How to cut your own hair: expert step-by-step tips plus advice on choosing the right tools

Thinking about cutting your own hair with scissors? Or are you wondering how best to cut your lockdown partner’s hair? You’re not the only one.

how to cut your own hair

Thinking about cutting your own hair with scissors? Or are you wondering how best to cut your lockdown partner’s hair? You’re not the only one.

Despite hairdressers opening in early July, in the last few weeks of lockdown thousands of people have continued to search for how to cut their own hair - or their child's or partner's hair - with scissors and clippers at home.

This might be because they are shielding and keen to practice strong social distancing for health reasons, or it could just be that they can't get an appointment at their usual salon.

Naturally as far as your hair is concerned, cutting your own is not something that's recommended by many hairdressers or barbers, who've seen their fair share of home-hair cut ruins (opens in new tab) over the years. As our expert, found of  SALON64 (opens in new tab), Ricky Walters confirms, “Do not lose patience with your hair! In my years within the hairdressing industry I have only ever seen disasters when clients cut their own hair. Whether it be a little trim or simply cutting out the split ends it never ends well! Wait for all this to blow over and return to your salon as usual.”

But not everyone can afford to wait out the lockdown, so here are Ricky's top tips for doing it yourself...

How to cut your own hair - or someone else's

Watch a video for guidance

“There are huge amounts of videos and tutorials online on how to cut someone’s hair, but my first piece of advice would be to shop around for a video that speaks slowly, clearly and with plenty of detail.” Ricky says, “Do not just go for the first video you quite like the look of.”

“The key is in the detail – whether it’s flicking out the clippers when fading men’s hair (opens in new tab) or the amount of tension in your hands when pulling ladies’ hair (opens in new tab) down to cut. Details are key.”

Allow a margin for error

Ricky says not having a contingency plan this is one of the most common mistakes you can make when cutting someone else’s hair. “Your husband or wife wants 3 inches off their hair and I cringe as I watch an amateur cut a line at exactly 3 inches with no margin for error. Remember you can always take more off but you can’t put more on.”

how to cut your own hair cutting hair with scissors

Credit: Getty

Start from the back

For some reason everyone likes to start at the front, says Ricky. “For me this is the most important area and the place most visible to your client. Try and take less off starting from the back as a little test patch to find your feet and work slowly and methodically following an experts tutorial. [Find someone] who is a professional hairdresser and not an amateur trying to gain followers.”

how to cut your own hair cutting hair with scissors

Credit: Getty

How to cut men’s hair with clippers

Ricky says, “I do understand for those gents who like a tidy up every 10 days, 6 weeks feels like an eternity when your hair is out of control. There are some sneaky little tricks to making men’s hair look a little neater.”

Ricky advises, “Going around just the hairline with clippers (opens in new tab) or scissors and leaving the rest will make the messy locks look a little more purposeful. If you’re feeling brave, with the longest clipper guard you can begin to cut the first inch or so above the hairline.

“Start on a clipper guard so much longer than your hair’s length so no hair comes off, then gradually work your way down the guards until a tiny amount of hair comes off. This is your safety net and should just smarten you up ever so slightly.”

READ MORE: Top tips for cutting your child's fringe - and your own (opens in new tab)

cutting hair with scissors

Credit: Getty

How to cut hair at home: the essential tools

There's a whole range of products available to buy online to help with all your home haircutting needs, as sometimes a pair of kitchen scissors just won't cut it - literally. Naturally, you'll want to start with a pair of hairdressing scissors or clippers - we've laid out the best ones to buy and what they're used for - as well as a comb.

But it's also important to take care of your hair after you've cut it and you might possibly need something to style out any mistakes. So we've also put together some of the best styling tools and hair care solutions you'll need get you hair looking in tip-top condition.

Haryali London Professional 6" Hairdressing Scissors, £14.98

how to cut your own hair

Made of high quality stainless steel, these basic hairdressing scissors have precise blades, giving you everything you’ll need for any hair-cutting endeavours.

Professional Hairdressing Carbon Fibre Comb by Majestik+, £5.98

Heat resistant and durable, a Majestik+ carbon fibre comb is a suitable long-tooth comb to see you through your homemade hair cut.

Premium Sharp Hairdressing Scissors Set, £34.99

With this set from Amazon, you get both the thinning scissors, the normal cutting scissors all with a colourful metallic finish, and a comb in a complete set.

Remington Cordless All-in-1 Mens Grooming Kit, £30.23

This grooming kit from Remington is the perfect set of tools to get started on maintaining your own hair from home. It comes with a range of devices to help craft your hair and beard, as well as manage ear and nose hair.

BaByliss for Men Carbon Steel Hair Clipper, £29.99

cutting hair with scissors

This cordless clipper from Babyliss features a carbon steel blade for fast and smooth hair trimming. It also includes a battery trimmer for styling the hairline and sideburns, perfect for just a tidy up.

Braun Beard Trimmer BT 3021/3221, £19.99

For precision and accuracy when cutting a beard, this beard trimmer from Braun is one to go for. It's got 20 length settings and Lifetime sharp blades, along with 50 minutes of battery life on a cordless handset.

L'Oréal Paris Botanicals Safflower Dry Hair Mask, £9.99

how to cut your own hair

One of the best and most affordable hair masks for dry hair, the L’Oréal Paris Botanicals Safflower Dry Hair Mask uses a blend of botanical ingredients to moisturise your hair while invigorating your scalp for a more silky overall hair finish.

BaByliss Straighteners, £80

how to cut your own hair

BaByliss’ 235 hair straighteners are fitted with longer titanium-ceramic plates which heat up quickly and are capable of styling larger sections of hair at a time. With 13 variable heat settings to choose from, these straighteners maintain consistent heat on every section of hair.

Cloud Nine C9 Waving Wand, £109

Ricky says, "Curling tongs or curling wand (Cloud9 is my favourite) is a quick and simple way to get polished yet undone beach waves.”

This award winning styling tool is perfect for maintaining or creating curls in your hair. It has a unique temperature control which allows for flexibility with styling and even comes with a kick-stand so you don’t have to worry about burning surfaces as they heat up.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics.  She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.