How to Cut Your Own Hair in Layers
Haircuts Are Expensive
With the economy the way it is, it's just a waste of money to spend about $200 a month on family haircuts. And this is a frugal price, with just a normal shampoo and cut. Other things, like getting a permanent wave or having streaks, would double the $200 easily. No doubt about it, styling has become a luxury.
I found I can save a lot of money by cutting my own hair and that of my family's. There is nothing to it, and it's actually kind of fun. The "cha-CHING!" sound rings in my ears as I keep the fifty I would have otherwise parted with!
The only upfront investments are a plastic sheet (clothing guard) and shears, which can be purchased at the drugstore for about the same price as a basic haircut.
Find a comfortable chair and good light, and you are ready to begin. I sometimes put newspaper on the floor to make clean-up easier.
Dirty Hair Cuts Better
Easier and Less Flyaway
The ideal way, I have found, is to cut dirty hair! It doesn't slide around so much, which makes it easier to cut. The sections usually stay better separated, too. After the cut, you will be washing anyway, so it makes sense to let it get a little bit oily before you start.
The Ultimate Smarty-Pants Routine
Hair dye is also best applied to dirty hair to protect the hairline from harmful and itchy chemicals. If you color your hair like I do, the really super routine is to color the hair at home when it is dirty. Not only will you use less color, (it's bad for your scalp anyway) but it also creates a more natural, less chemical look. Then, let it get a little dirty again, and cut it. Shampoo and style it.
My husband is the easiest of all. He doesn't have much hair on his head to begin with, so sectioning off and cutting is as easy as pie. After, I comb into place, make a half-circle around the lower bottom edge around the back collar, and carefully razor blade away the back-of-the-neck fuzzies.
1. Sectioning off the Hair
First section off liberally. Then do it in tiny (about 1/4 inch or a bit more) slices of hair. Sections are usually:
- Around the face
- Crown (top of head) to ear
- Four large sections at the crown (divided up into tinier sections)
- The back
2. Brush the Hair Forward Towards the Face.
- Using a rattail comb, section about 1-1/2 inches of hair and brush forward, holding out from the face.
- Now trim the hair a half inch with shears pointed upwards, so that you are cutting "uphill."
- Continue like so, trying to cut exactly 1/2 inch from each section, using either classic hair clips or butterfly style "grabbers" to keep the hair properly controlled while you cut.
3. Cutting the Hair "Uphill" Is the Most Important Tip
To avoid the straight harsh line, trim the hair on a slight angle, upwards. This is not left to right uphill, but rather uphill at a 90 degree angle of the sectioned off piece. As if you are stabbing the hair blockade, pierce the wall, and CHOP. This allows the hairs to blend in and provides a more natural look.
Boys: Young kids squirm a lot, so putting them in front of the TV is a good plan to keep them occupied. A lollypop is also a good idea. I used to give my son a comic book or cellular phone to play with, but the head was too far down, and that can be a problem. It's better let him watch a TV show as a distraction.
Girls or Long Hair Trims: I chopped my daughter's hair across the bottom but only after sectioning off the back of her head with a mini ponytail. Again, trim the ponytail hair "uphill" to get rid of any and all split ends, then trim the back. To tell you the truth, I think it looks every bit as good as when she had it done at the stylist's.
Long Hair Cuts (Male or Female)
A small pony tail sectioned off at the crown works better than simply chopping across. Do it in two levels for a more natural, blended effect in the back.
- To avoid the "escaped from a mental hospital" or the Raw Chop look, section each hair square (2x2 inches) with a clasp.
- Again, comb upwards to see that the ends are even and in alignment.
Ideally about ten hair clasps will do. It takes a little longer, but the result is more subtle, better blended, and looks fuller. Turn on the radio and take your time. Now you know why most stylists have the gift of gab.
Bangs are a little bit scary. I remember my mom cutting mine using Scotch Tape on my forehead. That was pretty weird. Anyway, like everywhere else, you need to part the hair into tiny sections within the front of the face.
- Part off three horizontal sections.
- When you chop hold the hair vertically. Pin back and continue.
- It takes about three sections to give a natural look, so if you goof, it won't be obvious.
- Remember, hold the hair up with scissors pointed upward.
- Chop uphill towards the crown.
It can be done. So just go ahead and do it.
After the cut, a shampoo is essential to get rid of tiny hairs that will scratch you and irritate later.
If you have long hair, bend at the waist to dry the nape first; this adds body. Dry hair also keeps your clothes from getting damp. Now, straighten up and begin styling. Remember, less is more. Air dry at least 50% to avoid an overly dry scalp or damaged hair, especially if you color your hair.
Creme or Gel?
Getting a little off the subject, I prefer creme. The gel looks too plastic when it dries. I take about a nickel to a quarter size and style while the hair is just a little moist and not completely dry. It seems to respond better with a little hydration. I hit the dry ends first, then the scalp, and rub it through my hair as I style it.