How to Cut Your Hair at Home, According to Hairstylists
If you're going to attempt an at-home trim while salons are closed, here's what you need to know.
Whatever your state's reopening plan, you probably haven't seen your hairstylist in quite some time—and likely won't be able to for at least the next few weeks—and you might now be considering an at-home haircut. While we understand the temptation, we want you to know the risk involved. Sure, hair grows back, but there's a reason why almost every stylist we've spoken to advises against cutting your own hair: It's not an easy job, and it can go wrong very quickly. Nevertheless, we understand that it's not always easy to wait, especially when split ends are part of the equation. So, if you're looking to attempt a solo at-home haircut, at the very least, follow these celebrity stylist-approved tips, below.
Don't use kitchen scissors.
If you're going to try your hand at a DIY trim, make sure you have the right tools. Namely, anything other than kitchen scissors. "These are normally blunt or too big and will bend the hair—and damage the cuticle—instead of cutting it smoothly," says celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow global director of training and education, Giles Robinson. Even an affordable pair of hair scissors—like these from Diane ($13, ulta.com)—from your local drugstore will do a better job.
And if you can wait a bit longer, Nine Zero One master stylist Amber Maynard Bolt says that you can have a decent set of hair-cutting shears delivered straight to your door. "They are nowhere near the level of your stylist's, but they'll do in a pinch," she says.
Focus on your hair's ends.
In need of a refresh, but don't want to commit to a full cut? Celebrity stylist Kim Kimble says to use a split end trimmer. "This will take care of pesky split ends without having to commit to taking off length," she explains.
Remember, less is more.
Cutting your own hair is, understandably, a nerve-wracking endeavor. To save yourself from a trim gone wrong, Kimble recommends starting small and maintaining more length to begin with. "You can always cut more off!" she notes. Bolt agrees, adding that hair pops up and shrinks after it's cut. "If you're alone, then I would recommend small tweaks, like bangs, and face-framing trims," she says.
Use a reference point.
Getting an even cut might be easy for a hairdresser, who can step back and compare sides, but when you're snipping your own ends, that's not possible. According to Kimble, the best way to achieve symmetry is to choose a reference point on either side of your face or body and cut both sides accordingly.
Consult your stylist via Zoom.
It's safe to say that most people have a lot of extra time on their hands—especially those still in full quarantine. As a result, Bolt says that your hairdresser might actually be able to guide you through any changes you're looking to make on FaceTime or Zoom.
Cut bangs dry.
We know: Stylists typically cut hair when it's wet, but when it comes to an at-home cut that's focused on your bangs, always cut dry. The reason? If you snip them wet, they'll be shorter than you expect after they dry. When it's time to cut, Robinson says to start in the middle, taking away hair little by little. "Then, gently work around the edges in a downward curve, so the edges are longer; this will give a more natural shape," he says. "And, whatever you do, chip up into the hair—do not cut across."
Kimble offers an alternative method: "Start by combing the front section of your hair forward," she instructs. "Then, twist the hair into a rope with your fingers and cut straight across. Always remember to start off with a little extra length and take more off if needed."
Enlist the help of a parent, partner, or friend.
As a general rule of thumb, all of our stylists advise against removing more than one inch from your ends. If you're still determined to drastically cut your hair (as in, take off more than one inch), Bolt says to ask for help. "If you're trying to achieve a bob and your hair is long, you'll want to use small ponytails around your hair to cut," she says. "At least if you have someone standing above and behind you, you'll be able to get a somewhat even result."
Pro tip: Don't forget to save that hair and donate it to a foundation like BeYOUTiful. "They can use your hair, even if colored, to create wigs for people in need," Bolt shares.
Go longer—not shorter—with extensions, instead.
At the end of the day, cutting your own hair can be a lot more than you bargained for. Fortunately, your stylist will likely be able to fix an at-home job when salons reopen, providing you don't remove too much hair. If you don't want to take that risk, consider an alternate solution: Go longer to disguise growth, not shorter. "Because cutting your own hair can be so difficult, try camouflaging your between-cut length with hair extensions and updos," Kimble suggests. Consider Luxy's Halo Collection (from $189, luxyhair.com) if you're looking for seamless extensions you can take on and off.