How to Cut Your Own Hair: Self-Styling Tips

Here are some hints and tips on how to cut your own hair, and what to consider if you plan on skipping the salon and giving yourself a trim instead.

Keeping your hair well maintained with cuts, colors and conditioning products can be expensive. It is advisable to get your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks, but the costs of heading to a salon can soon mount up.

If you fancy yourself as a budding hairdresser or are handy with a pair of scissors, it is possible to cut your own hair. Trimming your own locks at home can be considered risky and a little nerve-wracking at first (while others would never consider this option at all), but once you get the hang of it, it can be a great way to keep hair in good condition between salon visits.

Be well-prepared

haircut illustration

Rule number one when considering a DIY haircut is to equip yourself properly. The right tools are crucial, so if you don’t already have them, head out and invest in them. You will need a sharp pair of hair scissors (go for good quality, as this is the essential tool), a fine toothed comb, clips and a mirror. It is also good preparation to have observed a hairdresser closely when they cut your hair to get a good idea of what it entails.

Most of the time when you visit a salon, you let them do the work and you sit back, but next time, try to observe what they do and how they do it for some insider tips.

Before you cut your hair, prepare it by washing but not drying. It is much easier to cut wet hair than dry hair, and then comb through thoroughly, detangling any knots. Grab your clips and section hair off and out of the way. Once you start the cutting, you can release the section you want to work on.

How much to cut?

Nearly ready for the cut! The main piece of advice here is to start MUCH more conservatively than you might want to. If you plan to take off 2 cm of hair, always start with 1cm or even 0.5 cm – you can always take more off the length, but you can’t stick it back on!

Measure out the amount you want to cut off the hair, allowing for some error and the option of having to cut a little more still of the length to fix it.

Cutting time begins

Young Pretty Woman in Side View Trimming Her Hair Using Scissors

Now it is time to go in for the cut. Grab the measured hair and place it between the index and middle finger of your non-dominant hand. If you are cutting with your right hand, use your left to hold the hair in steady and in place. Trim the ends and keep tension on the hair (ensuring it is still wet).

Keep matching both sides of the hair to ensure you are not cutting it wonky. You can do this by pulling the hair on each side tight and running your fingers down the hair at the same pace on both sides – they should come to the end of the hair at the same time.

Styling the hair

If you have knowledge or experience in hair cutting, you can experiment with layers and fringes, but these take more skill than an average straight trim. It is better to start with a straightforward and small trim the first time, and build up with experience.

Grab a friend for a second opinion if you do plan on trying anything you are not 100% comfortable with. Think about the layers you want to cut and how to frame your face. When cutting a fringe, remember that the hair will dry much shorter, so always cut less than you think you need to.

Angle the scissors so that you do not only cut straight across but cut up and into the hair as well, to layer and thin sections out (particularly the fringe) – this makes it less of a block cut and more textured and natural.

Check and re-check

Beautiful curly hair and hairdressers tools

Once the hair has dried off, check it carefully and ensure the trim is straight all the way around. If it is your first time cutting your own hair, it is best to have a friend or family member present, who can give you a helping hands if necessary. Alternatively, make sure you have two mirrors present – one in front and a hand-held one to see the back of your head.

Practice makes perfect

The more you cut your hair, the easier it gets. Having said that, nothing beats a professional touch and it is advisable, so check in at your salon from time to time. Sometimes, a DIY job may not be the best plan for you, especially if you lack patience, or if your hair is particularly thick, curly or coarse.

Only you know your hair and your skills and strengths, but don’t jump in to trying something without ensuring you have the proper equipment and lots of time on your hands. Take extra care when cutting near your ears, eyes (for side fringes) and around the jaw line or close to the neck to avoid any nips and cuts.

Once you have cut your hair, in what appears to be a nice straight line, you will feel great pleasure at having a DIY style, healthier looking hair and having saved some money.

Have you ever cut your own hair, and if so, how did it go? Are you a pro with some tips to share with our readers? Or have you had any hair cutting disasters? Share your story with us below!

About the author


Rachel A.

Welsh Journalism graduate and full-time writer Rachel has a love of words! A workaholic with champagne desire on a lemonade budget, Rachel is most at home with her laptop on her knee and a cup of tea close by.

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