How To Cut Your Own Hair: Hairstyling at Home

For some people, going to the salon or barber shop is an enjoyable experience. For others, it is something that they would rather not do. Whether it is because of the cost or other factors, if you decide to cut your own hair, you should keep a few things in mind. Here is our how-to guide:

For in-depth guidance on haircutting at home in a variety of styles, I recommend The Beginner's Guide to Cutting Hair. You'll gain the confidence to cut hair like a pro without costly trips to the salon!

Let's get started with these helpful tips.

  1. Wet hair is much easier to cut than dry hair. Start with hair that is freshly shampooed and free of tangles. Keep a bottle of water with a spray nozzle nearby so that you can dampen your hair if it begins to dry while you are working on it.
  2. Be sure that your scissors are nice and sharp to avoid pulling your hair. If you plan to cut your hair on a regular basis, it will be worth investing in a good quality pair of scissors, shears, or clippers designed specifically for use on hair.
  3. You might even want to get a RoboCut, a great haircutting system. No matter what style you choose, cut a little at a time, especially if you are a beginner. You can always cut it a little shorter, but once you've gone too short, all you can do is wait for it to grow back!
  4. Simple styles are best for home hair cuts. The easiest cut will be one length everywhere. Decide on an overall length (it's a good idea to measure your hair when you have a cut that you find especially flattering) and then grab your ruler. Working in small sections, comb your hair straight out from your scalp and hold a section smoothly between your index and middle fingers. Measure to the desired length and carefully snip off the excess. Continue in this manner until you have cut all of your hair. This method works equally well for both men and women, with long hair or short hair. The length of the chosen cut can vary from quite short to shoulder length and beyond.
  5. Do you have dry scalp and dandruff, or do you dream of regrowing hair? I recommend you strengthen the hair you have and regrow what you've lost using this ancient Indian remedy, known simply as the Herbal Hair Solution.

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  6. You may want to start with a professional cut and then just trim about the same amount of hair from all areas of your head every month or two to maintain the style. Be aware that on most people, the hair on one side of their head grows faster than on the other, so if you choose this method, you will need to visit your stylist every now and then as the cut begins to get uneven.
  7. Another idea for a simple, yet attractive cut is to lean over and comb all of your wet hair straight forward. Smooth sections of your hair through your fingers and cut all hair in one straight line across. Be sure to work in small sections and continue from one side to the other. Double check to see that the cut feels pretty even and then stand upright. Part your hair in the middle and comb it straight down. Run small sections of your hair between your index and middle fingers to see if there are any long pieces. If you find some, carefully snip off the excess.
  8. If you have curly hair, be sure to cut your hair considerably longer than the desired finished length. Curls shrink up quite a bit as they dry, so you must allow for this. If your hair is very thick or coarse, hold very small sections of hair for trimming. Trying to cut too much hair at once, especially for thick hair, can make the hair bend between the blades of the scissors, instead of cutting evenly.
  9. For all styles, when you think that you are finished, be sure to check that the cut feels even everywhere. Simply take sections of hair from opposite sides of your head and gently tug them toward your eyes, nose, chin and jaw line to see that the sides are fairly evenly matched. Carefully trim pieces that seem a little too long.
  10. For bangs, begin with your hair parted in the center. Using your comb, take an equal amount of hair from each side of the part line and comb it forward. Smooth the hair between your index and middle fingers and cut across, being careful to maintain a straight line.
  11. Currently, many men are choosing to wear their hair "buzzed" or cut extremely short. This cut can be easily achieved at home by using an electric hair clipper. These lightweight clippers allow you to set the blades to your desired length, ranging from completely bald to several inches of hair. By simply running the clipper across your head repeatedly, you will clip all hair to the desired length. For the easiest men's haircut of all, simply lather up with a thick shaving cream and shave your head smooth. This look is especially favored by athletes.
  12. One word of caution--keep it simple. If you are inexperienced at cutting your own hair and looking for a complicated style with many angles or layers, you will probably need to enlist the help of a friend to be sure that your haircut is even in areas that are difficult for you to reach.
  13. As you get more comfortable cutting your own hair, you may want to attempt more complicated styles. There are a number of terrific books and videos available that offer step-by-step guidance. A video can be especially helpful since you get to see the procedure in action and can replay it as many times as necessary to help you fine-tune your skills.


