OPINION: An amateur’s guide to cutting your own hair


Amateur’s Guide to Haircuts illustration

Being inside the house for this extensive amount of time can become quite humdrum. There are only so many embroidery and reorganization projects a person can do. One self-improvement task has seemed to strike just about everybody stuck inside currently: cutting your own hair. 

Many celebrities and everyday people have been posting videos and photos of their isolation crops, dyes and newly acquired bangs. Cutting your own hair might seem quite daunting and not for a lack of good reason. The numerous photos of celebrity hair mishaps and compilations of “haircut fails” can make the average person not want to have anybody touch their hair except for professional stylists. 

Fear not, for I am fairly experienced in the art of kitchen scissors/messy bathroom floor haircuts. I usually don’t frequent hair stylists. I have family members who are former cosmetologists so I can get that nice “family discount” (i.e., free haircuts). I’m also not always able to see those family members, which then leads to me taking scissors and my split ends into my own hands to fix. Now, if your hair is driving you absolutely nuts, here is my completely unprofessional advice on how to fix your hair without totally destroying it and your self-confidence as well. 

First off, no matter what you decide to cut off your head, do not cut your hair when it’s dry. Period. Any hairstylist will tell you the same thing if you decide to cut hair in general. When hair is wet, it stretches further than it would dry, which can prevent a high amount of shrinkage once the hair finally dries. So, make sure your hair is both clean and somewhat damp or wet when you decide to cut it. 

Another common mistake I see is the technique people use to cut new bangs or trim their existing ones. Now, I’ve had my own recent experiences in cutting some rather questionable bangs. I have also messed up my existing bangs and turned them into short, art school baby bangs that I cannot pull off, but that taught me how to actually trim my bangs properly.  You will need a thinner, more precise comb to run through the bangs/hair. If you’re cutting new bangs, you should collect the hair at the center of your hairline into a triangle shape; that will ensure bangs that go across the whole forehead. When you cut new bangs, cut them longer than you would like them to be, thus preventing further hair accidents. Use the thin comb to make them straight and eventually clean them up to the length you’d like them. I’d recommend trimming them about a half an inch at a time to prevent short or uneven bangs. 

When it comes to cutting the rest of your hair, similar rules apply. Make sure your hair is clean and wet. Do not put your hair into hair ties or any banded ties. They will only make it harder to clean up and harder to get even. I’ve done it. I know people who have done it. They always have to go get it professionally fixed. Just don’t do it. Like with bangs, slow and steady with gradual cuts has been the most effective method. Use thinner scissors to prevent choppy clips, and make sure you have something under your feet so the hair goes somewhere rather than just on the floor. Cleaning hair is never fun, so make it an easy cleanup.

If you’re looking for a new cut, the bob, chin or shoulder-length, is one I always recommend. It’s simple to do yourself if you have the patience to clip, then check, then repeat until it’s the length you’d like. A choppier, messy pixie cut is a similarly easy DIY cut. You can also use the same method, you’re just cutting it a whole lot shorter. Those two have been my personal favorites to do whenever I don’t have any access to a professional. 

For those with curly or textured hair, I would love to hear your methods of DIY hair cutting. I don’t have any personal experience with taking care of or styling that type of hair and I wouldn’t like to pretend I know how to. This is also my own experience of cutting my own hair, mostly through trial and error, and I am by no means an expert. However, I do feel like I have a technique for cutting my own hair down to a point where there are little to minimal mistakes in the end, which I would love to impart to anybody who reads this.

Contact Grace-Marie Burton at [email protected]