So, you are the proud new owner of a pair of hair clippers — and not the kind for man’s best friend. You’re getting into the business of trimming your own mane. And, you’re likely doing it for one of a few reasons, mainly surrounding the fact that the trip to the barbershop every few weeks for a trim isn’t cheap or convenient. Or, maybe you’re just feeling extra confident in your hair clipping skills and want to prove that you can DIY your own new ’do.
We appreciate your chutzpah, but when it comes to making the cut, the “don’t try this at home” mantra takes on a whole new meaning. It can be harder than it looks to shape your strands yourself.
Really, the best kind of hair cut to give yourself is a basic, at-home trim that only requires clippers (leave the scissors to the professionals!) and that will keep your head and neck looking as sharply groomed as possible in between periodic visits to the barber. Of course, for those who rock a tight buzz cut or something similar, the at-home maintenance is even more straightforward.
That said, consider this group of hairdos your “don’t” list for home hair cuts; call it your unofficial warning label for those clippers. After all, you don’t want to leave yourself with an uneven, hair-raising style that will turn heads for all the wrong reasons. Remember: Measure twice; cut once. Or, something like that.
1. Cuts to wet hair
While it may seem contrary to what you’re accustomed to, it’s best to self-cut your hair when it is completely dry — and not just towel-dried, either. Clippers can be tricky to use on wet hair, for one thing. And it’s also easier to measure your progress in real-time throughout the trim when your hair is dry. Hair is longer and has less volume when it is wet, so it can be hard for a novice to gauge a cut; you don’t want to cut too much and be in for a rude awakening by the time your newly short hair dries.
2. Cuts requiring more than an inch
When it’s time to scissor off more than about an inch or so, you will likely be better off paying a visit to a pro. No matter how adept your barber skills are, it’s difficult to self-cut and self-style anything that requires a more dramatic shaping process.
3. Face-framing cuts
Think about this: Your female friends might trim their own existing bangs, but they would likely never cut bangs into a no-bangs ’do without going to the salon. The same goes for the guys. Face-framing cuts can be particularly problematic to get right and they also leave you hyper-exposed. You might be able to hide a slip-up in the back or on the sides of your head, but it’s hard to disguise a mistake that’s right in front of your face.
4. Tapered cuts
Just like the closer attention to detail that is required with face-framing styles, any type of more complex layered or tapered look that involves different lengths of hair should best be left to the experts. Even lightly trimming the hair on the back of your head is tough enough as it is, especially when it comes to the layering by the neckline. A particularly popular style among the trendsetting male right now is a cut that is short on the sides with a longer pomp on top — you’ve seen Justin Bieber and David Beckham, among many others, rocking the ’do. But, don’t do it at home. No matter how steady your hand, it will be difficult to ensure that each side along with the back side is even.