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Resisting—or Capitulating—to the Temptation of a Home Haircut

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Do you have scissors? Clippers? Maybe a Flowbee? Then, yes, you can cut your own hair. Whether you should is a more complicated question.

A professional cut might be difficult to attain for a while, but your hair just keeps inconsiderately marching onward out of your scalp. What’s a person to do? A whole lot of people have taken the plunge into home haircuts, and the results are . . . mixed.

As you consider your options, here’s what you need to know.

Know your limitations

There is no universe in which you’re going to pick up a pair of shears and create the result you want—the one the trained hairstylist you’ve been devoted to for years has perfected for you over time. Your best hope is that you’ll end up with “good enough.”

If things have gotten too out of hand to tolerate—if your split ends are becoming split middles or you can’t see through your bangs—sure, proceed cautiously. But if you can get by with a deep conditioning or a headband, do.

Buy quality shears

Your kitchen scissors aren’t gonna get the job done in any way you’re happy with. Anything less than a razor-sharp blade will push your hair around while you cut, which leaves you with sloppy, choppy, uneven lines.

Waiting one more week or so won’t drive you fully bonkers, right? (RIGHT?) It’ll be worth it to wait for a pair of professional shears.

Proceed with extreme caution

Fact: It’s much easier to cut more later than to put back what you’ve cut. Unless you’re Crissy, in which case—cut fearlessly!

For the rest of us, cutting just a little at a time—lengthwise and quantity-wise—is the surest way to avoid disaster. You’re also better off cutting clean, dry hair. That way you can follow the lines and see how your hair behaves after you’ve cut. For rookies, that’s really helpful. It takes a lot of experience and training to understand what hair will do while you cut it wet.

Cut into, not against, the hair

Aim your shears across your hair and you end up with blunt lines that almost certainly won’t lay right and are impossible to align all the way ’round your head.

Instead, point your shears into your hair, so that you make small cuts almost parallel to the strands you’re working with. Cutting this way (it’s called point cutting) requires less precision.

Seriously, proceed with caution

Yeah, you’re stir-crazy and overdue for a cut. Taking action is so tempting—and yet so likely to end in regret. If you can’t hold out, make sure you check out a few tutorials before you pick up the shears. And, we’re not wishing disaster on anyone, but please do send us a photo if your results are . . . surprising.

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