How To Cut Your Own Hair – A Tutorial

How To Cut Your Own Hair - A Tutorial

You’ll never believe how easy it is to cut your own hair!

How To Cut Your Own Hair – A Tutorial… 

My hair was starting to get really rough looking and the ends were getting fuzzy. My bangs were feeling really long and I knew it was that time again… time to get a hair cut. During the Spending Fast fancy haircuts at a salon were eliminated. My hairdresser was up for a trade at one point so I lucked out with that but mainly I made myself be okay with just doing without. Getting haircuts weren’t considered necessities to me and that was that. I grew my hair out long and that helped keep my hair maintenance costs down.

I entertained the idea of cutting my own hair (see this post) and just never got up the nerve to actually do it. Something about cutting my own hair felt really intimidating. No one wants to look too jacked up right? I thought that it could just end REALLY bad. Well, I finally got up the guts to do it yesterday! (all photos are by Aaron Jones)

I used this guide by Feye that I found online because the instructions were simple. No need to complicate things.

1. Brush all of your hair as straight as possible. I did a dry cut because I thought I would be able to see the results a little better if it was in real-time. (I heard that if you cut hair when it is wet it might be shorter then intended when it drys).

2. Part your hair in the middle and bring both sides forward. Put the hair from one side in a ponytail holder. Tilt your head back and re-brush your hair so the hairs are tidy. Grip the hair with your index and middle finger and don’t let your hair move in between your fingers. The scissors will be in your other hand.

3. Start clipping. I went for approx. 2 inches.

4. Follow step 2 for the other side.

5. If you don’t want a “V” shape in your hair (I didn’t) then put your hair into a ponytail at the base of your neck and pull the ponytail holder to the end of your hair. Then, simply clip off the little point that is there. If you do want the “V” then just skip this step!

Since I have bangs and since I like to have them be little and asymmetrical I didn’t feel like I could mess my bangs up too much. I started clipping away and tried to make them look decent.

After you do the above steps go in and see if there are any weirdly long hairs that need to be trimmed. If so, cut away.

Now, the ends of my hair feel silky again and not ragged and scraggly like before. After doing the cut I think I definitely lucked out by doing a long haircut since it turned out to be pretty easy. I think something like a bob or pixie haircut would be a lot trickier. Maybe next time I’ll do a more drastic cut! That would be fun.

If you have kids in your family this would be a great money-saving tip. Give those little ones a homemade haircut too!

Have you cut your own hair before? Got any tips?


108 thoughts on “How To Cut Your Own Hair – A Tutorial

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  1. Leah

    Hey Anna, great post. One suggestion I do have is to invest in a pair of hair trimming scissors. Craft scissors aren't as sharp and can cause further damage and split ends. They usually range in price from $3.99 to $25. I have natural (not chemically processed) , tightly curled hair that I will have straightened and trim myself. My hairdresser is charging $ yeah not happening. Luv your blog!

  2. Rachele

    Great job! I think it looks much better after you trimmed it. I have been cutting my own hair since high school, about 12 years. I have a pixie and sometimes it can be tricky but I can only imagine the amount of money I have saved doing so. Especially since it requires a trim every few weeks.

  3. Aubrey

    Awesome job! I have a pixie and probably won't get up the nerve to trim it myself. I figure that I compensate by cutting my son's and husband's hair at home. I'm getting purdy good if I may be so bold :-). I realized one day that I had been watching people cut my husband's hair for years, and I knew the process by then! Mimicked what I had observed, and it came out great. Once I figured out to leave the TV on to keep my son still, that is.

  4. Amy (Metz) Walker

    You have some serious kahunas, girl! We did the whole Dave Ramsey thing and the one thing I was unwilling to give up was my quarterly haircuts. EVERY other luxury went but I'm seriously impressed!

  5. Bettina

    I've been cutting my own hair for years now. It seems scary, but it's not so bad. I generally wear it very short and have been growing it out recently, so I'm having to learn new techniques. I love not having to pay someone and I love being able to cut it whenever I want without waiting for an appointment. Great job Anna! Way to be brave! Sometimes things that seem scary aren't. Like not spending. :)

  6. Rich

    The last time I cut my own hair was in kindergarten. The next day, the teacher gave a lecture on the proper use for scissors. I splurge once 4-6 weeks at Great Clips now. My friend once bought a FlowBee, which is a combination electric razor vaccuum system that let people, guys in particular, cut their own hair ( It was ok except that people kept calling him "Maam".

  7. Nessbow

    I always cut my own hair, because I don't trust hairdressers to do it the way I like, and because the amount most hair salons charge for a simple trim is ridiculous. I have very long hair, so a simple trim is pretty simple to do myself.

