Introduction: How to Cut Your Own Hair

Picture of How to Cut Your Own Hair

Fed up with the price of "professional" haircuts? Tired of losing layers of skin off your scalp after using the RoboCut Vacuum Haircut machine? None of your friends want to do it because "they don't know how"? Then it's time to grab some scissors and get hacking!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Here's a list of what you'll need:

Sharp Object -
While scissors are my weapon of choice, I imagine a steak knife, exacto, hedge trimmers or any other cutting tool would do the trick.

Electric Buzzer, Beard Trimmer and/or Razor (not pictured) -
No sense in mowing just half the lawn, is there? I will only be trimming my beard. Mainly because it has been so long since I actually shaved, I think I've forgotten how. If you wish to go for the clean look, then all the power to you!

Hair Disposal Unit -
I usually just use the bathroom trash bin. Putting it in the sink helps by not only acting as a second hair-catcher, but also puts the bin at a more practical height.

Numerous Fine, Usually Cylindrical, Keratinous Filaments Growing From The Skin of a Human -
Uh...that would be your hair, or if you want a practice go, try a mop.

Documentation Device (optional) -
To record my haircut I used a simple digital camera. Having learned from my mistake, I strongly advice the use of a tripod, since, as you will later see, I do not have three hands.

Step 2: The First Cut

Picture of The First Cut

Now that you have your workplace set up, it's time to begin.

What's that? You're having second thoughts?

You are not alone my friend. But you must persevere!

With your scissors in your dominant hand, grab a large hunk of hair with your second hand. I suggest going for a patch right at the front. Once you've cut that off, there's really no going back.

Now simply squeeze the scissors with your thumb and index finger. Depending on the thickness of your hair, the amount of hair you are attacking and the quality of your blade you may need to get into a rhythm of squeezing and releasing over and over until you are through.

Step 3: Disposing of Your Hair

Picture of Disposing of Your Hair

At this point you should have a clump of hair in your hand. Unless you plan on using it for something, it's time to toss it in the trash bin.

Simply hold the hair over the bin and release your grip.

Good job!

Step 4: Keep on Truckin'

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Just repeat the previous steps, working your way from the top of your head to your dominant side.

Congratulations! You now have a skater cut. You'd be the coolest kid on the playground if it were 1995!

If for some reason you don't want a skater cut, I guess you'd better continue cutting on the other side.

Step 5: And You Thought You Were Finished

Picture of And You Thought You Were Finished

At this point the front of your head should be looking very professional, while the back is more casual. Hence the term 'business in front, party in the back,' which commonly refers to a mullet (or perhaps some sort of office place that is having a fiesta in the back room, but the losers are too 'professional' for margaritas and sombreros, so they're still working away in their cubicles).

It can get a bit tricky in the back, but by now you should be comfortable with your tool and can probably estimate how much hair you're cutting off. I guess you could get a second mirror to put behind you, but then your visual-motor skills would be all screwed up. Besides, when's the last time you saw the back of your head to see how even it is?

Step 6: The Beard

Picture of The Beard
If you really want to win the heart of that (insert gender of preference) that sits beside you in biology class, you're going to have to clean up that mess of hair you call a beard. That's right, I'm talking to you Sarah Fernbeck! *

Take out your electric buzzer, lubricate it and turn it on. Don't be scared though. It's more afraid of you than you are of it. Hold it with confidence, and trim a strip under your chin. Enjoy this moment, for it is your first and last chance to ever be taken seriously at a Motorhead show, at least until they notice your skinny, 10-year old boy arms.

Now that you have determined without a doubt that you are in fact softcore, continue trimming the rest of your facial hair.

  • I made up the name Sarah Fernbeck, so if that happens to be your name and you have a beard, take no offence. But seriously, you might want to at least give it a trim every once and a while.

Step 7: Cleaning Up

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You're brand new!

Hop in the shower and give that scalp a good wash. Remember to have a second shirt lying around somewhere for when you get out of the shower. Putting on a shirt coated in tiny hair clippings doesn't really sound like fun.

