The Right Way to Cut Your Own Hair at Home

Rachel Krause
Atli Mar Hafsteinsson/Cultura/Getty Images

Atli Mar Hafsteinsson/Cultura/Getty Images

We’re all about a good salon visit, but just as we’re interested in DIYing our own lipsticks, body scrubs, and more, how cool—and budget-friendly—would it be if we could master the at-home haircut, too? We may not be pros just yet, but we’re off to a pretty good start thanks to these fundamental rules of the DIY haircut.

Use the right scissors.
We’ll argue that this is the most important factor of a great (or at least, non-traumatizing) DIY haircut. You can’t just hack at your hair with any old kitchen scissors and achieve good results—proper hair-cutting shears are absolutely necessary, not only to get a professional look, but also to avoid damaging the hair by using dull scissors. You can find a decent pair of shears for as little as $30, like these Tweezerman Stainless Steel Hair Styling Shears. They’re definitely a worthy investment, especially if you plan on making a habit of home haircuts.

Start with damp hair.
Wash and towel-dry your hair before you begin cutting, or use a spray bottle to wet it with a blend of water and conditioner. Damp hair is much easier to cut, and while plenty of stylists feel comfortable cutting dry hair, it takes plenty of experience to get it right. Cutting damp hair enables you to better see how the hair will fall naturally, as it dries differently every time.

Consider your technique.
Cutting the hair straight across will result only in a super blunt finish, so if you want a more natural look, you should hold the scissors upright and snip directly into the ends of the hair at random to create piecey texture and feathery, less “heavy” ends. Don’t get too carried away, though, as thinning the hair out too much can result in straggly-looking strands.

Don’t change your style.
DIY trims and small changes are relatively safe, but leave the layers and bold new hairstyles to the pros. The more you try to change your look, the more likely you are to mess something up and land yourself in the salon for correction, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid when we go the home haircut route. Start small, and if you like what you see and want to cut more, then go for it, but try not to get too carried away until you’re confident in your skills. Practice makes perfect!

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