Here’s everything you need to know before cutting your hair at home

Written by Hanna Ibraheem

Tempted to try and cut your own hair at home? Read this guide to how to cut hair at home first.

Cutting your hair at home (or learning how to cut your hair at home) can be a risky business, especially if you’ve never dabbled in trimming, point-cutting or, the very clever “dusting” technique. And, even though hair salons are open, you may find it tempting to trim off split ends and length yourself at home in these weird times. 

“As a professional, I don’t recommend trimming hair at home,’ says James Johnson, celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow ambassador. “But, if the need is there, I would emphasise you should opt for a trim, not a full cut. You can always cut more if needed but once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Instead, Johnson suggests upping your haircare routine with leave-in treatments to nourish hair and prevent split ends. “If you still need to grab some scissors after these remedies, you can refresh hair with an easy, subtle trim,” he says.

If you really need a trim and can’t or don’t want to make your way to a salon, we asked hairdressers for their advice on how to cut hair at home, no matter the length.

How to cut long hair at home

How to cut long hair at home

Here, Johnson shares his step-by-step guide to cut long hair at home:

1) Make sure your hair is dried and straightened, as this will ensure the hair is perfectly even. Sit on a balanced chair in front of the mirror.

2) Divide your hair into a parting down the centre of your head, splitting your hair into two.

3) Using a comb, slide your fingers down one half of your hair – keeping the comb level in a horizontal line. It is important you keep your head level and your body still, as any movements can cause an uneven cut. This is why you shouldn’t even cross your legs in the salon chair.

4) Keeping your fingers and comb level, use your chosen scissors – ideally sharper than kitchen ones – and trim the ends of your hair using a point technique. This technique cuts into the hair, not across, leaving the line more forgiving and textured. If you’re feeling confident, trim across for a solid blunt look. But remember, it’s important we only cut the ends, this is a trim, not a cut. 

5) Repeat on the other side.

6) To measure whether you’ve achieved an even cut, sit level and close your eyes. This is because our sense of sight can sometimes throw us off. 

Run your hands down each side of your head from top to bottom, keeping the hair in-between your fingers and your hands parallel. Your hands should finish at the base of your hair at the same time – this means it’s a balanced cut. If not, don’t panic, just trim the longer side accordingly to meet up.

How to cut mid-length hair at home

How to cut mid-length hair at home

“The best trick I could teach you tomanage split ends is a technique called dusting,” says Dom Seeley, celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow ambassador. “This involves taking the split ends away from the surface of the hair which will help to promote healthier hair and tide you over until your next salon appointment.”

Here, Seeley runs through his guide to dusting:

1) Take a clean, neat 1/2 inch-wide section of the hair.

2) Ensure you have a good grip on your hair. The best way to do this is to wrap the section of hair under your index finger, over your middle finger and then back under your ring finger – sandwiching the hair like a figure of three. This makes the split ends easier to see and ensures that you won’t chop major lengths off.

3) Reach for a smaller pair of scissors, such as nail scissors, as they allow for a more precise and fluid cut.

4) Run your fingers down your hair, maintain the figure three and trim any split ends that poke up.

4) You want to repeat this process until you are satisfied with the outcome. Note that it is best to trim clean, dried hair as products or natural oils will cause the split ends to lay flat so you won’t be able to see them clearly.

How to cut a bob at home

How to cut a bob at home

“One thing I would keep in mind is to make sure the bob is even,” says Johnson. “But, I would actually avoid trimming a bob at all costs. They require real skill to cut and, unfortunately, are best left to professionals.”

“If your bob is grown out, avoid trimming it and instead play and experiment with newly grown out styles.

“To cover up any outgrown styles, use accessories such as headbands and hair scarves to jazz up your hairstyle.

“Don’t forget, just because you’re not used to it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good. Sometimes the unfamiliar can create new, exciting looks.”

How to cut a pixie cut at home

How to cut a pixie cut at home

“If you have a pixie cut and you’re desperate to trim your hair, make sure to proceed with caution,” says Seeley. “My advice would be to leave the length that you have on top and what frames your face until you can get a professional cut. These parts are vital in keeping a pixie cut feminine and soft, so don’t cut this away.”

Here, Seeley shares his tips for cutting a pixie hairstyle:

Perimeter cutting

“Trim around the perimeter of your hair/hairline. Cutting around your ears and into your neckline in a point cutting motion (using your scissors to cut vertically into the hair) will create a softer appearance.”

Twist cutting

“If you have to cut any major length off your pixie, a good technique is to ‘twist cut’. Twist small strands of hair section by section and again, point cutting into the twist. This will create an easy blend but also acts as a guard to stop you from cutting too much off.

“If you can, get a family member or friend to help you with this. Otherwise, make sure to use mirrors and even your phone camera to give you a 360 view while cutting.”

Main image: Getty

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