HOW TO: Cut Your Own Hair

Updated on November 20, 2014
Mulan does not require rules.
Mulan does not require rules.

So, here's a confession: I haven't had a "real haircut" in over a year.

And no, I'm not a hippy with hair down to my ankles. I cut my hair all the time. Every couple of weeks I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and trim a little off. That's more than most people cut their hair, because they have to make a trip all the way to the hairstylist, shell out a bunch of money, and spend the better part of their day making small talk and trying to describe a haircut that the stylist will never really give you.

Me? It takes me five minutes, tops.

Below is a picture of me with hair I cut the night before. (I also did the color myself: check my article "HOW TO: Dye Your Hair Pastel" for information on how; even though my hair's more fluorescent than pastel, it's the same technique.) I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and I don't have to wait out that awkward period between haircuts when it starts to look a little iffy. As soon as I notice a bit growing too fast, I traipse off to the bathroom and it's gone in a flash.

Nervous? Here's how I do it.

C'est Moi!
C'est Moi!
Professional Barber Scissors. Pretty fancy, and not expensive.
Professional Barber Scissors. Pretty fancy, and not expensive. | Source

First, You Need Tools.

  • Scissors: Okay, another confession: I've used any scissors I found lying around. I've even used those rounded-tip safety scissors. But, surprise: they're not going to get you the most precise cut (I know, right? Who would have thought). You want a good sharp pair, like the ones pictured here. I just steal the ones my roommate uses to trim his beard. Don't tell him.
  • A straight razor: For your ends, if you're feeling fancy. Not necessary.
  • Mirrors, plural: You gotta see the back of your head. I have a medicine cabinet mirror that folds out into three sections, which is amazing. If you're not so lucky, you need to find a way to rig up a hand mirror behind you so you can see more of your head at once. Alternately, have a friend hold the mirror. Even more alternately, have a friend cut the back, which is kind of cheating, but I won't tell if you don't tell my roommate about his scissors.

Preparing Your Hair

Wash your hair to get any product out, comb it, and then let it air dry. Don't style it in any way. Cutting wet hair and knowing what it will look like dry is not a skill we posses. You want to work with your hair in its natural texture so you can see exactly what you're doing.

Wrap a towel around your shoulders unless you like having itchy hairlets all over your back until your next shower. It's probably also a good idea to put something under you so you don't have hair all over your bathroom...but I just cut it over the sink.

And before you do pick up the scissors, make sure you have some idea of how your hair works. Where do you like to part it? Do you have a cowlick? Do parts of your hair grow faster than the rest? (Answer: yes. It is probably the back of your head. It probably aspires to be a mullet. Don't let it.) You'll want to know these things. Don't fight them. (Except for the mullet. Cut. That. Off.)

Time to Cut!

The most important thing to keep in mind is: take it slow. You can always cut more later. You can't cut less.

Hold the scissors vertically, not horizontally, and take small slices out of your hair rather than chopping off a chunk. Big horizontal slab-cuts are what make your hair look homemade. Keep holding the scissors vertically or, at the very least, diagonally, until you've cut off as much as you want. Imperfection is good. Partly because perfection is impossible, but also because it looks cooler and more natural that way. You want people to think that your hair looks awesome, not that your haircut does.

Holding scissors vertically is especially important for bang trims. Never cut your bangs straight across. Don't do it. Please.

So remember: no big horizontal cuts. You are not Mulan. The only time you should ever hold the scissors horizontally is if you're chopping off a whole ponytail, and after that you better spend a lot of time doing vertical cuts to even out and soften up everything so you don't end up looking like you just cut off your whole ponytail.

Stop before you're done. Seriously. Sleep on it. If you still want more gone tomorrow, do it then.

Especially for bang trims, ALWAYS hold the scissors vertically, not horizontally.
Especially for bang trims, ALWAYS hold the scissors vertically, not horizontally. | Source

Times To See a Professional

So there are some things you really shouldn't do yourself.

  • Creating bangs. You can do it yourself if you're really confident; there's a video of this below. But this is a really easy one to seriously mess up.
  • Cutting complicated layers. If you're really into a layered look, your best bet is to get it done once professionally and then do the upkeep yourself. Spend some time investigating your hair and where all the layers end and you'll be able to trim it yourself without issue.
  • Trying to directly copy something from a magazine. The problem is, magazine pictures are photoshopped to death, and the kind of styling that went into that cut might not be something you want to deal with every day. A professional will be able to tell you what kind of techniques stylists on-set used to create that hairstyle, and if your hair is the right type for it.

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You...

Poll

How Much Money Do You Spend on Haircuts?

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, bellatory.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://bellatory.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)