How to cut your own hair: the dos and don'ts of cutting the whole family's hair

Want to know how to cut your own hair? We've all given it a go this year...Use our top hints and tips so that it all goes to plan

How to cut your own hair
(Image credit: Getty )

Learning how to cut your own hair is a brave endeavour, but it's also the epitome of being resourceful, right? Because, heaven forbid hair salons close again, but having the power to take care of your own mop and of your whole family's hair too, is a great position to be in. 

Cheap, easy and dare we say kind of fun, however, this only applies when everything goes to plan...So, whether you've got long or short hair, a fringe or not, we've rounded up all the advice that helped us take care of our own hair – with great success – while we were in lockdown. 

One disclosure, we can help trim your fringe, cut mens hair, children's hair, get rid of split ends and give your hair a general tidy, but, this is not a guide to creating beachy layers or a pixie bob – we recommend you go to a salon for that. We have covered the basics, and that might be all you need, so keep scrolling and for more health and beauty related reads, make sure you check out our hub page.

To cut your hair at home you will need: 

Dos and don'ts when cutting your own hair 

Before you get started learning how to cut your own hair, here are some essential tips:

Do invest in the best tools

Do not underestimate the importance of proper hair scissors. And, we really don't recommend that you improvise with kitchen scissors, secateurs, nail scissors and all the rest. Scissors for cutting hair are specialised in doing just that, so if you are serious about taming your hair, invest in a good pair that will give you the best results. If you are thinking this whole trimming your own hair might become a regular thing, invest in the Jaguar Scissor - Pre-Style Ergo but if you're more thinking 'oh let's see what happens I am not going to see anyone for a while anyway', go for a cheaper option like Haryali London Professional Scissors

Don't cut your fringe when wet 

We know it's how some hairdressers do it (ours does it dry), but you hair will shrink up when it's dry so the length when wet could look ideal, but when dry, you could end up with a fringe so short it sticks out rather than down. So trim your hair when it is dry!

Try to speak to your hairdresser first 

If you have a good relationship with your hairdresser that you go to regularly, drop them a message and see if they have any advice. We have seen videos of people even FaceTiming their hairdresser who helps talk them through the steps. Or if you get a message in angry caps 'don't you dare touch it', we would recommend doing just that. 

Don't be pulled in by internet 'hacks'

You know the ones where something ties up all their hair, chops off their ponytail and voila, they shake it out into a gorgeous choppy bob. Guaranteed that person is crying into their lost ponytail as soon as they put the camera down, wondering if their 60 seconds of Tik Tok fame was worth it. Just stick to a simple trim please.  

Do get someone else to do it if you can 

Where it be a housemate or a significant other, getting someone else to trim the tiniest bit off you hair will ensure it's much straighter than you just guessing what the back looks like. If you do cut your own hair yourself get someone to check the back for you at least. 

Do cut in small amounts

Remember you can always trim off a bit more if you need to, but if you cut your hair too short it going to take longer to rectify. So always cut the ends of your hair in small increments and cut off less than you think you need to. 

How to cut a fringe at home 

Here we are just covering simple, straight across fringes. If you have 'bangs', 'curtains', nice whispy bits that come down either side of your forehead, leave them, let them do their thing until you get to see a hairdresser. Maybe invest in some nice clips.

Also this is not a guide to how to cut a fringe if you don't already have one. As we have said, we are all about the trims, nothing too drastic. 

For a straight-across fringe, tie the rest of your hair out of the way. Comb your fringe forward, making sure you can see a neat triangle section in the centre of your hair that fringe section comes from. 

Plan how short you want to go and use your fingers or a comb as your marker. Balancing your fingers (the ones holding the fringe) on the bridge of your nose will ensure your fringe doesn't end up too short. Now it's time to snip. Start from one side and snip neatly below the comb or your fingers. Don't do it all in one go, do it in sections so you can keep checking you are creating a straight line. 

Once you have got all the way across, comb your fringe down again and check it's looking straight and you haven't missed any bits. Go back in with the scissors if you need to – but don't get too scissor happy. Got really thick hair? Divide your fringe so that you do it one thinner layer at a time.

How to cut split ends 

If you can bear living with a few split ends, we recommend do, but if they are REALLY REALLY bothering you, here's how to just give the ends of your hair a neat trim. 

For this you can dampen your hair if it makes it easier as you will cut off such a small amount you won't be able to hack it too short. 

First, brush your hair through with a comb and tie-up 2/3 of your hair. If your hair is thick you might want to separate your hair into more layers, and if it's thinner you can just tie up half. 

For the section that is left down, start at the front and take a small section to trim. Use your fingers to mark a maximum of an inch from the end, holding your hair tightly, cut below your fingers to get rid of any dead ends. Keep working in small sections around your head and then repeat for the sections you have tied up.

One finished, check the length is all the same, trimming any bits that are very obviously longer.  

How to cut men's hair – with or without clippers

Use this expert advice from Braun to use hair clippers (on men, but of course, women, too). This advice is for cutting your own hair but we suggest that, where possible, you get someone to help – particularly around the back.

'Begin by cutting the sides and back of your hair. With the blade's edge, trim from the bottom of the sides to the top. Tilt the clipper blade at an angle as you work to create an even fade with the rest of your hair. Repeat this process on the other side of your head before moving to the back, making sure each side is even as you go along.

'Once the sides of your hair are complete, trim the back of your head, moving from the bottom to the top as you did with the sides. It takes time to learn how to cut the back of your own hair so be sure to go slow. To make sure you're cutting evenly, hold a mirror behind you so you can check your progress as you cut. Use the same guard length on the back and sides of your hair unless your hairstyle calls for something different.

'Next, go over the lower half of your hair with your clippers on a lower guard than what you started with to fade out your hair. Work slowly while using your hair clippers to ensure as even of a fade as possible. Be sure to lift your hair as you approach your temples and earlobes.'

How to cut children's hair

You kid's are obviously going to care less about what their hair looks like and just want it out their eyes so they can get on with making a tip of the house. When cutting children's hair use a wide-tooth comb and small scissors. Sit them on a chair and pop a towel over their shoulders so it doesn't get itchy and then comb through their hair. Using your fingers as a guide, sip away small amounts from the ends of their hair, being extra careful around their face and fringe.

 If your child has short hair you can use a clipper – start at the back and make smooth slow motions up towards the crown of their head, repeat the whole way round.

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