A trip to the barber can be tiresome and expensive, this is why most men prefer to cut their own hair at home. While it takes a bit of time and getting used to, in the long run, you actually save a lot of money.
So, if you’re wondering how to cut your own hair for men, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you have long hair or short hair, our complete guide will teach you how to cut your own hair like a pro. It’s a brilliant skill to have as you won’t have to worry about additional expenses or random trips to your local barber shop.
Over the course of this article, I’ll cover everything from the basic tools required for your hair cut to how you can cut your own hair. There will even be a section where I will highlight a few tips you can follow in order to get the hairstyle you want.
Recommended Read: Best 3-Way Mirror for Self Haircut
Table of Contents
How to Cut your Own Hair for Men
Tools Needed to Cut your Hair
Before you sit down to cut your own hair, you must check whether you have the right tools for the job. Here are some of the most important tools you will need if you’re going to cut your own hair.
- A pair of hair clippers – Hair clippers are essential if you want to cut your hair at home. There are many different hair clippers in the market, so you will need to find the right one depending on how thick your hair is and whether you’d like a wired or wireless clipper.
- A pair of scissors – Scissors can help you trim portions of hair from the top of your head and are ideal for touch-up work in small areas. They are practical tools to own and ergonomically designed so you can hold them and cut your hair in any way you seem fit. The only dangerous thing about scissors is that the blades are sharp and if you’re not careful, you can actually cut yourself.
- A mirror – In order to be able to successfully cut your own hair, you will need a mirror. A handheld mirror is great and convenient to use while trimming your hair. But if you’re planning on styling your hair including the area at the back of your head, you’re going to need a basic 3-way mirror. These mirrors are adjustable and can let you see the back of your head so you can get the style you want.
- Barber’s cape – Barber’s capes are necessary if you don’t wish to dirty your floor or bathroom sink. They will keep fallen hair off your clothes and will ensure that your sink and floor remains clean.
- Hair products – Hair products are only required when and if you’re styling your hair post your haircut. These can range from regular everyday hair moisturizers to gels and other styling products.
Choose the Best Haircut
If this is your first time, don’t fret. There are hundreds of hairstyles to choose from and different ways to achieve each hairstyle. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to choose the hairstyle that suits your face shape.
Try something easy, a regular undercut or fade looks great, takes hardly 10 minutes to pull off and doesn’t require much maintenance. Always remember, different hairstyles require a different approach as well as a different set of tools in order to achieve the desired outcome.
TIP – Here’s a method that really helped me decide on which hairstyle to go for. Take a small photograph of yourself and cut out only your face from the picture (without the hair). Search for “Hairstyles png” on Google and line up your picture with the different hairstyles you see to figure out which one best suits your face.
Prepare your Workspace
The first thing you have to consider is cutting your hair in a well-lit room. The bathroom is ideally the best place to cut your hair as you can create a dedicated area near the sink where you can place all your tools required to cut your hair.
I like to place a few sheets of newspaper on the floor while cutting my own hair to catch the loose hair, making it easier for me to clean up after I’m done. Whatever you do, always make sure the space you choose is large enough for you to move around and has bright or natural lighting.
Wash your Hair
Before you can begin cutting your own hair, you need to first wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner. Washing your hair prior to cutting it will make it easier to cut/trim and style.
Once you’re done washing your hair, make sure to dry it off completely as wet hair can make it harder for you to cut the right length.
Also, washing your hair will remove any hair products that can lead to knots or tangled hair and can make it harder to cut.
Start Cutting the Sides
For any hairstyle, you can start by cutting the sides of your hair and for this you can use a pair of clippers.
- Choose a larger attachment guard size and place it on the clipper.
- Gently run the clippers along the side of your head right over your ears.
- Make sure your hands are steady.
- Run the clippers along the same path on the other side of your head till all the strands of hair are the same length. You can gradually reduce the sizes of the attachment guards until you achieve the desired length.
- Point to note: Make sure the length of the hair on your sides is a few guard sizes smaller than the length on the top of your head.
How to Cut the Back of your Head
While progressing to the back of your head, make sure you use a large enough mirror or a 3-way mirror to see the back of your head. While cutting the hair at the back of your head make sure you go slow and keep a steady hand at all times.
