5 Barber Tips for Pulling Off a Short Haircut at Home

Elizabeth Denton
5 Barber Tips for Pulling Off a Short Haircut at Home
Photo: ImaxTree. Design: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER.

Those with short hair know the struggle. It only takes a few weeks after you’re due for a haircut to make you feel a bit…unkempt. While it’s best to head to a hair salon, it’s possible you’ll be physically distancing for a while longer. If you just can’t take it anymore, we’ve got you covered. We chatted with Oswald Wiggan, Master Barber with The Art of Shaving, to find out how to cut short hair at home. It’s possible without creating a big disaster—we promise.

“There are a few things you need to consider here,” says Wiggan. “Will you be performing this cut yourself? Or will you have another person with you in isolation do it?” If you’re alone, don’t stress. You just need to gather a few key tools to get you started. Take a deep breath, put down the wine and follow these expert tips to give yourself that much-needed trim.

riki loves riki mirror

Image: Ulta.

“Make sure you have plenty of light so you can see what you are doing,” says Wiggan. “Shadows can blur the area you are trying to cut and make it harder to get a clean line.” You’ll also want to grab a large mirror with a handle to help guide yourself. Bathroom a little dim? A light-up mirror can help.

equinox shears amazon

Image: Amazon.

Next, you’ll want to grab a pair of shears. Please, do not use kitchen scissors. They’re often too dull and can fray the ends of your hair, making it look like you have split ends. If you’re a beginner, skip over any thinning shears and other specialty types, notes Wiggan.

revlon tangle free combs

Image: Amazon.

Once you’re ready to start cutting, look closely at the lines of your last haircut. “The goal here is to just take those lines that already exist and clean up the look by trimming a little length,” says Wiggan. Take a comb or your finger to section off the hair you want to cut. You’ll want to start on the longer side until you get used to trimming your hair. “Pull the comb or your finger through the section and cut on the outside of the section in a clean line,” adds Wiggan. This can be done wet or dry but dry hair is a bit more forgiving. “Wet hair is more elastic, and it will be shorter when it dries,” says Wiggan. “So, if cutting wet hair err on the side of caution with length.”

Once you’ve cut a few sections, check the rest of your hair and follow along the same line, cutting the same small length all around. Snip any stray hair as needed. “If your hair is layered, this will be hard to execute yourself, so it is best to just follow the lines already there and trim,” says Wiggan.

conair clippers

Image: Amazon.

For many short cuts, you’ll also need to create a clean line at the neck. Grab some clippers and your mirror and map out the natural end to your hairline. “It won’t always be a clear line and people have different growth patterns,” says Wiggan. “Getting a clear line would pull up the cut too much in the back and make it look short.”

kiehls grooming

Image: Ulta.

When you’re done, don’t be afraid to really play around with product, especially if your hair is still a little longer than you’d like. “A slightly grown out style can look put together by changing the way you style your hair,” says Wiggan. “Where at one time a slightly spiky top can now be blown out and styled with a lighter pomade instead of a gel and swooped back.” There are no rules.

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