How to Maintain a Sidecut or Undercut Hair Style




About: I'm just a lady who likes making stuff. I got my degree in engineering but also enjoy cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening and backpacking, among other things.

A couple of months ago I got a pretty extreme haircut that was way different than anything I had before.  What I discovered after I got this part of my hair buzzed off was that my hair grows incredibly fast.  I didn't notice this when my hair was long, but when it's short, every fraction of an inch makes a huge difference.  I also have very thick, wavy hair so when the buzzed part starts growing out, it starts looking very silly very fast. (Well, sillier than usual)
I had a friend shave my head for me last time it got too long, but I believe in self reliance and I decided that if I couldn't maintain it myself then I didn't deserve this awesome haircut.  Also, that friend is in Canada and I'm in California, so I was on my own as far as hair cutting was concerned.

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Step 1: Materials

What I used and what you probably will need:
-big garbage bag (to wear as a smock)
-clippers (I ended up using two different models, but more on that later.)
-scissors (to cut arm and neck holes in the garbage bag)

Last time I got my hair cut I wore an old t-shirt that I didn't care about, figuring I could wash it afterwards.  It got so many little hairs stuck in the fabric and no amount of washing would get them out.  This time, I found a box of huge garbage bags in my garage so I decided to just wear one of those to protect my clothes and minimize clean up.  It worked great and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

I didn't have any clippers so I bought these on Amazon and I think they were less than $30.  I don't know much about clippers but Wahl is a reputable brand and the clippers that I have for my horse are that brand, so I figured they were good enough for me.

Step 2: Make Your Garbage Bag Into a Smock

Cut a hole in the top center of your garbage bag and one hole under each of the corners.  I would recommend cutting them smaller than you think you need because the plastic can stretch and its way easier to make the holes bigger than to make them smaller!

Step 3: Prepare Your Hair and Workspace

If you are not intending to shave your whole head you should do something to keep the rest of your hair out of the way. I have long hair so I pulled it into a messy bun and also put a little gel on it too keep the fly aways at bay. If you have shorter hair, you might have to use hair pins or clips or even just gel to keep the rest of your hair organized. Just don't put gel on the hair you want to shave! Keep that hair clean!
The hair that I wanted to shave off was long enough that it was going in all different directions so I ran a comb through it to get it all facing in the same direction and make the part clearer.

For working space, if you have one of those mirrors that opens on the sides and lets you see all sides of your head, that's perfect. I don't have that, so I used the mirror above my sink and a full length mirror that's also in my bathroom. I'm sure you can figure out a set up that works for you using mirrors you already have!

This is also a good time to get familiar with your clippers. Make sure you know which clipper guard you want to use since that will determine the final length of your hair. Be sure that the clipper guard is securely attached to the clippers before you start. Start with one a bit longer than you think you might want. You can always cut more hair off! Turn them on and off a couple times to get used to how they feel, how loud they are and how heavy they are, etc. I held mine against my head while they were on (without cutting anything) to see how much they would vibrate and get used to the feeling before I actually started cutting any hair, since that's what I do with my horse, too.

Step 4: Start Cutting!

I started cutting the easiest hair first, that for me was the hair near the front of my head because it was easiest to see and I didn't have to worry about cutting off the rest of my hair. Once you have cut off as much hair as you can move to the next step.

Step 5: Details

I had a lot of trouble shaving the hair directly behind my ear with the Wahl clippers I was using because they were big.  I remembered I had some smaller clippers I had gotten to use on furry fabric that were smaller so I decided to try those.  It was kind of scary since they don't numbers for levels on the clipper guard, just 5 different settings.  I tried 5 first (the longest) and got down until 3 before it was the right length.  I had to really fold my ear forward a lot to cut the hair behind it, but it was way easier with the smaller clippers.

Step 6: Clean Up, Shower Off, and Enjoy Your New Trim!

Make sure you clean up all the little hairs so you and people you live with don't have to deal with them later!  Tear off the garbage bag smock and throw it away.  Shower as soon as possible because those itchy little hairs are super annoying.

Enjoy your renewed awesome haircut!

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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hey Danger! You cold put some awesome rhinestones in that undercut! :-)


    2 years ago

    you hair fond more news here


    3 years ago

    i have a haircut like this too but my side that isnt shaved is mucn shorter (at my jaw) and i'm loving the look.


    3 years ago

    does anyone else get hair splinters? I do my brothers hair, and if I miss a piece or two they end up stabbing into the bottoms of my feet and are way more painful than normal splinters


    3 years ago

    I'm getting my hair done like this on February 3rd.

    I'm sure I will have the same problem as you since my hair is very thick and wavy. o3o


    5 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks for sharing!

    After many years without cutting my hair I was thinking about undercut (something like Ragnar Lothbrok style from The Vikings series :D), but I'm too scared about how it could look if I'll cut them. But I'm sure your instructable will come in handy once I'll gather enough courage :D

    3 replies

    I got it cut by a professional first to get the initial shape and make sure the edges were straight and stuff, but now I can do it myself. I've had it for almost two years now :)

    I wouldn't cut it by myself first :D But I think I could manage maintaining it later.

    However the hardest part for me is the change. My little sister calls me "Hagrid" so you can imagine how my hair look :D

    I understand! I have always had really long hair so when I cut this, it was a huge change, but I've been enjoying it! I'm planning on posting an Instructable soon about dying hair since I've started dying the short part of my hair orange to match the Instructables robot, haha.


    6 years ago

    Your pretty and awesome hair cut