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The Dos and Don'ts of Cutting Your Own Hair

Planning a DIY trim? Here's how to make sure you avoid a disaster.
The Dos and Don'ts of Cutting Your Own Hair
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Planning a DIY trim? Here's how to make sure you avoid a disaster.

Picking up the scissors to cut your own hair should be your absolute last resort. The chances of you messing up are too high, especially when you don't have the right tools and don't know the correct techniques.

That's why, if you can, always have your haircuts done by a professional—it's for your (and your hair's) own good. The only time you should consider DIY trims as an option is when your bangs or split ends are already out of control and you can't run to the salon. And fine, there's also the rare occasion of getting gum stuck on your hair (read: try dislodging it with oil first!) and accidentally knotting your hair in your sleep. Whichever situation you might be in, having a few haircut techniques up your sleeve may come in handy eventually. Besides, if you'll DIY a cut, might as well make it good!

For a list of dos and don'ts to keep in mind, keep scrolling!


How to Cut Your Own Hair at Home

1. DO check your hair's condition beforehand.

You know how hairdressers do consultation before cutting your hair? Try to give yourself the same treatment in front of a mirror. This way, you'll see exactly how much you need to trim (or if you need a trim) and which areas need some extra attention. Who knows, seeing all the little details might even convince you that you don't need to cut your hair at all. (Click here for the telltale signs that you need a haircut.)

2. DO use proper haircutting tools.

The first thing that pros don't want you to do is to cut your hair with kitchen scissors, let alone a razor. As much as possible, you'll want to use cutting shears (the scissors pros use) for your at-home cuts since these are sharp enough to help you get a more blended effect than an awkward trim. You'll also need a fine-toothed comb for sectioning your hair, sectioning clips, and hair ties to hold those sections, and a brush for sweeping bigger sections.

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3. DO cut your hair dry.

Leave the wet haircuts to the professionals and do your DIY trim on dry, freshly-washed hair. "What dry hair is useful for is seeing the actual outcome of what you're doing sooner rather than later. Once you cut a piece, you know exactly what it's gonna look like when it's dry because it is dry," explains hairstylist Brad Mondo.


4. DO cut vertically.

Regardless if you're trimming your ends or your bangs, avoid cutting straight across (horizontally) with your scissors. Always cut vertically for trimming and thinning. The point cutting technique (as pros call it) will help you achieve a more diffused, blended effect instead of a thick blunt cut. Speaking of blunt cuts, don't try to achieve one at home because it will turn out uneven without a second pair of eyes and the required professional skill.


5. DO section your hair before cutting.

It's safer to go slow if you're cutting your own hair, and sectioning is one way to avoid major mistakes. Use sectioning clips or hair ties to separate your locks into small groups and work on a by-section method while cutting. Once you're done with every section, that's the only time you can let your hair down and fix what you might've missed.


6. DON'T pull all your hair to the front.

Although you can see your hair better when it's all the way in front The Ring style, the only thing that will do is give you overhanging length or an uneven cut. You'll want to fix your strands the way that you usually wear them, your partition included, and make sure that everything is laid flat before you start cutting.

For an in-depth tutorial at a self-haircut, watch the video below!

7. DON'T hold your bangs while trimming.

If you're trimming your bangs, use a fine-toothed comb to lay all your hairs flat on your forehead to have an accurate view of the length. Once it's flat, run the comb through the fringe until an inch above where you want to cut and use that as your guide instead of pulling at your hair with your hands. "I don't really like to use fingers just because it puts space in between [the bangs], and then when you're cutting, it'll bounce right up so you're really cutting more than you should be," hairstylist Suyen Salazar tells Preview. Also, remember to cut vertically!

PHOTO BY Preview

8. DON'T cut the shape away from your bangs.

You want your bangs to frame your face properly, so go slow and follow the way your hairdresser cut them for you. For one, pay close attention to the area by your temples (or the end of your brows) and avoid trimming that part of your fringe above your eyebrows, or else you'll lose shape there. Watch the video below for a full tutorial!

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