There are many reasons people have been shaving their heads since the public was advised to stay home and socially distance in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus and, consequentially, COVID-19. Some buzz cuts are emotionally driven, others spring from boredom, but there’s no doubt that some are born of practicality. When we can’t visit salons and barbershops to get a professional haircut, it can feel like the only option is to just shave it all off.
The temptation can be especially strong for those with shorter hair. For those with longer hair, the idea of a DIY trim may seem less intimidating because a little mistake with scissors makes a much less noticeable impact than it would on a smaller area of hair. And with the good ol’ Flowbee currently not shipping, you may feel unequipped to handle cutting your own short hair.
You don’t have to cut your hair right now, but if you feel more comfortable with your short style staying that way, it can be done at home. We spoke to experts about what you need to give your short hair a trim and the tips you should keep in mind when attempting it on your own.
1. Use the right tools.
You may not have a Flowbee, but if you’ve got clippers and scissors, you should be fine. However, not just any scissors will do.
“You definitely don’t want to use the same scissors that came with your kid’s art set,” says Rob Louden, a Boca Raton, Florida-based barber and the founder of Brilliant Beards. He says you can find a decent pair of scissors in the beauty aisle of a pharmacy or supermarket but, “It is crucial to use the right pair.”
Working with clippers? Not a problem. Louden recommends using the largest clipper attachment that came with the set — usually, guard size eight — and working your way down from the top of your head to the desired length and ending at the neck. Louden also suggests investing in a cordless beard trimmer to get the edges around your ears and neck.
2. If you have a roommate or partner, ask them to help.
“Cutting your own hair is always hard to do; this is why I do not recommend it,” says stylist Tracy Folino of Hair Addict Salon in New Jersey. “However, if you can get some help, it will make it a lot easier.”
Louden echoes the sentiment, telling Allure, “Be patient and wait for someone you live with to help out with the haircut. Ask them to go over the same area a few times to ensure a cleaner cut.”
But that doesn’t mean you have to accept shagginess if you’re on your own. “If you don’t have that second hand to help or don’t have a second mirror, I tell people to outsmart the smartphone and use the selfie camera,” says Louden. “Use it as a mirror when doing the back of your hair in front of your bathroom mirror.”
3. Don’t just cut all willy-nilly.
Like Louden, Folino recommends starting with the longest guard that comes with your clipper. “You can always go shorter, but you cannot put it back,” she says. From there, after separating the top of the hair from the side, “Start from your hairline and work up the sides and back of the head. When you finish with your long attachment, take the next size down, going from the hairline up, but not as high as you did with the last guard.”