Do you know the heartbreak of falling in love with a stylist one haircut before she or he gets a new job and leaves the salon? I’m still mourning my most recent loss—Indira gave me such amazing layers that I actually wept. Fast forward 8 weeks, and I was told she’d left and the receptionist “didn’t know” where she’d gon,e like this was the Witness Protection Program or something.This series of disappointments (plus the fact that I’m also busy and lazy and picky and broke) has led me to go it alone on more than one occasion. I’d rather stay inside on a Friday night and replicate a look I loved on my own than risk being potentially butchered by someone new. This is the truth and also a weird metaphor for my love life. Let’s build walls around our hearts learn how to cut our own hair together!
1. Get a pair of scissors that you use for hair only.
My current stylist Maria (she’s super talented, which means she’ll smoke-bomb outta my life very soon) doesn’t get mad at me when she sees I’ve cut my own bangs. But the one thing she keeps saying over and over again is, “Make sure you get a pair of scissors that are sharp and used for hair only.” Which means you can’t use them to cut open other packages of scissors. Just hair.
2. Get a bunch of mirrors.
I kinda ignore the back of my head because if I can’t see it, I don’t stress out about it. Try that mantra, it works for so many things! However, if we’re going to do this right, I should probably start caring. If you have a three-door mirrored medicine cabinet in your bathroom, this will get at least 75% of your head. If you want to see the way back (also what we used to call the backwards seat in my parents’ station wagon), you might need to phone a friend to help you.
3. Cut less than you think (or rather, snip).
This might be the most important rule of all, especially when your hands start writing checks your hair can’t cash. I’ve botched my bangs this way; it was not pretty, and I’m still apologizing to my sister for ruining her wedding photos. So snip tiny amounts at a time, then step back from the mirror. Check it out. Go back in.
4. Take your time.
Fo' realsies. And also, cut less than you think. It's so, so important.
5. Learn a little technique.
Try and think about how your salon haircut goes and mimic that as best you can. I cut my hair dry because there’s a really specific way I want it to fall, but most often, you’re probably gonna want to get at it while it’s wet. Also: it will look longer wet (particularly if your hair is curly), so keep that in mind as you adhere to the “cut less than you think” suggestion. This is a pretty good tutorial on the act itself. It’s a lot of parting your hair down the middle of your head and pulling it forward so you can see what you’re doing. Go slow and snip.
6. Start small—with bangs!
Bangs are a touchy subject because some people are really particular about them, but they’re also the easiest to do because they’re right above your eyes. You can’t go wrong unless you’re flagrantly disregarding the “cut less than you think” warnings and/or doing it blindfolded. But you’re not, right?! Right.
I’ve had basically every iteration of bang. I’ve also had what the British call “fringe,” which means “bangs,” but it’s so much cuter and why don’t we agree right now to use that term instead?! Anywho, right now I’m rocking a side-sweep. To cut it, I make a pretend scissor with my index and middle finger and clamp the hair between them at a downward angle. I likethe angle to be pretty steep so that the longer hair is by my ear, a la Emma Stone—but adjust it if you like your side bangs to be straighter like, say, this beautiful bride. When you’re finished looking at these pictures, slide your fingers down until there’s a only a little hair left left and cut along that angle. Brush it out. Check the length. Do it again in that order until you get what you want!
Now that you've read my rules, you may proceed toward hair-cutting greatness.Don’t sweat it. You got this.
Have you ever cut your own hair?