How to Trim Your Own Hair: Step by Step Tutorial

7U6A6600Thank you for this great guest-post, Buzzcut Guy and Friends! (follow their Tumblr for more hair tips and trends.)

You know what’s the difference between a good and bad haircut? Two weeks.

A self-cut, on the other hand, takes months of repair. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there. I’ve been cutting my own hair for years now, and my first DIY haircut was disastrous. Like tears-were-shed disastrous. However, I got so much from cutting my own hair that I decided to share my tips and skills with you guys and teach you everything I’ve learnt through the last years.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your hair. Come on, it always grows back!


Why should you cut your own hair?

You can probably already figure out that cutting your own hair will save you tons of money. You might need to invest some money first into quality hair cutting tools, but I assure you, it will definitely pay off because we’re talking about you cutting your own hair on a long term.

Another thing I noticed about me in these last few years is that I got more into fashion and trendy hairstyles. I’m constantly checking what’s new in the fashion world, so I’m always updated with the latest trends. So, not only will you improve your hairstyle, but you will also improve your whole style and image in general.

And last but not least, you will become your own best hairdresser. Okay, you might miss the chit-chat time with your hairdresser, but think of the expense. Sometimes your hairdresser can’t see your vision and that’s where being your own best hairdresser comes into play.

Now, ready to get complimented on your hairstyle? The sooner you learn how to cut your own hair, the sooner you’ll get better at it. Read my detailed tutorial and you will become the best personal hairdresser to the most special and important client you will ever have – yourself.

The Tools

I said it before, I’ll say it again. Once you start cutting your own hair, you’ll be saving lots of money, so it would be nice to spend more money upfront in order to get high-quality, long-lasting hair cutting tools. So, let’s gear up, shall we?

What you need is quality professional scissors/clippers (depends on the length), clips, spray bottle with water, two mirrors, and a comb. We recommend the Wahl Deluxe Self Cut Do It Yourself Haircut Kit
And no, your old scissors won’t be of a help here. They will cause more harm than good. Only a professional gear will make the haircutting process hassle-free and easy, and moreover, it will prevent hair damage. So, opt for scissors that deliver clean cuts, won’t go blunt nor make your hair split.


DIY haircut can certainly be risky. But once you get used to it, you’ll see it’s pretty simple. Practice makes it perfect, so before introducing your new scissors to your hair, try doing your bangs for some time. This way, you will get used to the DIY haircut feeling.

Most tutorials start by telling you to cut your hair while it’s still wet. I’ve done it on dry and wet hair, and for me, there’s no difference. Just be sure to comb your hair thoroughly and keep one thing in mind: if you cut your hair while it’s still wet, don’t get too carried away when deciding about the length because wet hair shrinks up as it dries.

So, wet or dry, it doesn’t matter. What matters though is that you must wash your hair, condition and detangle it before you start cutting.

Step by step tutorial for long hair

Step 1: Go all Marcia Brady on your hair

Comb your hair as straight as possible and make sure every single tangle is removed. If this is your first time, I advise you to dry your hair so that you can see the results better in real-time. Part your hair in the middle and bring the two sides forward. Comb both sides carefully. When you think you’re done, you’re not! Tilt your head back and comb some more. Do it! *Shia LaBeouf voice*

Step 2: One side

Okay, now we’re gonna concentrate on one side at a time. Hold one part in place with a clip or scrunchie. Comb the other side and get ready for cutting. Grab the hair ends with one hand, take the scissors with your dominant hand, and don’t panic! It’s easy!

Step 3: Chop chop

Do you have a firm hold? I need you to have a firm hold. You must have a firm hold. Did I mention that is crucial to have a firm hold? Make sure your grip is firm and once you’re ready, bring the ends up, slide the fingers down and trim off as much as you want. Move on to the next hair section and trim, making sure you’re cutting off the exact same length every time.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat steps 2 and 3, this time with other side. Needless to say, you must make both sides as even as you can. Take your time – it’s totally normal to spend more than an hour for your first DIY haircut at home.

Step 5: Water it!

Don’t allow your hair to dry completely as it will be more difficult to trim properly and might even result in uneven cut. Spritz water to the section you want to cut and get down to business.

Step 6: Inspection

We done? All sections are cut? It’s inspection time. Make sure every hair section is even. Use another, hand-held mirror in order to get a good view of the back, right and left side to detect if there are strands that are sticking out.

Step by step tutorial for short hair

I’ve had short hair a few years back, and let me tell you, cutting short hair is more complicated than cutting long hair. But I’ve managed to master it, so you will, too! This guide only describes the most basic buzzcut, but you can find more styles here.

Step 1: Get familiar with your hair

Run your hand through your hair and find out in which direction your hair grows. You should cut in the opposite direction of its growth.

