current hairstyling technology is more than sufficient to enable you to cut and style your hair, by yourself.
Before you cut your hair yourself for the first time
Cutting your hair by yourself requires a high degree of preparation. After all, you will be severely limited in what parts of your head you can see, and how to best reach those parts.
Plan it out
The first time you cut your hair has to be planned out with plenty of time set aside for it.
Inevitably, that extra time will be needed to correct all the mistakes you made, no matter the type of haircut you planned. Going in, expect mistakes to happen, but also make the room to correct them.
The worst time to decide to cut your hair for the first time is before an important social event or a business meeting. Do you really want to show up with a DIY haircut at such important occasions?
Better yet, if it happens that your first DIY haircut is unrecoverable, it would be best to plan it for the morning, so you have enough time to go to a barber later in the day to correct it.
If such an unfortunate scenario does occur, don’t forget to ask the barber for some pointers! No doubt, he/she will offer valuable advice to avoid committing haircut-ruining errors in the future.
Whatever happens, there is never a point in which you should completely give up on DIY haircuts. Practice makes perfect, and it would be unreasonable to expect for everything to go right in the first couple of attempts.
Equip yourself with the right tools
The best part of cutting your own hair is how much money you will save.
Even if you opt to buy professional hair clippers from a reputable brand, they will pay themselves off within a couple of months. Whatever you do, don’t buy generic, cheap brands thinking that all haircutting technology is the same.
It may look and feel the same on a superficial level, but once you start using generic hair clippers for a bit longer you will see how woefully wrong such thinking is.
The same goes for other tools – scissors and combs. No matter how good your hair clippers, scissors will be indispensable during the entire DIY haircutting process.
Therefore, nothing less than professional scissors will suffice! Otherwise, you will immediately regret your decision to go super cheap and use your old paper-cutting scissors!
Both professional hair clippers and scissors can be bought under $50 if you are looking for budget-friendly products, or under $100 if you are looking for high-end, no compromise haircutting tools. Even up to $100 is an exceedingly valid investment for DIY haircuts that you will be doing for years to come.
All you have to know is which hair clippers and scissors to pick.
Besides cutting your hair with clippers of reputable quality and scissors, you will need a three-way mirror. You could opt for a handheld version, but that would be more cumbersome. Luckily, there are many portable, unfoldable tri-fold mirrors for just under $10.
Cutting your hair at home will be difficult enough without making it even more difficult with a handheld mirror!
Lastly, a barber cape/cloth will keep the mess to a minimum. However, if you always plan on taking a shower immediately after you are done with trimming your own hair, you can skip this step.
To recap, for a good DIY haircut you need:
- Excellent hair clippers from a reputable brand.
- Professional barber scissors.
- Three-way mirror instead of a handheld one.
- Barber cape (optional).
At a minimum, you should not set your budget for these items under $50 in total. Up to $100 or slightly over is recommended for all items in total.
How should you cut your hair at home?
If you are doing it for the first time, the best way to trim or cut your own hair is to pick a hairstyle that is easy to accomplish. One that would be regarded as beginner-tier at the barber school.
Once you master it, you will be able to move on to more nuanced hairstyles.
Start with a buzzcut
Also known as a crewcut, a buzzcut is a hairstyle you most likely saw in movies or documentaries when military recruits are given their no-nonsense new haircuts. Needless to say, this is as simple and as fastest DIY haircut as you can get.
Nonetheless, it will give you the feel for how powerful your hair clippers are; how quick you can move them in order to do the job in one motion.
Essentially, all you have to decide with a buzzcut is the length of the cut, which will depend on your hair clippers’ setting. If you followed the advice from buying hair clippers from a reputable brand – Wahl, Oster, Remington, and some Philips models – you will be rewarded with even and quick cuts that won’t mess your hair.
After a buzzcut, all you have to do is clean up your neckline and other edges. More on that later.
How to fade your hair
Fading your hair simply means gradually tapering the hair length until you go all the way to the skin.
Depending on where you start, there are countless types of fades.
This is where having outstanding hair clippers really becomes a critical factor!
Especially those with adjustable blades and the ones that are explicitly marketed for creating fades. Usually, you see such labels right on the box.