- If you’re planning on creating a fade, trim your hair at the back of your head in line with the sides and make sure you use the same size attachment guards on your clipper.
- Keep your hand steady and run the clipper through the back of your head in a seamless manner.
- For a final touch, use an upward flicking motion with the clippers to blend the long hair on the top with the short fades at the back and sides of your head.
If you’re a beginner, you may find it hard to cut the hair at the back of your head. A simple suggestion would be to find the right position to hold your clippers before you begin and make sure you have a clear view of the back of your head.
But whatever you do, never go in blind.
How to Cut the Top of your Head
You can cut the hair from the top of your head with a pair of clippers or scissors depending on the style you’re trying to achieve. Clippers are ideal for very short hairstyles like buzz cuts or crew cuts whereas scissors should be used for medium to long hairstyles.
- Use a comb or your fingers to gauge the length you wish to cut. Make sure you remain consistent with the length throughout so it doesn’t look weird.
- Start with the crown and work your way towards the front of your head.
- While cutting long hair in line with shorter strands on your head, take hair from different sections on your head and cut along the length of the shortest. This can help you avoid missing areas where there are longer strands of hair.
- When you proceed to the front of your head, comb the hair downwards over your forehead and cut across from left to right at the length you desire (This should preferably be the same length as the hair at the top of your head).
- Perform a final run through with a comb and look for any irregularities or stray long strands of hair.
Clean up your Hairline
Once you’re done with the sides, back and top of your head, you can use a close-cut trimmer to clean up your hairline. A high-precision trimmer can help create a sharp hairline that will look really good.
The ultimate goal is to have a well-done job without a messy finish. You can use the Andis Professional T-Outliner or any other high-grade trimmer to run along the hairline curve, over the ears and down the back of your head.
Make sure the hairline down the sides and back of your head is trimmed symmetrically and refrain from trimming too far inward.
Rinse and Style your Hair
Now that you’re done cutting your hair, head in for a shower and wash your hair. Apply a dime sized amount of shampoo and conditioner to your hair and wash it thoroughly to get rid of loose hair.
Dry your hair with a towel and proceed to inspect your hair to see whether it’s the correct length and easy to style. Proceed to use a good moisturizer or hair cream to style your hair.
While styling your hair you will be able to check whether you need to make any adjustments to your hair and if yes, then go ahead and make those small changes.
If it’s only a couple of strands of hair that need to be altered, leave it be as when your hair grows out in a couple of days you wouldn’t notice any mistakes.
Tips for Cutting your Own Hair
- While cutting your own hair, always start on one side, move on to the other side and then go for the back. This will help keep your hairline symmetrical and look well-done.
- If you’re going to cut your hair using a pair of scissors, I would recommend dampening your hair first and then cutting it and this makes it easier to hold and cut.
- For those using clippers to cut your hair, make sure your hair is dry and don’t use clippers on wet hair because it can clog the blades and makes it difficult to function at peak performance.
- You can use a vacuum cleaner to clean your hair from the floor. Similarly, you can use either a barber’s cape or a sheet of newspaper to catch the hair as it falls, making the whole cleanup process easier.
- You can refer to videos on YouTube for specific styles and learn how they’re performed before trying it out yourself. This is a great way to get better at cutting your own hair, and you can even begin learning new styles or creating custom looks.
- Remember, it’s easier to cut your hair in the opposite direction of its growth. Run your fingers through your hair and find the direction in which it’s growing, then run the clippers in the opposite direction for a more effective cut.
There you have it, you’ve just learned how to cut your own hair. It’s easy to do and only takes a couple of minutes to perform. Think about it, no more visits to your barber and no more wasting money on haircuts.
I hope you were able to find this tutorial helpful in your journey to cut your own hair. We’ll be back with more!
As always, stay safe!
Darnell Jackson is a grooming enthusiast. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and has always been passionate about men’s fashion and grooming. Darbell started his career as a freelance writer, contributing to various men’s lifestyle magazines and blogs. He has since become a published author, with his book “The Art of Man Grooming” receiving critical acclaim.