Cutting your own hair may sound scary, and for some, the results may look scary, too. But lots of women just like you cut their own hair; and so can you. There are advantages and disadvantages, so to help you decide for yourself, here are five hot tips. 1) Scissoring solo requires the right equipment if you want it to look professional, and of course you do.
But professionals don't use scissors from the office supply store, from the sewing basket, or from the discount rack at the drugstore. To ensure a clean cut - one that won't damage your hair or leave the ends looking frazzled as if you used crummy tools - you need extremely sharp scissors made especially for cutting hair. The scissors you use to cut paper probably have two identical-looking cutting blades, joined together to form the scissor.
But hair scissors may have one blade that is slightly more blunt than the other, to help capture and hold the hair while the other blade (the extra-sharp one) slices it with precision. To acquire the best scissors, go to a store that sells supplies to the trade, and invest a little cash. Some people invest what they would normally spend for a designer cut at a hair salon, and that is not a bad formula to follow. Get scissors that fit your hand comfortably and are appropriate to the job - if you have short hair, you don't need the longest pair, and if you like choppy layers, you may want to also buy a pair that has gaps set especially for cutting the hair at different lengths with a single slice. Don't use hair scissors for any other household tasks, or they will dull quickly. Dull scissors tug and snag and it hurts, and they also wreck your hair.
To have scissors sharpened, you will need to send them off to a professional, unless you have one in your area. 2) Mirror, mirror, on the wall: To cut your hair, you first need to see your hair. You will need excellent and well-lighted mirrors, positioned so that you can see everything without having to twist your arms and head into a pretzel. Some people are really good at feeling their way in the darkness, but sometimes they end up with crazy swatches and unwanted bald patches. If you didn't see it when you cut it, you won't know it's there until people at the office or at a party start pointing it out to you.
3) It feels so good, you may not want to stop: Like many things in life, cutting your own hair can feel sensational. It's fun, it gives you a special sense of self-confidence and empowerment, it can save you money, and there is something special about the clicking sound of scissors snipping away those wayward locks. You can always begin by just trimming the ends, and work your way up as you gain confidence and skill. But be forewarned: it feels so good to cut hair that you may start off intending to trim the split ends and wind up with no hair left.
Cutting the stuff can turn into an obsession, like shopping for shoes when there is a two-for-one sale. 4) Learn from the professionals (that's how they learned!): When someone cuts your hair, watch which techniques they use. If he lifts it up with a comb and then cuts it, ask him why. When she reaches for a strange-looking pair of scissors, ask her how they work. Don't be intrusive or impolite; just be curious and conversational. The more you look, listen, and learn, the more you can apply your knowledge at home.
5) The long and the short of it, plus knowing your strengths and weaknesses: Whether your hair is long or short, straight or curly, colored or natural, the challenges of cutting it by yourself are essentially the same. You'll save money, and some of that savings will be offset by an investment in equipment to get the job done. Of course if you decide to throw in the towel, you'll at least have an awesome pair of scissors for making a scrapbook of your short-lived career as a self-stylist.
One thing that most people don't notice is that when you cut your own hair, there is a natural tendency to favor your strong hand and struggle with your weak hand. You may need two pairs of scissors, one made for people who are right-handed and another made for lefties. When you cut your own hair, the cut will tend to be off-balanced by the fact that one of your hands (the one your write with) has more dexterity. This can result in diagonal cuts when you wanted horizontal ones or deep cuts when you wanted them to be shallow.
But if you are aware of the natural tendency, you may be able to avoid mistakes made by overcompensation by paying close attention to the way gravity or your own grip tends to slant the scissors. Cutting your own hair is all about confidence, creativity, and a willingness to learn. Yes, it may seem like a pretty hairy proposition to a beginner, but even applying makeup is a major challenge if you've never done it before. Just as you approached that skill a little at a time and graduated from painting your nails and applying lip gloss to plucking your eyebrows and choosing the right shade of foundation, you can master the art of the haircut one inch at a time. And if it's not your cup of tea, there is still a seat for you at the salon, where you will be able to communicate with your stylist for a better outcome because your knowledge is now "a cut above" what it used to be.
John Williams shares his best ideas on how to cut hair, and on the latest hairstyles from his website.