How to Cut Long Hair: My Story
A few months ago, I contacted my hairstylist for a haircut only to discover she had moved to another state. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to another set of bad haircuts while I sought out my next perfect stylist. I took the typical route and began asking friends who they would recommend. One recommended stylist only worked when I was not available, and the other turned into a game of phone tag. Since I had waited too long for a haircut and had travel plans in a few weeks, I was desperate.
Not sure who I would trust with a pair of scissors, I thought about all of the purchases I've made based on consumer reviews online. Usually, I'd say higher-priced items offer better quality, but if 200 people tell me the cheaper version is the way to go then that's what I buy. I usually put a lot of trust in online reviews because people are more likely to complain than give a compliment. After reading several reviews on more than one website, I finally found a salon downtown. I was excited to have my hair cut by a guy again. For some reason, I think male stylists often have a certain " je ne sais quoi" that makes for great haircuts.
The Downtown Salon
When I walked in, all of the stylists were male and flamboyantly gay. I thought I had found hair nirvana and secretly hoped my new stylist would become my new shopping buddy. As we began to chat, I learned he went to a well-known school and had just moved here from a major city. I couldn't wait to see what he would do with my hair!
Although I wanted to let my bangs grow out, I also knew side-swept bangs would not hold up to the humidity of the midwest in July. So, we discussed giving them a trim to keep them out of my face. Initially, he mentioned cutting them into a "V" shape with the center as the longest part. As a working mother approaching 40 who chases a toddler on the side I told him I didn't think that would work with my lifestyle. Sure, I'm probably turning into an old fart, but I need a style that isn't constantly in my face. I just wanted something simple and low-maintenance.
He trimmed the length and then began to add layers. Sections of hair were pulled up and the scissors were pulled (seemingly haphazardly) through the ends. When I put my glasses on to take a look, my bangs were way too short and I quickly noticed the hair on the left side was about half an inch longer than the right. Despite all the layering that was done, I noticed there weren't any layers on the sides of my head. He went to work fixing the length difference, but when he was finished, it was still uneven.
At this point, I really just wanted him to put the scissors down. My mistake was that it wasn't until this point I asked what he enjoyed about being a hairstylist. Turns out his favorite techniques were funky cuts and bold colors. So in the future, if I ever decide on a blue and purple mohawk, this would be the person to see.
Repair and Recovery
I paid him for his time and went home knowing my best hairstyle for awhile would be a ponytail with a headband. The more I looked at my hair in the mirror, the more disappointed I became. I had one chunk of short hair in the back that didn't match any other "layer". After posting my displeasure on Facebook, I had a friend offer to try to fix it. She did the best she could given the circumstances but told me it would be another two haircuts before the short layer in the back would blend in without cutting all my hair off. My hair was about 3 inches below my collar-bone before my first haircut. After receiving 2 haircuts in 48 hours my hair was now almost 4 inches shorter.
Doing It Myself
A few months passed, and it was time for another haircut. Frankly, I became tired of not being able to wear my hair down. One afternoon I searched YouTube for videos on how to cut your own hair.
There were a variety of haircuts resulting in different hairstyles. Something inside told me this might be a bad idea. Then again, my last haircut didn't turn out well, so I didn't think I had much to lose. A few weeks passed, and the video above really stuck with me. She suggested to only cut a little at first because you can always go back and cut more. One afternoon while my son was napping, I grabbed the hair scissors I bought at Target and began to cut.
Starting with the hair at the nape of my neck I pulled it forward in sections and trimmed about 1/2 an inch off. I let a little more hair down and trimmed it to match the underlying layer. After each layer, I checked to see that both sides were the same length by pulling them forward towards my sternum. I continued the same process until I had let all of my hair down. About 30 minutes later, I looked at my handy-work and discovered my hair was straight and I had gotten rid of the scraggly layers at the bottom. I loved it and I had just saved myself at least $50, if not more.
To clean up some of the longer layers, I pulled my hair in sections to the side and cut vertically towards the ceiling. I repeated that same process with my bangs to give them a few layers as they grow out. I must warn you that once you've successfully given yourself a haircut, it can become addicting. A month or so later, I became impatient for my bangs to grow, so I pulled a little more hair forward and cut it slightly longer than the bangs I had. Now they all seem longer. It's been a few months since I last cut the longer length, so perhaps I will cut it again today. I love that I can now have a haircut anytime I choose for free and I don't have to go through the agony of bad haircuts anymore.