How to cut your own hair at home (long, short, wavy, curly, kids, bangs)

So your hair becomes long. Most salons reopened when vaccines have become available, but with a new variant spreading, you may be feeling more cautious. You can also have hard times find an appointment.

Stylists will advise you to avoid being overzealous with your scissors, but sometimes you have no choice but to take matters into your own hands. Cutting your hair is trickier than it looks, and this guide isn’t universal, but it should at least help you understand the basics of where to start.

Update for July 2021: We’ve updated this guide with new choices, updated tips, a new table of contents, and more.


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Do you Truly Need a haircut?

There are plenty of ways to change up your look without being extreme or doing something you might regret. Like my hairdresser Angela Layng says, “We never make our best hair decisions when we’re stressed.” Plus, stylists I interviewed pointed out that home haircuts can quickly go wrong. Correct watch the videos of people trying to give themselves bangs.

Before making any permanent changes to your hair, consider some temporary changes. It’s always a great time to grow your hair. You can also simulate a hair transformation. To create a faux bob using bobby pins or put on a cool hat. If your hair is long enough to make a ponytail, you can use a creative styling to create fake bangs no scissors required. Try to cover your head barrettes or learn to fishtail braid. Experiment far away!

  • Acquire help: Cutting your hair in the mirror can be tricky. If you can, have someone help you trim evenly or decide when enough is enough. If you have to go it alone, use multiple mirrors and take breaks to check out your appearance.
  • Consider the texture and length: Mistakes can be easier to spot if your hair is curly, short, dry, or particularly textured, so be careful.
  • Start small: Have you ever used a magnifying mirror to pluck your eyebrows, only to take a step back and realize you’ve gone too far? The same principle applies to your hair. You can always take off more, but there’s no going back once you’ve cut too much. It may be helpful to step away for a few hours before reassessing where you are.
  • Avoid horizontal lines: It might have sounded badass when Disney’s Mulan did it, but you don’t want to cut your hair in a big, horizontal line. Hold your scissors straight up and down along the length of your hair, rather than across your hair, and cut them little by little. This is especially important if you are working on bangs. Horizontal lines are sometimes needed to remove length, but cutting vertically prevents your hair from getting too blunt, a telltale sign of home haircuts. If you cut horizontally, be sure to follow with vertical snips to fine tune the ends and make the cut look more natural. If you don’t feel skilled enough to cut vertically, try holding your scissors diagonally.

Be conservative. Concentrate on cutting your hair, don’t try to give it a complete makeover. If in doubt, you can always wait and make an appointment with your favorite stylist once you are fully vaccinated and they have time to see you. Below are our top cutting tips, along with links to tutorials that will help you with the basics.

  1. Wash and condition your hair, then let it dry completely, as hair shrinks as it dries. This will prevent you from taking off too much. Remove tangles using a brush before you start. If your hair is unruly, you can spray it with water, but try to keep it from getting too saturated.
  2. Make sure you have your shears or mowers and one comb at hand. Use clips to help separate your hair into manageable segments. Cut with the ends of the snips rather than the entire length of the blade.
  3. Drape a Cape (or an old towel) over your shoulders.
  4. Follow the tips below that apply best to your hair.

Divide your hair and cut it into sections. Go forward one section at a time and determine how much you want to peel off – we suggest a quarter of an inch to a half inch. (Cut a little less than you might think.) Cut lengthwise, then trim the ends to add texture and blend it all in. Watch this video for more detailed instructions.

Short hair is one case where having wet locks can help. We suggest that you have someone else do the work for you. Less is more. If you are using scissors, have your assistant start from the sides and work around your head. They can use a comb to guide the shears and determine where to cut. Be very careful when trimming around the ears. This video is a good tutorial for a classic short haircut using scissors.

If you are using mowers, this is a useful basic tutorial. And to cut your own hair short, try this video tutorial, and consider using a special auto-hairdressing kit to make the process a little easier.

The type of cut you will want depends on your type of curls (check your buckle type here). For looser 2A to 3B curls you can probably follow this tutorial, where you work with dry hair and cut loop by loop at an angle to ensure voluminous results.

For tighter curl types ranging from 3C to 4C, try sectioning your hair, gently detangling it, and applying firm pressure to keep it from moving too much as you cut. This tutorial and this tutorial are two great options for heavily textured hair.

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