  8. Lori

    Great post. I have cut my hair off and on over the years. I have a pixie cut now. Rachael….how do you cut it youself. I have a hard time cutting by the ears and the back is very hard. If you have any tips please let me know. Thanks

  9. Rachele

    I have a few tricks. I grab sections and hold it where I want to cut and cut above my hand. I do the back that way without looking. Just by feeling. I go at it from a lot of different angles and use the point of the scissors rather than cutting straight. I also now have a pair of thinning scissors and that helps a lot. I try not to think much about it. I told my husband that I just cut off the hair that isn't supposed to be there. Lol!

  10. Lori

    Wow Rachael that is awesome. I have a razor that I got with at a beauty supply store to cut my hair. Kind of like the thinning shears. Ok a few more questions. Your method is kind of how I do the front of my hair. HOW in the world do you do the back that way. I recently really screwed up the back of mine but was able to get it fixed. I am determined to do this and would love more input from you. how do you get the ears even and the part behind the ears? So you just pull sections in the back out and cut with the point like point cutting? How do you know if it is all even. I have very fine hair but a lot of it. Any other help would be great. If it would be easier for you to email me let me know and I will put that on here. Thank a bunch.

  11. Anna Newell Jones

    Hi Lori, The instructions cover the back of the hair too. Step 5 talks specifically about the point that will after you follow steps 1-4.

    Here's step 5: "If you don't want a 'V' shape in your hair (I didn't) then put your hair into a ponytail at the base of your neck and pull the ponytail holder to the end of your hair. Then, simply clip off the little point that is there."

  12. Lori

    Thanks for answering Anna. I appreciate it. I actually have a short pixie cut and was amazed on the way Rachael. I actually have the top down pretty good but the back is hard to see. so many layers and since it is so short if I mess up it is hard to fix.

    Short hair is so hard to cut and there aren't many videos or easy instructions to cut it but I am bound do get it down. Thanks for this great post

  13. Stitchybritt

    I'd love to have a go at this. Although I appreciate the skill that goes into (good) hairdressing, I'd love to try this myself. My hair is short and thick and regularly requires thinning. I have thinning scissors but I will have to get my courage up to try a whole cut. Hmmm…

    P.S. the above link to the tutorial is broken, but I would love to read it!

  14. Elizabeth Hayes

    In all the years I had my naturally curly hair cut, I found maybe, maybe three
    hairdressers who I liked. One was famous and one was at a world famous salon
    and the price was $124 in the eighties. I just couldn't do that again. Then for more
    years I kept asking people with curly hair who had a cut I admired who cut their hair
    and they always said, I do. Finally, a good friend cut my hair and I watched her
    carefully. Now I have cut my own hair for about six years and I am so happy with it
    and everyone compliments me….even strangers. If I can do it, anyone can.

  15. Deirdre

    Love this, great hair! I've been contemplating this style for the last year! You've solidified it once I saw you on the NB show today. Very great show! Congrats!

  16. Connie

    Loved your story on Nate today, inspiring to me. I have trimmed my own hair for years with a visit to a hairdresser once in awhile. I use a three way mirror to do the sides and it helps some with the back, good tip on the v part at the very back, will try that.

  17. Cameron

    To those ladies with short hair: I cut my own hair short (realllllly short) for years and then went through the whole growing out process without a single professional cut and, in doing so, discovered a trick to giving yourself a great looking haircut at home: make sure your style *can* be done at home. Super sleek pixy cuts? Not gonna happen. Totally smooth blunt-edged bobs? Nope. By browsing photos and finding a style that was about some thoughtful asymmetry and quirky lines, I always had a style that I could replicate at home *because* it was defined by tasteful imprecision. (:

  18. Ales Eisner

    Someone had already mentioned it, but I have been using a Flowbee for over 20 years (I think I've only had two Flobees during that time), and haven't paid for a haircut since the early 90s. I think it's still around $80 if you use your own vacuum, so you get your money back within a year. It generally works on men only, though, and you have to have a trimmer to do around your ears and your neck, but it has been a great machine for me. And, I don't have to go to a barber, with appointments and waiting in line, so it saves time too.

  19. Kate

    Thank you so much for these tips! I have been going to a professional for about.. forever! I gave this a try, and look who's the pro now!

    Thanks again!

  20. barry j

    hi anna,i am a traditional barber( 40yrs exp) and since these really tough times i have started to trim ladies hair at the same price as men . at first women were a bit cautious of a barber but after a short time word got around. i only do dry cuts and at £5.00 a go trade is good. so ladies try your local barber he may be the answer to that tidy up at a reasonable price. thanks

  21. Anna Newell Jones

    That's a good point Barry. Especially for those that try cutting their own hair and have um, unsavory results;)

  22. Valerie

    I tried cutting my own hair but for me it didn't work out well. I have very straight, extremely thick hair and so it was 1) very difficult to cut through all of the hair when it was divided in half and 2) obvious when I made even a small mistake. One time I had to go around with an uneven haircut for a few days before I could make it to a professional place. Definitely worth the $10 to go to one of those cheap places for a better result.

