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.


DIY ombre and haircut with the CreaClip.

Reader submission!


Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 7.26.42 PM

Here is a great DIY hair story about a bold and brave lady who wanted to update her look and empower herself by cutting her own hair. She canceled her salon appointment, and contacted me. She asked what I thought about a CreaClip and I had no idea what she was talking about. Turns out, the CreaClip is your best DIY hair friend. Find out more about it here! 
Here is what she said…..
“I went for the Schlob #5 but we used the Crea clip too.
1. Low ponytail cut then white Creaclip to even it out
2. Crown ponytail cut then Creaclip to even it again as Hubbie was freakin’ saying it’s all uneven but I later realized it’s the shag layers that he’s freaking over. My hair is super silky-straight after a dye so it’s odd because there’s not a big difference between the bottom and top layer (only 1 inch – I didn’t want a lot of layers…yet)
3. Blue Creaclip for sideswept bangs.
Styled with 3/4 inch curling iron but my hair never holds the curl – going to try your honey spray that you says gives grip. Also getting shea butter to make the coconut oil spray – I need body. The sea salt spray works but it really dries my already dry hair.
I have a feeling it’s a screw-up  due to my hesitation to get layers in the back but frankly I’m very happy with so that’s what counts. I can still ponytail because it’s not really a bob, it’s touching my shoulders – I felt better safe than sorry.

Phase 2, DIY ombre!

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 11.47.13 AMNext phase, DIY ombre! 

Next, she used my premium DIY ombre video. Here is what she says.

“I’m so so pleased with this Roxie, I used the Feria Ombre for medium to dark hair and your ponytail (teased) on top of the head. I had a facecloth on my head for the bleached ponytail to lie on for 25 minutes.

You are a generous genius! Wish I could meet you in person to thank you.


Here we go…(the back looks dry but it’s not at all, just needs to be curled a bit more). EVERYTHING you’ve taught me has worked beautifully.”

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