How to Cut Your Own Hair

nervous woman cutting her own hair
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Electric razor (optional)
What You'll Need
Electric razor (optional)

When you think DIY, you probably conjure up images of woodworking projects and plumbing repair. But if you don’t have access to a hairdressing pro, you might also be adding hair cutting to your list of DIY tasks. And why not? Cutting your own hair can be rewarding and fun. Of course, it can also be stressful and frustrating so if it’s your first time, stick with a basic cut, shave, or trim.

Home Hair Cut Pointers

Just like every other DIY project around your home, you’ll want to use the proper tool for the job. Make sure you’re employing sharp scissors. If you’re working with an automatic shaving tool, make sure you understand how the attachments work, unless a complete shave is your goal! Also make sure you only use clippers on dry hair, since wet hair tends to clump up and come out uneven. If you’re working with longer hair and wet it first, remember it will be shorter once it dries, so leave a bit more length, especially with bangs.

Short “Boy” Cut

boy cutting his own hair with a comb and electric razor

For a textured, short style, begin by creating a part around the crown of the head. This will be a line that goes from the hairline angle above your temple to the back of the head and around the other side.

Place all that hair on the top of your head and clip it out of the way. Then use the #3 guard on the power clippers starting at the bottom of the side. The blade should be flat against the head. Move it straight up the side of your head and angle it outward slightly as you reach the top.

Repeat each strip around the bottom of your head, allowing it to be slightly longer at the top than the bottom. Then move to a #2 guard and repeat the process, stopping short of the top.

Next, use the #1 guard with the same technique, only going about ½-way up the head. Trim around the ears and then use thinning shears or scissors. For the top, separate the hair into vertical sections. Hold each section straight out top to bottom, adjacent to the head and cut at that angle so the top part of the section is longer than the bottom. Continue that process around the head and then make adjustments as needed.

man cutting his own hair

Long Hair Trim

If you have long hair and a goal of trimming off some of the length, grab some sharp scissors and a few hair bands. Start by making sure your hair is very straight and combed through. Lean your head forward, comb all your hair to the front and form a pony tail near the top of your forehead with your hair hanging in front of your face.

Place a second hair tie about where your chin is to hold the hair in a gather. Then place a third hair tie at the length you wish to cut off. Use the scissors to cut straight across the hair, directly above the bottom hair tie.

If you want to add a bit of texture, remove the second hair tie. Separate your ponytail into three equal parts and tie them off to keep them out of the way. One at a time, remove the tie and hold the hair a few inches from the bottom. With the scissors vertical, make cuts along the bottom of the hair, called point cutting. These small snips will soften the original blunt cut. When all three sections are done, remove the three hair ties and check for evenness. Make adjustments as needed.

Bangs Trim

older man cutting his own bangs

Perhaps the most urgent motivation to dig out the scissors is bangs that are constantly in your face. There are a few ways to trim bangs, depending on the result you hope for. The straight across cut is the easiest, but may not be the look you’re going for. Instead, taper the sides as you work. To achieve this goal, hold the very center section of your bangs between your fingers, slightly away from your head.

Hold the scissors vertically and cut in along the bottom of your bangs, removing small amounts of hair and adding texture. This will leave the center of your bangs shorter than the outer portions. Be sure to work with dry hair for accurate length and check the length often as you trim. If you also need to remove length from the outer portions, angle the scissors towards the face and make microcuts to achieve the look you want.