How to Cut
Your Own Hair

Don’t worry ... you can do it

Tom Hanks in Cast Away
Tom Hanks in Cast Away

Your hair now and then at the end of this self-isolation if you don't trim it.

If you’re not the type of guy who gets manicures or facials regularly, your haircuts might be the only part of your appearance that’s dependent on someone else. A good barber is a trusted expert every man should have in his life. And we're not advocating replacing professional haircuts entirely. But when you can't get to the barbershop (or, say, leave the house) you can and should take matters into your own hands.

The idea is to simply maintain a good cut and keep your hair from weighing you down and making you feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. And in such uncertain times, there's something freeing about cutting your own hair. You could just buzz it all and start fresh. Or you could clean up the sides and trim the top a bit—trust us, it's easier than you think. It only takes a few minutes and because the result is never a dramatic change, you always look clean and kempt. All you need is a steady hand, the right tools and some basic tips.

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How to
Cut
Your Own Hair

Get Buzzed

Begin by shaving the sides and back of your head with some electric clippers. Michael Gilman, founder of the Grooming Lounge, suggests doing this on dry hair so you can see the results in realtime. Use the guards to maintain length and start out with a longer guard setting. Then go down a guard (or two) to get a little closer at the bottom around your sideburns, ears and neckline to create a slight taper. Remove the guard and clean up the nape and any errant hairs on your neck.

Divide and Conquer

Make like a barber and slightly wet your hair. Then make two parts, one at the outer edge of each eyebrow, combing the hair above the part into the center of your head. This will keep you from cutting the top too short. Then comb the hair at the sides forward towards your temples and trim any excess hairs sticking out from the natural hairline. Finish by snipping any rogue hairs around your sideburns or over your ears.

Tackle the Top

Comb the hair straight up and start cutting into it perpendicular to the comb. This will prevent any blunt, straight cuts and also give your hair a nice texture. It also alleviates a lot of the risk of chopping off too much in one snip. Like with the clippers, start off conservatively and take more off if needed. As a rule, you want to keep the front a touch longer than the hair in the back toward the crown of your head.

Essential Tools

Clippers

Gilman suggests Wahl Professional clippers. This comes with a set of guards and even some barber combs.

Professional clippers,
$32.40 by Wahl

Small Scissors

Big scissors can leave some big cuts. These are more manageable for small, subtle snips.

Japanese stainless steel scissors,
$10 by ULG

Hand Mirror

Don't have a hand mirror? Your could try using your phone's front-facing camera. But Gilman wouldn't advise it.

Hand mirror,
$11.99 by Trixes

Comb

Even if you don't regularly style your hair with a comb, it comes in handy when you're cutting.

Swiss-made comb,
$16 by The Motley

Going to
Buzz It?

Don’t just run the clippers over your head.
Most barbers perform buzz cuts using the old “3-2-1 rule.” This means a #3 guard on the top, followed by a #2 guard on the sides, and finally a #1 guard to trim up the edges.

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