How to cut your hair at home

Millions of us are really missing our regular visits to the hairdresser, but before you try to tame your mane yourself, or get someone in your household to do it, it’s worth doing a bit of homework first.

Social media is awash with photographs of people whose home haircuts have gone terribly wrong in recent weeks, perhaps because they’ve got too trigger-happy with the clippers or have found that cutting in a straight line is much harder than it looks.

Thankfully, there are plenty of videos available online which talk you through the hair-cutting process if you’ve decided to take matters (and the kitchen scissors) into your own hands – or if someone who lives with you is going to do it for you.

Bear in mind that even if you watch all of them, it usually takes several years to train as a professional hairdresser, so you’re unlikely to end up looking like you’ve just stepped out of a salon.

Ideally you should wait until lockdown rules are eased and you can visit your hairdresser for a proper cut, but for anyone determined to take a DIY approach we’ve rounded up some YouTube tutorials which might be useful, from the UK, Europe, and across the pond.

We’ve also got some top tips from hair stylist and tutor Glenda Cresswell, one of our very own Rest Less Pioneers, to help ensure you don’t end up as another home haircut horror story…

Haircut advice videos

Take a look at the videos below for advice on how to cut hair.

Women - short hair

If you’re cutting short hair, or want someone in your household to give you a short cut, HZDFK’s Women’s Barbershop, based in the Netherlands, has come up with an easy tutorial on how to cut a short hairstyle for women.

If you’re on your own and want to cut your hair yourself, Tricia Cusden, who’s better known for her ‘make up for older women’ YouTube tutorials has put together a ‘How to trim your hair at home video which distils all the main messages she’d gleaned from professional hairdressers.

Women - longer hair

For those with longer hair, who want a cut but don’t want to lose too much of the length, Cash Lawless, a celebrity hair stylist based in Los Angeles, has come up with the following video on ‘How to cut your own hair and not screw it up’.

If you’ve got someone to cut your hair, or you’re cutting theirs, US hair stylist The Salon Guy has a tutorial on cutting medium length layers.

Men - clipper cut

If your wife or partner is cutting your hair for you, then Tips for Clips Haircutting has produced this video showing how to use clippers and cut men’s hair.

If you are cutting your own hair with clippers, take a look at Clarks Condensed’s tutorial on ‘How to cut your own hair with clippers – for men’. He’s not a professional barber, but has been cutting his own hair for more than a decade and so has lots of useful tips.

Men - scissor cut

If you only have scissors rather than clippers, Regal Gentleman’s classic scissor cut short back and sides video could prove useful.

If you live alone, or no-one in your household is prepared to cut your hair for you, the ‘Easy home haircut’ for men by American image consultant Alpha M is worth a watch.

Top tips if you’re cutting hair at home

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and cut yours, or anyone else’s hair, whilst at home, here are some tips which might help.

1)   Use the right tools. Kitchen scissors might be good for opening food packaging, but they’re not so good for trimming tresses. If you can, order some professional hair scissors for a much neater cut. Glenda Cresswell, hair stylist and tutor, and Rest Less Pioneer, said: “You can’t expect the same level of cut from your kitchen scissors. Hairdressers’ scissors are tempered steel with a special angle. You could liken it to an ordinary kitchen knife versus a chef’s knife.”

2)   Avoid making any radical changes. Going from long hair to a bob for the first time, for example, is likely to be extremely difficult, and best left to the experts, so stick with trimming what’s there. If you are trimming a fringe, Glenda has the following advice: “Don’t pull it down too far or put too much tension on it otherwise it springs a long way back and ends up much shorter than planned. Don’t arch your fringe either. It should sit between both eyebrows, no further back. Between your eyebrows is the most flattering.”

3)   If you have curly hair, hairdressers usually advise cutting it dry rather than wet, so you can see exactly how much you’re taking off. Curly hair looks much longer when wet but can spring back up when dry, so there’s a risk of you cutting it much shorter than you mean to if you trim it when it’s wet. If your hair is straight and you want it to all be the same length, you should dampen it before you begin as this may make it easier to cut clean lines.

4)   Take off small amounts gradually rather than hacking off big chunks – if you cut too little, you can always trim a bit more off, but if you cut too much, you can’t put it back.

5)   Grey roots are an issue for lots of people who usually colour their hair at the moment, but you should think very carefully before attempting a home hair dye job. Ideally you should seek advice from your hairdresser by phone or email first, and always carefully check the instructions for any product you buy before using it. Glenda says: “If you have to use a colour touch up, make sure you tell your hairdresser when you go back to the salon as there is some preparation they will need to do otherwise the colour may not take.” If you just need a quick temporary fix, perhaps because you’ve got a video call with work colleagues or friends, you could consider using mascara to touch up your roots, or a wash-out root concealer spray.

6)   Don’t despair if it all goes horribly wrong. You can always don a hat until lockdown ends and you’re able to get to the hairdresser!

Learn how to be a hairdresser

If you’ve enjoyed cutting your own hair, or your partner’s or family’s hair during the lockdown, and it’s got you thinking about whether you could take up hairdressing professionally, check out our guide to How to become a hairdresser.

Who knows, you might just end up being the next Nicky Clarke…

Have you had a go at cutting your own hair during lockdown? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with others on cutting hair? We’d love to hear (or see!) them if so…  Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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