Nothing left to do but admire the weight of hair in the bag as you tie it up and walk it to the curb. You may feel the urge to store the hair under your bed, but chances are you'll find it a year later and there will be a colony of maggots living in it. Trust me.

Step 8: Conclusion

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Over the next few days you will undoubtedly find stray hairs that weren't properly cut, so keep those scissors handy.

Now when people comment "You cut your hair," you can answer with pride "Yes I did!"


kent.clark.14606936 (author)2014-12-17

So, I think that it is very important to have the proper materials. You don't want to cut your hair with school scissors. I mean, that kind of stuff is good if you want a bowel haircut. But, not all of us want to look like Loyd Christmas.

"bowel haircut"

Leared (author)2014-10-09

Hey, you
are a brave man! I only have experience cutting my front bangs but I have never
experimented with the side ones. How did you handle those? I also managed to
cut my own beard thanks to the professional step-by-step tutorial which I had
found on this website I actually coped with my beard
much better than I did with my front bangs.

swildman (author)2013-08-18

Great instructable! Funny pics! Thanks!

fetidpants (author)2011-10-05

I've been using your basic method for a couple years now. I leave it an inch or two longer, though, so mine requires a bit more work (starts from the same basic length as yours though). I always cut the hair back on the sides so that it doesn't cover my ears, and blend/fade the way up to make it look less homegrown.

My method for doing this is pretty simple, grab a chunk of hair, and twist/twirl into a single pointy strand. Cut the tip at an angle and you'll end up with a blended look when you let go. With longer hair (> 1/2 inch), you don't want it all the same length or you'll look like Moe from the 3 Stooges. Twisting your hair while cutting adds variable length to the clump you're cutting.

I do the twirl method all around me head, taking off the same amount radially around my head. One nice advantage is that I can twirl with my right hand on the left side of my head, then switch to holding the strands with my left and cut with my right.

To test for overall length I just really slowly run both hands through my hair at symmetric spots; when I run out of hair on one side but not the other, I trim the length to match.

One other tip, I use my camera in video mode to look at the back of my head. I take a video moving the camera around lots of different angles, then trim and look at it again.

I'd post some pictures of the process, but I just cut it last week in haste for an upcoming presentation. After a few days of looking at in the mirror, you get a good idea of spots that need adjustment. Also your good friends will usually let you know if "you missed a spot".

drwebster (author)fetidpants2012-09-03

that is the best instructable,i laughed so hard my husband had to check it out too.very nice,WAY to go

fetidpants (author)fetidpants2011-10-05

Just realized this instructable is ancient and probably abandoned. I'll leave my additional tips in case someone stumbles upon it.

mgalyean (author)2012-06-24

My wife cuts hair for a living. When I showed this to her she commented wryly that at least one in ten of her "walk-ins" (not a regular customer) are someone who tried to cut their own hair and need it fixed in a hurry. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for DIY, and even buzz cut my own summer hair cut (much to her chagrin), but I definitely let my wife do it right for the job interviews and client meetings and such. Other comments from the wife: Don't forget your eyebrows and ears! A 1" wandering eyebrow hair can ruin even the best of haircuts. Hedges coming out of the ears on us older dudes doesn't come off well at that important meeting. And ladies, *no* mustache hair. Period. Trim sideburn length in relation to your ears, not your face because most faces are asymmetrical and viewers tend to notice their length in relation to your ears, not your cheeks or nose or eyes etc.

TheGoodLife (author)2009-03-11

I cut my hair with the buzz cutter, short back and sides all round. I dispose of my hair by composting it. Something must be eating the hair because I can't find one single follicle the following year.

TN777 (author)TheGoodLife2012-04-11

It probally decomposed, but you may be right.

