In 2015, when faced with the, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question, my response would not have included, “pondering or executing a DIY haircut on myself.”
In a normal year* I get my hair cut maybe 4-6 times. Because my hair is long and otherwise well cared-for, it hides my
negligence prioritization choices. That said, thanks to the scumbag pandemic making this not a normal year, I have gotten just one haircut this year before shit got real in the US. Normally, by this point in the year I’d have gotten at least two, perhaps three.
For me, this isn’t a catastrophe. As opposed to short styles, long hair can be lower maintenance than you think. Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been heat styling less. As a result, my hair is in moderately better condition than it would usually be. This isn’t just an act of laziness, but of strategy: I’m on camera for a least half of a given workday. As long as what frames my face looks decent, its fine.
A DIY Haircut
But, regardless, next month will mark six months from my last (professional) haircut. I was getting ready to tone my hair two weeks ago and decided I needed a trim – and I did it myself.
Don’t fret, though – I sought guidance. Kate from The Small Things blog is a stylist-turned-beauty-and-lifestyle blogger. Realizing that these are desperate times, she shared a tutorial on Instagram to help.
I did not follow this exactly – for example, I didn’t make a point of trying to cut my layers back in. But I definitely used that first step and a lot of point cutting to hide my inexperience.
The result? No awkward blunt edge that betrays my inexperience. No dramatic length redux. Just a dusting, which is all I wanted to undertake on my own. It doesn’t look foolish, and frankly most people wouldn’t be able to tell that anything was done. But I can tell, and I’m happier for it. It is tidier, the ends feel less dry and sad. Mission accomplished.
DIY Haircut Tools
Kate shares some tools in her video; here’s I used the following to make it happen. Fortunately, apart from the shears, a lot of these are tools you may have anyway for other styling purposes.
I did start my DIY haircut the way Kate describes, using a little trimmer to rough out a starting point. The exact cordless WAHL we have is discontinued (we’ve had it for a good 7-8 years), but here are similar models.
Scunci makes my favorite jaw clips ($4) for general usage; I’ve shared them before. They hold a LOT of hair and are shaped so they don’t stab your scalp. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most durable beasts. These ($14 for 6) are also a good pick for strength and sturdiness.
Section clips. I don’t like the ones I have, but I haven’t made replacing them a priority. I currently use a flat metal, “duckbill,” style, but am curious about the contoured, “crocodile,” or, “alligator,” styles. Here’s something similar to what I’m interested in trying when it is time to replace them.
Decent hair shears; I use these Equinox International 6.5″, $25. I can’t speak to whether these are actually professional quality, but they feel a lot closer to them than a pair of Conair shears from the drugstore. The weight feels good, they close smoothly and cut cleanly. I’m happy I bought them. I use them on me and to clean up errant strands when I cut my husband’s hair (with clippers)
The Bottom Line
You may not have access to a stylist right now. You may have access, but the ROI on the risk just isn’t there for you, like me (salons have been open in my area since June-ish but it really just feels unnecessary to me right now). Whatever your reason for considering a DIY haircut, I hope that these tips and tools help you.