It’s clear already that self-isolation can make us do some weird yet wonderful things. Sure, we could take the time to focus on ourselves, improve our wellbeing, or become fitter. But where’s the fun in that?
For some guys, quarantine is so boring they’ve started cutting their own hair. Even this writer is guilty (but it needed cutting anyway, so it’s justified). For others, it’s more likely a case of “why not?”. After all, there’s plenty of time for it to grow out again.
We’ve already seen some pretty horrendous results of what can happen when a man, or indeed his friend or partner, is let loose with a set of hair clippers or a pair of scissors, and so we felt it was our duty to bring you a definitive guide for cutting your hair at home.
We spoke to a couple of barbers, and they were in agreement that ultimately, you shouldn’t cut your own hair at home. Instead, you should wait until the restrictions are lifted so that when you do return to your local barbershop, the extra length will give you the opportunity to try something new.
But if you really can’t wait, then let us guide you on the path to a poster-worthy haircut, rather than one that will require you to spend the rest of lockdown with a bag over your head.
Tools For The Job
First, you’ll want to arm yourself with a good set of clippers. Your beard trimmer or body groomer won’t suffice here, as the blades won’t be strong enough to cut through your luscious locks. Since going out to buy a set wouldn’t qualify as “essential travel”, then you’ll need to buy a set, such as this one, online.
We imagine you already will, but make sure you have a mirror – you don’t want to go into this blind – and a good set of scissors. The ones in your kitchen will probably be a little too big to manoeuvre around your head, so try and get your hands on a more manageable set.
Now you’ve got the tools you need, how do you go about using them? We’ve broken things down to cover the three most common hairstyles men will want to be rocking: the clean shave; the fade; and the slight trim. So, without further ado.
The Clean Shave
A clean shave haircut is the simplest and easiest to carry out yourself at home. All you need is a good set of clippers and the courage to get rid of your mane. Choose a low guard, anything between 1 to 3, unless you want to go full zero, then just move it across your head in sections, making sure to go over each area several times so as not to miss any hairs.
You should also always cut against the hair growth, which will more than likely mean you’ll need to cut upwards. Go over the same section a few times to make sure no little hairs are missed. As for how the clean shave should look? Look no further than David Beckham.
Carly Flint a hairdresser at Mardi Salon in Caringbah, Sydney – which has a dedicated upstairs space for gents – recommends guys don’t try giving themselves fades at home. But guys can be stubborn and will appreciate a challenge. So if you are up to it, here’s what you need to do to get a perfect fade.
First, decide what type of fade you want: low, mid, high, tapered.
Once you have that locked down, it’s time to start cutting. Always start at the bottom of your hair, from the neckline. This is where you’ll cut the hair to its shortest length, so choose a low guard number – 0,1,2 – and cut upwards in short strokes. You only want to cut to a certain point of your hair with the low length, and once you reach the desired area, you’ll want to switch the guard out for a longer length and carry on cutting.
You want to finish around the temple line of your head before you start blending the hair together. You can blend using clippers, but you’ll want to arm yourself with a comb first. Use the comb to expose the hair you want to cut and then trim across it using the clippers. Continue this around the temple region of your head and you’ll soon start to see it blend together.
The Slight Trim
Some guys may be pretty happy with the hair they have already – or they’re too scared they’ll mess their own hair cut up – but will just want to give it a general tidy up.
First, you should get some clips to separate the long hair on top from the shorter sides. Once that’s done, Carly says you should “just use a low guard like a 2 or higher on the back and sides.”
If you’re not sure how long or short a certain guard is, always start with a higher number. You can cut it shorter if you need, but you can’t cut longer!
When it comes to tackling the top, do as your barber would. Grab a section of hair at the front and centre in your fingers to determine the length you want to cut it. Then work backwards, keeping to the same length you cut at the start. Do the same on either side of your head and then use the same blending technique as the fade to create a seamless cut.
And “for our long-haired babes…”, Carly’s words, “…they can put their hair in a high point tail and then just hold the hair straight up and snip the ends.”
For neck hair and hard to reach areas like over your ears, you’ll do well to have someone help you out. This is also where you beard trimmer can come in handy. Remove the guard and tidy up the neckline. Some prefer a straight line while others are to follow the natural growth line
Now you’re armed with the equipment and the tips, we don’t expect to see any more horrendous results.
Men’s Haircut FAQ
Absolutely. The buzzcut is one of the easiest haircuts to do, even on your own. When cutting, use the 3-2-1 rule. Work your clippers from front to back. Start on the top of your head and use a #3 guard, a #2 guard on the sides, and a #1 guard when trimming up the edges. You can easily keep your hair hydrated at home. Using cool water helps because it seals in hair moisture. You can also try to use leave-in conditioner. If your hair tends to be dry, shampoo less. Cut your hair when it is still damp. If it is too wet, you may end up cutting off a lot more than you mean too. Dry is also risky. Stylists have proper dry cutting scissors if you want to take that option.
Can I give myself a buzz cut?
How do I hydrate my hair?
What are other tips when cutting my hair?
Absolutely. The buzzcut is one of the easiest haircuts to do, even on your own. When cutting, use the 3-2-1 rule. Work your clippers from front to back. Start on the top of your head and use a #3 guard, a #2 guard on the sides, and a #1 guard when trimming up the edges.
You can easily keep your hair hydrated at home. Using cool water helps because it seals in hair moisture. You can also try to use leave-in conditioner. If your hair tends to be dry, shampoo less.
Cut your hair when it is still damp. If it is too wet, you may end up cutting off a lot more than you mean too. Dry is also risky. Stylists have proper dry cutting scissors if you want to take that option.