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How to Cut Your Own Hair

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Put down the scissors.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably about to cut your own hair.

If you’re about to cut your own hair, you’re probably not emotionally stable.

I say this because every time I’ve taken my hair into my own hands, it was because I was avoiding dealing with a larger issue. Sometimes, emotional stressors trick you into thinking that a dramatic change to your appearance will make you feel more in control, or give you a new outlook on life.

THAT’S A LIE, GIRL. All it’s going to do is give you a shitty haircut and tons of regret.

If you’re about to cut your own hair, you’re probably not emotionally stable.

I look back on pictures from my younger years and the state of my hair was a direct outward expression of how I was feeling inside, and it wasn’t always pretty. I always told myself, "This new hair color or cut is really going to give me an edge and help me grab life by the horns and/or balls."

The reality of it was that it always lead me to spend more time and money on corrective cuts and treatments to try to return my hair to some sort of normal state, once the mania had passed.

However, if you’re dead set on taking the scissors to your hair, if there’s really nothing I can do to change your fragile mind, then allow me to take your hand and lovingly guide you through this risky and tumultuous process.

A Cleansing Trim

A great cut to attempt at home is a little cleanup cut. It may not seem like it from the start, but trimming off split ends and cleaning up damage throughout can really make all the difference in how your hair looks and behaves, and can extend the length of a cut. Snipping off damage yourself will also prevent split ends from worsening by splitting farther up the strand. If your hair looks healthier, who knows, you may end up feeling a whole lot better and second-guess giving yourself a big chop in the first place.

Take a cleansing breath in, and exhale. Now give this trim a try.

A great cut to attempt at home is a little cleanup cut.

This method will take off just a bit of length while removing damage, weight, and adding a few subtle layers. Starting at the top of the head, divide hair into three equal sections. Gather the hair at the crown of the head and put it in an Ariana Grande-esque half-back ponytail. Make a kissy face in the mirror. See? You’re feeling better already.

Gather the hair around the middle section of your head and put that up as well, to get it out of the way. Leave the remaining section down and bring it over your shoulders in two equal parts.

Examine your ends and determine just how much you want to take off.

Remember: Less is more. You can always go back and take off more, but cut too much from the jump, and you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Take your hair between your index and middle fingers in sections about one inch wide and run your hand down to the end of the section of strands until only there’s only about an inch of hair fanning out from between your fingers. From here, asses the damage, and how much you feel comfortable taking off.

Remember: Less is more.

The best way to work is to take your sheers, and cut with the blades pointing up toward your chin. This will help you avoid cutting blunt edges and, if you do happen to take off too much length, it will be significantly less noticeable than if you were cutting with the blade horizontally.

Make sure you eat something before this so you’ll be working with a steady hand (no, I’m serious) and work slowly. It would probably be beneficial to work with smaller sheers, as well. Try to avoid using full size, orange handled Fiskars and opt for a smaller set like a pair of craft scissors. Even manicure scissors would work great in this case! They’re lightweight, feel like a natural extension of your hand, and make it virtually impossible to take off too much.

When you’re done with the base layer of hair, take down the middle layer and start again, and then the same with the top portion. This is a great way to keep your length, maintain your current style, while cleaning up your cut.


Dusting is a method that cleans up damage and fly-aways throughout your entire head without taking off any length. It’s also even less invasive and risky than our first method, if you’re not quite ready to take it that far.

Dusting is a method that cleans up damage and fly-aways without taking off any length.

Take an inch wide section of your hair between your index and middle fingers starting around three inches down the strand, level with your eyes. Slowly slide your fingers down the section of the hair toward the ends, keeping a close eye on the horizon that your hair creates when curling over your index finger. Any time a single strand pops up and away from the rest, it means that strand has been damaged and has probably already experienced breakage, causing it to be one of your problem fly-aways. Snip it! You don’t need to cut take a lot of it off, an eighth of an inch or so will do.

Another way to dust is take a portion of hair of the same thickness as before and twist it into a fairly tight coil from the end to the root. Any hair you see poking out from the twist can be snipped off by simply running your scissors closely up and down the twist, leaving only healthy strands behind.

The Big Chop

If you really are looking to take off a bit of length and add a bit of natural layering, this is for you.

Gather your hair into a ponytail right in the very front of your head. The pony should be in the middle of your forehead right where your hairline ends and your forehead begins, like a unicorn horn.

Boom, you’ve got a great new bob and a new outlook on life.

Next, measure where you want your first layer to fall on your face, say it’s four inches from your hairline, around your mouth. Take your unicorn ponytail and hold it straight up, measure four inches up from the base, and cut the entire ponytail straight across.

After you’ve done the big chop, hold the edge of your ponytail toward the mirror and look out at it. Take scissors and point the blade down toward the pony and simply cut into. This creates natural texture and softens any hard edges created by your scissors. You want the end of the ponytail to look like a softly tapered, floofy makeup brush, like you’d use for a translucent powder. No hard edges at the end of the ponytail means there wont be any hard edges in your new haircut.

Take the ponytail down, clean up any unevenness, and boom, you’ve got a great new bob and a new outlook on life.