  23. shalandas kindred

    i cut my own bangs this morning and they came out so cute but what i did was i put them in a ponytail in front of my face and then i cut what was hanging down from the ponytail and it made them straight across but the sides are ajust a little longer so so very cute…

  24. snipsalott

    As a licensed cosmetologist that has worked the last 11 years(have been cutting 24 years now) in a barber shop if your looking to save $$$ and don't care if you get the FULL treatment check out the old school shops,where i work if women come in with clean hair and don't want to be styled it only cost $15 for a cut. Please keep us in a job let us help you look great and save some money.

  25. Goldwave

    Hi – just wanted to share a haircutting method I found on Youtube about a year ago (sorry I don't remember the name of the person but anyone who wants to check on Youtube can surely find it). This method is so incredibly simple that I wish I had known about it years ago.

    All you do is lean over and brush your hair neatly together as if you are going to make a ponytail on the top of your head. The ponytail should be centered at the middle top of your scalp (or adjust a little toward the front or back, depending on if you want the front or back to layer a bit shorter).

    Then, twist the hair tightly, and remember which direction you twisted (clockwise or counterclockwise). Cut off a bit less than the length you want to remove from the end of this twist.

    Repeat, but at the twisting step, twist the hair in the opposite direction you did the first time, and trim the remaining amount of length you want to remove. (You do this twist/cut step twice like this just to help keep the results neat and even).

    Now when you stand up and brush out your hair, you should find that you have very nicely layered hair. The whole process literally takes a minute or two and looks like you went to a salon to have your hair layered all over.

    If you have very wavy/curly hair, you might want to do this with damp hair, so it's straighter. However, I have very wavy hair and do it on dry hair and it still works great.

    You'll find that by adjusting where you position the ponytail matters. I position it a bit closer to the back of my head from the center, as I prefer to have somewhat longer layers in front. If you position closer to the front, your bangs and layers will end up shorter.

    Also I don't think this method will work that well if you want to go extremely short.

    Finally, you can do this in two stages for extra layering. To do that, you simply do the above. Then, using a rat-tailed comb or whatever, part your hair horizontally around your head so that you can gather only the upper layers; then repeat the above process on just the upper layers.

    You might also want to shorten with a final quick trim the longest layers.

    Anyway – this method is so stupidly simple and it really works – I've done it several times (my hair grows fast). I actually prefer it to going to a salon now, because salon artists often don't understand that I want just a simple layering to lighten my thick hair and maximize the wavy bounciness. This cutting method will do that for you, nearly instantly.

    This is a nice blog and besides the great information, it is very nicely put together in terms of graphics etc.; admiration! :)

    1. Laura

      This is such a great idea! I’m not 100% certain what you mean about the two stages for extra layering, but I’m about to give it a go – my hair’s become much longer than I’d like, so I’m free to experiment. Thanks again for such a cool and easy idea!

    2. Stephanie

      Hi! I really want to try this method but my hair is WAY thick and I’m afraid I might mess up because of it. Any pointers for people with massively thick hair? Thanks :)

        1. Stephanie

          What I ended up doing was mixing your method and the method Goldwave posted. It worked pretty great, but I think one side is longer than the other by a half inch, which is fine, I’m not super picky :) I recently started (well not super recently, but recently picked back up) a blog about saving money so I’m going to post about it soon!

          P.S. My hair is a blessing and a curse, trust me haha. Some days I would kill for normal hair.

          1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

            Ohhh I’ll have to look into this Goldwave method… & that’s funny about how you said one side is longer than the other but you’re not too picky about it;) Cracking me up!

          2. Stephanie

            Haha well I’m a little picky, but as long as the tips don’t feel like razor blades and it doesn’t seem uneven to the naked eye, I’m pretty happy. I do wish I could get a professional cut done, but alas, I am unemployed :(

  26. meghan

    great tips! I started cutting my own hair 2 years ago when I moved to a big city where $90 for a trim is considered "reasonable"!

  27. Jay

    Just purchased hair cutting scissors today! They were $21 from the pharmacy, I think that's pretty good consdiering my hairdresser charges $70 for a cut … Fringe trims are free but it's finding the time to get there … Thanks for the handy post Anna!

