Lessons Learned From My DIY Haircut

This is going to sound crazy to some people and I’m sure my friends will think I’ve become a hippie by attempting to cut my own hair. But I’m not one of those people who enjoys getting my hair cut. So for the last 6-8 months, I’ve been looking at websites and watching YouTube videos to find a way to cut my hair myself.

I’ve been cutting my bangs for 30 years, so it’s surprising that it’s taken me this long to take the plunge and try cutting the rest of my hair. My main concern has always been that any mistakes would be noticeable, given how straight my hair is. I usually go to a place like Great Clips or Fantastic Sams, and only a couple of times a year at that, so the cost has never been burdensome. It’s more about the hassle of going somewhere, waiting in line, and losing at least an hour of my day for something so basic.

I have a very simple cut: all one length with straight hair that goes about 6″ past my shoulders. I figured it would be easy to find a method for cutting my hair but instead I found lots of ways to cut long layers with a v-shape in the back. I stumbled upon this method and this is what I used to finally cut my hair. I’m very happy with the results.

Since I followed all the steps exactly as they’re listed, I won’t walk through those specifics. I also had a very similar end result as the pictures shown so I haven’t included any of my own. It was difficult to get decent photos anyway, since I was by myself. For a demonstration, you can search for YouTube videos using the description “U shape haircut.”

Here are my tips if you’re going to cut your own hair:

  1. Use the right tools. Make sure you have scissors specifically for cutting hair. I used these but anything similar should do the job. They’re very sharp and they worked great. Instead of using a scrunchie as the instructions state (does anyone own of those anymore??) I used an elastic band instead, already on hand from my local Target. A hand-held mirror is also a must, so you can see the back. I used this, also from Target. To make sure that the cut was straight, I used a level from my toolbox and set it across my chest.
  2. Practice. Walk through all the steps without actually cutting your hair. Do this as many times as you need to so you can become comfortable before you make any actual cuts. I think I did this about 5-10 times before I felt ready.
  3. Relax. It’s critical that you’re in a good place mentally and emotionally. Don’t attempt to cut your hair if you’re stressed out or tired. This will only lead to problems. Save the glass of wine (or any other alcoholic drink) for afterwards, regardless of how tempting it is to use that to calm any nerves.
  4. Cut your hair while dry. Initially I thought I’d cut my hair while wet, to ensure that the hair is smooth and straight. But after walking through the steps with both dry and wet hair, it was actually easier to work with my hair while dry. Doing this also has the benefit of seeing the true amount that you’re cutting so you’ll know the final length before using the scissors.
  5. Take your time. Plan on 2-3 hours total.  While the steps themselves only take about 15 minutes, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to work slowly. I took an hour-long break and then went back to do some cleanup with fresh eyes.
  6. Less is more. I cut close to an inch. Start small and then work your way into cutting more as you feel more comfortable doing so. I grew my hair out a few extra inches to give myself a greater margin of error and I suggest you do the same.

What’s most surprising to me is how it looks exactly the same as when a professional cuts my hair. The sad thing is that it actually looks better than a few haircuts I’ve had.

The hardest part was cutting the V in the back, so it’s one length. If you have someone to do this for you, I’d recommend it. Having longer hair would make this step easier.

I will definitely cut my hair again and I expect it to become easier each time. Do you cut your own hair? Would you ever consider it?