BloodandRoses (author)2012-01-18

Aw, I liked the before pictures better…I guess I'm just a scruffy man type of women.

klimb (author)2011-11-04

Dust buster or vacuum is very helpful if you tend to fling hair all over the place.

steve blair (author)2011-10-23

Wow, did this ever come out of the blue. I probably hadn't logged into this Instructables account for over a year, but when I do I have tons of comments and I've been featured on the homepage!
Thanks for all the great feedback guys. This came from trying to find something similar online, and when my search turned up nothing useful, I decided to make my own how-to. I'm still cutting my own hair 4 years later, though I've upgraded to a buzzer which makes it much simpler, but either way I've easily saved a few hundred in barber costs over the years.

ADKhomemadewife1216 (author)2011-09-13

good tips...great comments and ideas. I tried cutting my husbands hair a few years ago with my sister-in-law and let's just say it was a NIGHTMARE! He ended up having to get it shaved off...oops. Well a couple months ago we decided to give it a go again. This time however, it turned out great! My husband used to hate getting his hair cut and would wait as long as possible. Now I can cut it whenever I want. I like the tips on getting an even cut for long hair. My sis-in-law has been recently wanting me to cut her long hair. I will try some of these ideas tonight! so glad I stumbled on this. Talk about saving a bundle. I however am not confident enough to try it on myself...maybe just a trim :)

bigbbubble (author)2011-09-13

I've been cutting my own hair for a year now, saved heaps, female cuts are more expensive than males! Nobody really notices and I can do it without an appointment. Send the clippings to the compost or worm farm.

hartmannsclass (author)2011-09-12

Very entertaining. My husband has been cutting his hair for years using a rechargeable type cutter. I became envious (because I can't spell jealous) and wanted to cut my womanly locks. I grab a fistful. Anything that sticks out longer than my fist is wide gets cut off. I work around my entire head cutting off anything that will stick out of my closed fist. If I have spare time, I hold it up like they do at the barbers and cut whatever is sticking up. I've done it for years now and am very happy. It works because my hair has a natural curl so any unevenness is hidden by the curling over of the hair. I wouldn't do it if my hear was dead straight.

Lissastrata (author)2011-09-12

This one made me laugh. Why can't my name be Sarah Fernbeck and why can't I rock a sweet beard?

openidordie (author)2011-06-28

For those just looking to cut the ends off of really long hair, a straight braid down the back with the last inch or inch and a half chopped off results in a very even cut.

I haven't paid someone to cut my hair in 15 years. At a recent wedding where I had to have the stylist put my hair into a style (why?), the stylist expressed disbelief that I cut my own hair as it was "too even".

Niteflowers (author)openidordie2011-09-07

thank you for the tip - I just tried it and it worked like a charm. I have problems getting anyone to just take a little of the bottom straight across.

awallace6 (author)openidordie2011-07-28

thank you this is exactly what I wanted to know. I'm sick of paying for a blunt cut of my long hair, only to end up with tapered sides and layers when I specifically tell them NOT to do it! this is not time for a stylist to express themselves! Just cut a straight line already! I'm off to do this right now!

f1dd13r (author)2011-04-30

Use your computer with a usb web cam to see the back of your head,then you still have two hands for the cutting.

Camisado (author)2010-07-31

Dude, you had awesome hair, why don't you just go rock star and grow it a 'lil longer? Lol. I'm a guy that likes his hair long, but it all boils down to personal preference I guess. Nice I'ble.

MooTaters (author)Camisado2011-04-09

I had long hair for a while, liked it, but short is so much easier. Dries in seconds, and keeps you cool during the hot/humid summer months.

Sherlock69 (author)2011-01-26

LOVE your instructable. It's so helpful and fun. Now i'm going to cut everyone's hair just as you instructed!

dummy1977 (author)2010-03-14

The very short route doesn't work with my lumpy head, so i'm pretty sure any attempt of mine would be a butcher job.

If only someone could write an instructable on how to get the girl cutting your hair to take headsize (and a person's non hair lingo'd attempt at describing what he wants) i could rest easy. 

And all this talk about avocados tells me that I clearly missed something.  ; )

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-11-29

You did a nice job. I cut my own hair when I was didn't turn out so well. :)

foxli (author)2009-10-09

 I approve of this method--I eschewed the beauty parlor and maintained my pixie cut myself for a few years before (intentionally) growing my hair out. It took some practice, but I actually got pretty good at cutting my own hair. 