  28. Guro

    Just cut my own hair today, and it looks great! It was so easy, took me 10 minutes, and I honestly think it looks better than when I go to the hairdresser. :) My hair is quite wavy/curly, so even if it’s not entirely straight no one will notice. The curliness also means it goes dry very quickly, and needs trimming quite often, so this trick is going to save me a lot of money!! :D

      1. Rachel

        It was! At first I was like, no way is this going to work… but I tried it, silly head angle and all, and I absolutely think I did a better job than my hairdresser does… and it’s nice, because if you don’t like it, you can adjust it!

  29. Jenna

    Hey! Thanks for the inspiration and the instructions! I havent had my hair cut in a year because its hard to always find people to do it (i dont usually pay people- seems like such a waste for a quick trim). So yay! I finally did it myself and it looks pretty good and feels even better. Doing things your self is so empowering. Thanks again!!!

  30. Lulu

    I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was 14 (mostly because my mom would cut our hair at home, and I didn’t like how it would come out). I’ve had it anywhere from super-short pixie to shoulder-length, and I can’t imagine paying for a hair-cut (or color and highlights, I do those too). I would say the key is having right supplies. Good scissors make the difference, and an extra mirror to check out how the back of your head looks (especially for the super-short hair). For hair coloring, I go to Sally Beauty supply and buy special dye for dark hair (since I have nearly black hair), and it comes out perfect. Frosting kit for highlights… and I can’t imagine spending money to get my hair done!

  31. Madisen

    hey ladies, i was hoping someone could answer this for me… for step 5, if you do want a little bit of a “V” shape, how would you gather it in the front? i hate getting my haircut b/c i never like the way it comes out & its expensive since i have such long hair, im a little nervous to do this!

  32. Kendra

    For fewer split ends, stay away from conditioners that have any ingredients ending in “cone” – silicone, dimehicone, etc. This is what you spray on your boots to waterproof them and they will absolutely fry your hair over time, although it will feel soft and silky today. I alternate between a dab of coconut oil pre-shower, and an organic conditioner from my local co-op. The fewer split ends, the less need to cut. Yay!

  33. Heidi S.

    JUST finished cutting my own hair for the first time! I’ve saved this post for about a month working up the courage to give myself a haircut. I started the spending fast this Jan. and passed it on to friends hoping I wouldn’t be alone.. Most are trying the spending diet, but my sister’s doing the fast with me. Anyways, thanks for the great tutorial– my hair turned out great, and I was shaking only a little bit ;)

  34. Jessica

    This is super helpful, especially getting rid of that little V that appears after a home haircut. I can never describe what I want to my stylist so I just started cutting it myself. It only took a year’s worth of tries to finally start getting it right!

    Basically I brush my hair straight up as if I were going to make a ponytail at the crown of my head. Then I pull it tight and snip the ends. This creates a nice layered effect when you release the hair back down.

    Also, you remind me so much of Zooey Deschanel in your first picture :)

  35. Sicily Congettina

    This is great and all but Anna have you cut your own layers yet?? You gave a tutorial for the very bottom, which is very easy …cutting the rest is not easy. If it was so easy then everyone would be doing it, ya know??

  36. The Momma Blogger

    Thanks for this post. I am about to try to cut my super long (almost to my butt) hair myself, as I can’t find anyone to help. I only want to take off a few inches to stop the heavy hair headaches. I hope mine turns out as good as yours.

  37. Jenni

    took me an age to find some hair cutting scissors yesterday but i finally discovered some hiding in the corner of superdrug… so happy I did! Thanks for this tutorial, my scraggly ends were making me grumpy and now i’m as cheerful as can be!

    only found your site yesterday, but i’m already finding it very inspiring x

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  39. Noel Guillory

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I have had mixed results with cutting my own hair. My biggest tip is that less is more. Also I love sheering scissors- I bought a pair for $12 at Sephora and they are great for thick haired ladies like me! But remember- LESS IS MORE! Thin only once or twice per section of hair and make sure you’re thinning evenly (right, left, back right, back left). Trim a little, check your shape, trim a little, check your shape.

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Thanks for saying that. You can always cut more but it’s hard to wait out a tricky over-cut ‘do. I used craft scissors for my 1st homemade haircut (don’t recommend that!) and then found some haircutting shears on sale at Sally’s and they were the best investment.

  40. Rachel

    As a Cosmetologist this post really scares me. I work at a salon called Fiesta. You would be surprised how many haircuts I have to fix each week whether it is a bad box dye or cut. Or haircuts are only $17.00 and with a modest tip $20.00. I think spending $40.00 a year for maintenance would be better than cutting your own hair and more cost effective in the end.

    It is true high end salons charge up to $50 or more but there are bargain options that are not Great Clips.

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      I can see how it might be a scary post but I have had nothing but success with my home hair cuts and have seen and heard of many others who have had a ton of success with them as well.

  41. