Cutting your own hair


When I was in kindergarten, my teacher reprimanded me very seriously when I tried to cut off a piece of my hair. I realize now that she had several reasons for being so concerned:

  1. The other kids might follow suit.
  2. There would be a ton of hair to clean up.
  3. Parents would freak out if their children chopped off all their hair. They had paid good money for those mushroom cuts!

I know for a fact that my parents wouldn’t have cared, but I won’t hold it against my teacher/sufferer of daily torture by children. Still, it has stuck in my mind as one of the lamest reprimands ever.

Why can’t I cut my own hair? There is absolutely no reason I should have to let someone else do it. And even when I do go to a salon, where the stylists have actually been trained to cut hair, I can never really convey what I want. They always try to convince me that I want something else, or that I’m going to cry if they do what I say. Why would I cry after getting bangs, when I came in specifically with a picture of bangs? It doesn’t make sense.

What does make sense is having total control of what happens to my hair and being able to hack off dead ends whenever I see fit. It also makes sense not to spend money. That always makes sense.

I’ll admit that, despite all this confidence in my reasoning, I was nervous to put it into practice. Luckily one of my friends gave me proper haircutting scissors for my birthday so I was approaching with at least some expertise, even though the expertise came from the scissor company, not me. I can’t seem to locate the website I used to instruct me (I just did a basic trim), but that’s ok—it wasn’t all that great. But my haircut wasn’t! My sullen, depressed hair wasn’t so sullen anymore and I had less split ends to pick apart at my desk.

I also had to combat the issue of bangs, but here’s a secret: The stylists lie. Bangs are really easy to cut and you’re not going to cry after you get them. I swear. I found The Beauty Department’s guide to be more than sufficient, and did not result in any crying.

And now that I’ve gotten through those novice endeavors and parallel anxieties, I’m perhaps scarily confident in my haircutting ability. I recently had a midnight revelation of needing to angle and layer my hair, as well as a deep need for side-swept bangs. After making the mistake of trying to do it with absolutely zero guidance, I found this video and was saved. The bangs, courtesy of this lady.

My mother was horrified when she saw how much hair was in the garbage the next morning, but she had nothing bad to say about my hair itself. In fact, I’ve only received positive compliments. Those are nice, but you know what’s nicer? Not spending $50+ for a haircut that’s kind of eh and sticking it to the stylist man.

A note on cutting short hair:

I cannot speak to this. I have had very short hair, but it was cut professionally. But I foresee myself wanting to go the way of the pixie again, and I would be willing to try it myself. I’ve only known two people—guys—who cut their own short hair. One failed and ended up having to get a professional haircut, but the other did just fine. Having been present for the former’s haircut attempt, I would venture to say that cutting short hair isn’t necessarily impossible, but you have to be more cautious with what you’re doing. Don’t just hack into it. You can’t keep cutting off more to hide the mistakes. I would do what I did—use youtube videos or you know, the internet in general, to find detailed instructions.

So, general rule of homemade haircuts: Don’t go in blind. Follow some kind of guide. You’ll be fine. You won’t need to cry, but you can if you really want to I suppose.

Oh and the guy who successfully cut his hair? That’s my cousin. This is his blog. He’s a cool guy.

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