By Sean Zucker –
Looking a bit shaggy two months into the national lockdown? Chances are you’re not alone. Almost everyone probably desperately misses their barber or hairdresser, but unfortunately hooking up for a cut anytime soon is unlikely as these individuals are not deemed essential workers. That pretty much leaves people with a simple choice—take matters into your own hands or try to become the next Thor. Since just about everyone lacks Chris Hemsworth’s physique to pull off the God look, most are opting for the hands-on approach.
Ultimately, it’s a good news-bad news situation. Cutting your own hair isn’t rocket science, but there are simple steps to take and rookie mistakes to avoid to prevent looking like you lost a fight with the clippers or, worse, injuring yourself.
The New York Times suggests the most crucial step to avoid completely botching a self-cut is to keep it simple. Don’t go too crazy over styling style the cut. Ultimately, keeping it simple minimizes the risk of making colossal mistakes. For men, this means aiming for a clean buzz cut, using only one clipper adjustment equal in length on all sides. For women, basic trimming is the advised limit. It is the easiest to pull off because it just requires keeping the same general style and only adjusting the length.
Relying on good equipment also is key to making a self-cut come in as close as possible to a professional job. GQ maintains a man’s basic cut really only requires only three tools: a pair of clippers, scissors and a comb. Stand in front of a mirror with these three and chances are you’re set. Want to make it even simpler? Follow the previous advice on buzz cuts and nothing more than a quality pair of clippers is needed.
Hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons has a somewhat different take, recently telling Allure that quality scissors are the most important tool for producing a decent cut, especially for women. “Low-quality scissors can leave your ends looking sloppy and frayed…,” he warned. “The reason that stylists use shears versus the ones sitting in your junk drawer at home is because the sharp, precise blades allow you to be much more exact and make it easier to get clean lines and edges.”
While just the thought of how a self-cut hairstyle may look can be stressful enough, there are also health risks to keep in mind, namely infection. Men’s Health warns your scalp can suffer up to seven potential infections during a haircut no matter who’s doing it. Luckily, they’re all relatively easy to avoid, but newbie self-cutters may be at greater risk because they’re less informed and skilled at preventing infections. Bacteria is the main culprit of infections, so it’s crucial to wash all scissors and combs with hot water before use to kill the nasty microbes. For clippers, generic oils that are usually included with the purchase should be applied before each use to avoid the metal blades rusting.
Like most DIY projects, cutting your own hair can be scary. However, take the right care and follow sound procedures and a self-cut can be kind of neat, quite rewarding and perhaps even stylish.