Here is a good beginner video to start your own fades:
Notice how he used a handheld mirror which made the job that much harder. It would have been much easier to use a standing three-way mirror and then only move your head while having both of your hands free.
How to taper your own hair
As the word suggests, when you taper your hair you gradually cut it shorter from the top.
So, longer hair is at the top of your head, and then gradually becomes shorter on the sides and on the back. Depending on the cut length, tapers are called differently.
Next to a buzzcut, tapering is second easiest to do.
Always keep in mind to leave your hair somewhat longer if you are not sure how it will come out. After all, you can cut hair, but you can’t uncut it.
When you first start with a regular taper, place the longest guard on your hair clippers or set it to the highest length setting, depending on your hair clippers.
Then, start with the sides and the back, while blending on the top. As shown in this video:
As you can see, you can combine any style at any moment – buzzcut, fade, taper – combine these three elements into any seamless combo as you progress further in your DIY haircutting adventures.
With practice, you will achieve a professional-looking men’s haircut at home.
How to cut your hair with scissors
Using scissors will be the most difficult part4, unless you are lucky enough to be ambidextrous. Of course, you can almost completely avoid scissors, but there are some hair styles that require it.
Otherwise, a three-way mirror will once again be extremely useful. Not to mention having super sharp, professional barber scissors.
If you have ever been to a barber, you know they always damp your hair before using scissors, so you should do the same. It will make manipulation and cutting the hair that much easier. Either use a wet towel, or a bottle spray one would use to water plants.
Before scissor-cutting can commence, style your hair just like you would like it to be. Now, pick your hair with fingers that should be in parallel to your face. On the sides, the fingers should be perpendicular to the ground. Cutting the top should position your fingers parallel to the ground.
In short, here is what the scissor-cutting process should look like.
As he said, you should start from the front to the back.
One thing to keep in mind is that your hair will shrink when dried, which will make it shorter. Therefore, if you are unsure of the right length, use a blow-dryer first to see the final result. On average, wet hair expands by about 30%.
Another thing to remember is that you can use the longest guard on your hair clippers instead of scissors.
How to trim your own neckline/back of your neck
Due to how awkward it is to position your hand and not being able to see properly as a barber would, necklines are trickier than you would expect.
Therefore, the best way to approach this is to think of it as fading your neckline. Even better results can be had with a neckline edger template.
It may be best to add it to your list of necessary tools if you always want an even and square line. Right after a three-way mirror.
You can see why such a template would be useful here:
At that point, you don’t even have to use a mirror to achieve a clean neckline.
Reasons you should cut your own hair
We already stated the reasons why someone should opt out of barber and hair salon services, but why should one choose to cut their own hair? After all, if you have a good friend, he/she can do it for you in your own home.
It would still come close to being a DIY haircut.
Here are some positive reasons that will make you consider cutting your own hair.
No longer do you have to rely on your favorite barber to be at the exact time and place. No longer do you have to wait your turn.
When you cut your own hair, you can have your favorite hairstyle done wherever you travel, in a matter of minutes. Moreover, modern hair clippers have powerful lithium-ion rechargeable batteries so your mobility is further increased, without even having to rely on a handy electric outlet.
It would take a lot of time and money to experiment with a barber.
When you are doing your own haircuts, there is no limit except the length of your hair. You can always try something new, or perfect the old style. Moreover, maintenance is no longer an issue to defer later due to bad timing. If you are not happy with how your hair looks, it takes a moment’s notice to rectify it!
Although you are depleting the barber customer pool and taking their piece of the pie, going solo DIY haircut will inevitably save you thousands of dollars over years, or even months, if you made it a habit of frequenting expensive hair salons.
Become the Center of Attention
When you master self-haircutting, people will be surprised at how good you look. No doubt, they will ask where you got your haircut and will be predictably shocked and impressed with your answer.
Many people would not even countenance cutting their own hair, so they will be highly impressed with your skills. They may even ask you to cut their hair. This is how social favors and networking is made.
With the right tools, discipline, and patience, anything is possible, least of all masterfully cutting your own hair. Set yourself up with some Wahl clippers with powerful blades and motor, professional scissors, three-way mirror, and a neckline template.
This is all you need to never again need the help of a barber to cut your hair. From now on, you can cut and maintain your hair anytime you need, at no further expense, and experiment as much as you desire.