Step 2: Get familiar with the clippers

Read the manual, turn the clippers on and off, try different speeds, change blades, clip guards on and off, etc. Make sure your clippers are well oiled, choose the clipper guard you want, and check if the guard is attached properly.

Step 3: Buzz buzz

Start from the bottom and gently work your way to the top. Buzz your head with the longest length setting and once you’re done, do the same with shorter length guards. Once you’re done with the general feel of the haircut you want, it’s time for designing the details.

Step 4: Details

Have a look in the mirror and see if everything is even. Designing the details requires more work. You should start with the sides, top, and back, and finish with fading and styling. Check this information-packed guide to cut your short hair with clippers.


Told ya! Cutting your own hair is not that complicated. I’ve tried many different haircuts, and I must say – some haircuts should be done by professionals only. For example, if you want a pixie haircut or bob, visit your hairdresser because these cuts fall under the “don’t try this at home” category.

Be patient, be precise, and take it slow. Your hairdresser cuts your hair in 10-15 minutes, and yes, that’s impressive, but DIY haircuts shouldn’t be done in a hurry. Every hair section deserves your complete focus, care and attention.

Oh, and over the next few days, you might find hairs that weren’t quite properly cut, so keep the scissors/clipper handy. Remember, practice makes it perfect, so you’ll get better and better!

I really hope this DIY haircut guide will make you start cutting your hair at home. You can now maintain your hair on your own while saving money. Win-win!

Want DIY hair color inspiration? browse HTHG’s DIY color category and learn how to master your own color!

Interested in a DIY foil, Balayage, Dip-Dye, or Ombre? Check out the HTHG DIY color video library. Save yourself the salon prices and master these techniques yourself.

If you are a DIY hair-cutter who is curious about DIY home-hair coloring, I highly recommend using DIY hair color by Madison Reed, which Resorcinol-Free.

If you purchase a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit, you will receive not only the colors of hair colors your choice, but also the necessary tools to apply it. The entire line is designed for the DIY hair colorer! And if you need to tone in between coloring, be sure to check out their Color Reviving Gloss to refresh and revive your hair.

Also, I recommend a shopping stop at Beauty Store Depot for all your other DIY hair cutting and coloring tools to fill your toolkit!


Fail-proof DIY haircut alert: Trim your own layers!

julesDIY haircuts can be disastrous. Many of us have horror stories about late night wine fueled baby-bangs that quickly became a colassal hack job snip by tiny snip, and required an emergency trip to see your stylist where you cried and groveled and begged for forgiveness…….Learn to trim your own layers with HTHG on Refinery29 today!

(Illustrated cover shot by R29)




Perfect little lady pony haircut.

marsycutMars is growing out her hair. Her white blonde, spider-webby hair. I don’t argue with her, but I occasionally insist on trimming her up. Recently, she needed a good shaping. Here is how I did it.

Without taking length off, I reshaped her hair using 2 simple ponytails .It turned out swingy, sophisticated, and perfecto.

First ponytail was all the hair, brushed tightly and secured in the middle of the crown of the head. I combed the pony straight out to 90degrees and cut 3 inches off the ends.

Next pony was the whole front section of the hair from behind each ear across the top of the head. I secured a tight ponytail exactly where her horn would be if she was a unicorn ( which she basically is) and held the ponytail straight out at 90degrees from the head and cut 2 inches off the ends. BOOM! for more DIY ponytail cuts, check out this post.


Asymmetrical Shlob.

PicMonkey CollageI am in love with this haircut. This is what I will do when I decide to finally cut my hair. It is so modern and feminine and soft and edgy at the same time. I appreciate a haircut that doesn’t look too perfectly done. They tend to grow out beautifully.

The asymmetrical shlob works best on thicker hair with lots of wave and curl. It is an easy haircut to DIY!

kimmThis haircut that I did on Kim started out with a simple side ponytail, I pulled the holder down to the ends, and cut straight across the ends, removing about an inch and a half of length. This created the shape of the haircut. Then I went through and texturized the ends a bit, and layered her a bit more. This can be done by gathering the hair into an even higher side ponytail near top of the head and cutting off the ends.

Here is Kimmy before and after. What a fox!!!!!DSC01870DSC01891

5 DIY haircuts to try today!

Ever thought about cutting your own hair? Have you tried it? It is really fun and liberating but it can also be intimidating and a flat out mess. Enter, the Ponytail Cut. The beauty of the ponytail cut is that it brings all the hair to one place for you to cut, keeping it neat and straight forward. And, depending on where the ponytail is on the head, you can created many different shapes and effects with the cut.