PiPPii (author)2009-09-12

How's the avocado coming along? :-)

kingsbridge (author)2009-07-30

When I moved to this town I figured no one knew me so I gave myself a haircut like the one being shown....I screwed it up so bad I had to wear a hat until I was introduced to Nick the Barber...I was so embarrassed that I told him my wife gave me the haircut...He was very polite (even though it was obvious the didn't believe me ) and told me that he would do what he could for me at the time but I would have to come back two or three more times before I would look normal...He's been my barber ever since.

verbatim5613 (author)2009-07-05

I've been cutting my own hair for 20 years now. Even the times when I didn't do the best job I could have, my honest friends still said it looked fine. So don't worry, try it a few times and see what you think. Over the long run, you'll save TONS of money.

tehomet (author)2009-06-05

Not the most useful instructable I've ever read, but certainly the funniest. Thanks.

bigwookie68 (author)2009-05-30

I decided to stop spending 15 to 20 bucks and an hour of my time to have a barber cut my hair. Went to a local beauty/barber supply store and bought a good set of clippers. Every couple of weeks the wife buzzes my head and I save money. Now if I can get her to let me cut her hair we'll really save some money.

jabbaduhut (author)2009-05-03

I'm a seasoned veteran in both hair cutting and avocado growing, I think I'll put up a guide on growing the avocado stones as i have a full proof method. Nice one on the hair cut! I

smexykisses16 (author)2009-04-10

you look sooo much better

apccool (author)2009-03-20

Hey did you have any luck with the avocado? I have tried it a bunch of times, and never reached germination.

rodperez (author)2009-02-09


Hugo.B (author)2007-05-30

Does anyone deliberately want to look like a hobo?


no swear-man (author)Hugo.B2009-01-30

not me

steve blair (author)Hugo.B2007-05-30

I don't think anyone goes out of their way to look like one, it just sorta happens. You're having lunch with your friends, sitting on the sidewalk, enjoying the summer air and a passerby tosses a quarter at you. It can't be helped.

no swear-man (author)steve blair2009-01-30

heres how ,go to google ,type in pictures ,then go to (mortal kombat for example) pictures click on the pic u want ,wen u do that click save,then on instructables click on customize under ur acount login thingy ,ur on ur own now

no swear-man (author)steve blair2009-01-30

u shuld get a pic for ur acount

ARVash (author)steve blair2007-05-30

Beards grow, stuff happens. Life .. usually goes on.

no swear-man (author)2009-01-30

this is redicules

karen608 (author)2007-05-30

seems to be missing a lot of steps. I tried cutting my long hair and it didn't look even nor good. Glad you can save $$$ and do your own though!

DarkStarPDX (author)karen6082009-01-05

I trim my very long hair all the time. If you want a straight line across your back, part your hair in the middle and bring each side around to the front. Gather it in a "pony tail" under your chin and work you way down to the ends and trim however much you want. If you want a slightly layer look, put your hair in a ponytail (the higher it is the more layered you get) and trim the ends. To get nicely feathered and face framing bangs gather all of your bangs to the middle of your forehead and twist them once or twice and then trim straight across. Be sure to go in little bits though or you'll look like the time you tried to give your Barbie doll bangs...

steve blair (author)karen6082007-05-30

Actually, that's a good point, I didn't really cover that. My strategy for even-ness was to go short. If it's short enough, it will either be unnoticable of how uneven it is, or it'll just look trendy and like it's supposed to be uneven.

chinchymork (author)2009-01-03

I cut my own hair like a couple of days ago and it looks fine and I saved some money! I did have have my mom help me with the back of my head though. Great Instructable!

kerberoszero (author)2009-01-02

You're handsome :D i'll have to try something, too bad i can't stand lettin my hair grow, i always have a homemade fohawk

Evesneon (author)2008-12-14

hmm.... you look more mysterious with your first pic. nice instructable,by the way....

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