How to Cut Your Hair at Home

Sharon Lynn
Woman cutting her own hair

A home haircut can either be a tremendous savings or a potential disaster. Many people assume they can cut hair easily, but without the proper preparation, a bad hair day could be only moments away.

Three DIY Haircut Options

The best cut-your-own-hair options are ones that are simple, straightforward, and do not require a lot of skill. Examples of haircuts that might be appropriate to attempt at home include trimming bangs in between salon visits, a minor trim for long hair that is all one length, and styles that need only clippers. When in doubt, seek professional hair care services to prevent mishaps that can lead to weeks of bad hair days from a poor cut.

1. Bang Trim

Doing a bang trim yourself is a great way to quickly neaten up bangs without taking the time to visit the salon.

Materials:

  • Comb
  • Shears
  • Mirror
  • Duck clips
  • Sheet

Instructions:

  1. Start with dry hair. (Wet hair shrinks and will not give an accurate measure of how the hair will dry.)
  2. Using a comb, section off the hair you don't want to cut, and pin it back with duck clips. Bangs are the only thing left hanging.
  3. Decide how much hair you're trimming by using the comb as a guide. For example if you want the hair to hit your eyebrows, comb hair down, so the comb sits slightly below eyebrow, keeping the comb in place, and cut the hair below the comb.
  4. Divide bangs down the middle and cut one side at a time. Do not cut hair straight across at one time.
  5. Comb through to make sure both sides are even.

2. Simple Trim

A simple trim works on shoulder length or longer hair that is one length. Overall, layered or bobbed haircuts are best done by a professional stylist. Additionally, the technique described here is best for a trim of approximately one inch. If you're looking for anything more than a trim, consult a licensed cosmetologist.

Materials:

  • Comb
  • Sheet
  • Mirror
  • Hair elastic
  • Shears

Instructions:

  1. Wash and condition hair
  2. Put your sheet down where your cutting to catch all your hair
  3. Make sure hair is damp
  4. Stand in front of a mirror
  5. Comb hair, making sure all knots are out.
  6. Bend head over and comb all hair forward so it's projecting from your forehead (like a unicorn) to form a ponytail.
  7. Put in hair elastic so the elastic is closest to your forehead.
  8. Comb out the hair of the ponytail, so there are no snarls and no knots.
  9. Decide how much of a trim you'd like at the end of the ponytail, use your fingers forming a horizontal V to keep the hair in place.
  10. Trim above fingers straight across, using your fingers as a guide.

3. Clipper Cut

Doing a clipper cut is probably one of the easiest things to do at home. If you don't own a clipper, you can purchase one at a big box store or beauty supply store. They are generally sold with a variety of guards and are easy to operate.

Materials:

  • Clipper with guards
  • Mirror
  • Cape
  • Sheet
  • Comb
  • Shears

Instructions:

  1. Start with dry hair
  2. Put cape on and put down a sheet
  3. Stand in front of a mirror or have a handheld mirror
  4. Test your clipper with using the largest guard (the one with the highest number) to determine which one you need to use.
    • The smaller the number on the guard, the shorter it cuts the hair. A good middle-of-the-road guard to start with for clipper cuts is a #3 or #4 guard.
    • If you do not use any guard on your clipper, it will shave hair completely off, bald.
  5. Attach the selected guard to the clipper and turn it on.
  6. Tilt head forward and work the clipper in an upward motion, starting at the base of the neck, working your way up to the crown. Do this for all sides of your head, bending your earlobes forward and down to get behind and around the ears.
  7. Take your clipper over the top of the head starting at your forehead and moving back until the entire crown is shaved.
  8. Optional: After whole head is cut, you may want to go shorter. If so, remove the guard from the clipper and attach the next size down. For example, if you started with #3, you would go down to a #2. Repeat steps 5 through 8.
  9. Once you've completed clipping, take the shears and trim away any stray hairs around your ears.

Home Haircut Success

Whether it's a trim, bang, or clipper haircut, you can potentially save $100 or more a year in salon fees by cutting your own hair, though there are some risks involved. Styles with multiple layers or hairstyles that require cutting many inches off the hair could end up with disastrous results. By knowing what cuts to attempt and shortening hair in gradual steps, it is possible to create stylish looks right in the comfort of your home.

How to Cut Your Hair at Home