For a beginner hair DIY-er, definitely start with a ponytail cut. For more on Ponytail Cutting and Coloring for the beginner DIY-er, check out this category.…..

On that note, Lovely people, I present to you 5 DIY haircuts to try today.

A practical yet creative hair solution for the brave and bold. 5 strategically placed ponytails cut off to create 5 different awesome haircuts.

I started with my fantastically brave and excited model, Meleah. Her hair was unbelievably long, and she had been cutting it herself using HTHG’s perfect layers DIY haircut. Her hair is thick and straight, but these haircuts can be used on any hair type.

*The amount of hair cut off the ends of the ponytail determines the length that the cut will be. We removed about 3 inches with each ponytail cut. If you want the same effect but with shorter length, remove more from the ponytail.

Cutting off a ponytail is not as easy as just a snip! you will need a sharp pair of shears like these affordable, quality ones.If you plan on becoming the full time master of your own

cut and color, it is also worth having a CreaClip, which is the genius tool  kit for perfect DIY bangs and layers for the whole family.

You will want to familiarize yourself with the point cutting technique to remove the hair a little bit at a time to soften and blend the ends of the hair.

Here is a map of the head to refer to, before you get started.

Are you ready? Let’s break it down!

DIY haircut #1. Long Layers!


For this one, you will put the hair in a  ponytail, centered at the middle of the top  of the head. Make sure it is smooth and tight.

Looking in a mirror, hold the ponytail straight up! Cut across the ends. Let hair down and check out your blended, even, pretty long layers.

  DIY haircut #2. Long layers with a little boost in the back.


Perfect for those who have a flat back of the head and want a little boost. This haircut is great for adding a little extra shape and body to long hair.

Put the hair in a ponytail in the middle of the crown of the head, and cut across the ends to whatever length you want. Let the hair down and shake it out!

DIY haircut #3. Long layers with pretty face framing.


This one is great for girls who like having a little something around the face. It creates perfectly uniform layers throughout the hair, but softens the face with shorter blended face framing layers.

Brush the hair straight forwards and put it in a ponytail right at the front of the top of the head, almost at the hairline.

Cut the ends off the ponytail. Let it down and marvel at your swinging layered haircut that accentuates your best features!

DIY haircut #4. Perfectly impractical asymmetrical layers.


This is the haircut for the hipster fashionista who wants to keep her length but still make a bold statement. May I suggest this haircut with some color faded dip dye and a deep side part?

Make a ponytail at the front of the top of the head, off center. Like 3 inches above the ear (Parietal ridge) on the side that you part on. Cut the ends off. Let your hair down and check out your awesome layer-y asymmetrical part, with heavy face framing, and a shy side. It almost looks undercut but it’s not.

Killer hair cut. My personal favorite from this series.

DIY haircut #5. Mid-length layered bob.


The Shlob, if you will. But a longer version of it. This haircut involves 2 ponytail cuts.

Make a ponytail right at the nape.

Cut it off to the length that the ends will barely rest on your neck.

Let it down, and cut the dropout off the bottom to straignten up the line.

Now put all the hair in a ponytail at the center of the crown. Cut the ends off. This will add layers and tons of texture an movement to the bob.

This haircut happens to look amazing with bangs too. If you are feeling inspired, try Zooey bangs or asymmetrical choppys.

I double doggy dare you to try one of these. You really can’t mess em up if you follow the directions, and they look totally salon-quality.

While we are on the subject of DIY hair…..

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 7.36.33 PMI use DIY haircut #3 regularly. I also use this DIY color technique to ombre my ends and this one to highlight around my face.

For more DIY hair cutting techniques and coloring techniques, check out the HTHG video shop.



For your everything guide to DIY hair coloring, check this post!

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.14.38 PMIf you are in the market for a genius new system of haircare designed by hairstylists with a less-is-more vibe, check out the Hairstory Studio Haircare line, starring New-Wash magic cleansing cream. My hair has literally never looked of felt better. I use it once a week and my hair is never greasy, and always healthy! They have a line of 4 simple products for all hair types to help you master happy healthy hair without a fight. Check their shop out here, and make sure you mention that How-to Hair Girl referred you when you go to make your purchase.

If you are a DIY hair-cutter who is  curious about DIY home-hair coloring, I highly recommend using DIY hair color by Madison Reed, which Resorcinol-Free.

If you purchase a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit, you will receive not only the colors of hair colors your choice, but also the necessary tools to apply it. The entire line is designed for the DIY hair colorer! And if you need to tone in between coloring, be sure to check out their Color Reviving Gloss to refresh and revive your hair.

Also, I recommend a shopping stop at Beauty Store Depot for all your DIY hair cutting and coloring tools to fill your toolkit!

Have fun with your hair!

xo, HTHG

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