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yes, hair should be trimmed at least every other month. if you could do it on your own then you'd be able to save a lot! nice tips!

By Anonymous

Thanks Brett! So many people cut their own hair--or the hair of family members--with terrific results, and I believe that there are many more who would love to try it, but are a little nervous about botching the job! As you've found, it's entirely possible to have great at-home haircuts without the cost or unpredictability of salon cuts.

By Elizabeth Grace

I have long hair and have always cut my own hair at home, I think that the advice is great for people like me who have had a bad experience with a stylist and the trust is gone with the salon.

By Brett Bilak

Hi Angela! Thanks for reading and commenting. In these uncertain economic times, finding ways to save money is becoming increasingly important for many of us. I'll be sure to take a look at your site!

By Elizabeth Grace

Thanks, Danelle! When my kids were growing up, I gave them most of their haircuts. I usually cut my hubby's too, but like you, I send him to a stylist every once in a while to keep it looking good. I usually cut my own hair -- unless I plan to go really short and then I leave it up to the pros!

By Elizabeth Grace

I have cut my own hair several times. Lately I was just letting it grow and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. However, it gives me headaches when it gets long because of how thick and coarse it is. I finally decided I couldn't take it. I gave myself a great hair cut. In fact, it is one of the bests I have ever had and I have paid a lot of money to go to a hair stylist before. I also cut my husband's and son's hair. When I loose too much shape with my husband I send him to the stylist. I have been using an electric trimmer on my son, it goes faster which makes it easier with a two year old. Anyway...I think you did a good job with this article and if anyone sat down to follow the directions they would find it isn't as hard as they think!

By Danelle Karth

Great tips.. but i would say not for the beginners.. you can try it once, twice and thrice.. and fourth time.. its all your guide..

By akhil bali

It's hard work, I would prefer a hair stylist. [Funnily enough, I don't need to because my sis does all my cutting and styling. She, for one, has learned all her cutting and styling techniques from the web. She so needs to see this article]. =D

By Kashy Ali

Although you are providing good tips, the results are far from being guaranteed as they depend on whom uses the scissors or clippers and how well they do with it. I intend to stick with the professionals! The only thing that I do to extend the time between haircuts if money is a problem, I trim around the ears.

By Sylvie Leochko

Interesting- think I'll start with my bangs...

By jennifer reed

i trim my own hair in between salon cuts to save money, but you defo need skills in scissors to do it right!

By Marie Bulfinch

Seems simple, I will make a try

By Elhusseiny Shahin

He, He...I find this one amusing. This is quite useful for me because I just don't like going to the barber on a regular basis (they always seems to make me look bad afterwards) :-). Gotta try this. TY!

By Greg Quimpo

Great article!!! Actually I really tried to do it and when I found I was not able...I ask my mother to read it and she did it on me....wonderful...I got a nice cut now!

By Alexandra Castillo

Good, but would never attempt it. I once cut my sister's hair when I was in fourth grade. I cut her whole front fringe just in trying to keep the hair level straight. Got the nastiest rebuke from my horrified mum and my sis bayed for my blood..;-)..

By jasmin nanda

I have always tried to cut my hair but always ended up going to a parlor. Thanks for sharing the tips - very useful indeed!

By Anonymous

I like to buzz off my hair by myself...

By Marcos Riso

My hairdresser told me about this one: When your bangs get too long, carefully comb just the bangs forward and twist them together directly in front of your face so that you have a pencil-shaped lock of hair. Trim a *bit* off with a good pair of scissors, then comb out the bangs to see how they look. If they are still too long, repeat the process. It works well between cuts.

By Kathy Steinemann

The instructions are good, but... if you really want a good hair cut, go to a hair stylist. :P

By Alessandra Leonhardt

I've tried cutting my own, concluding that I must be crazy. The instructions in the article are good, but practice on a very forgiving friend first.

By Murry Shohat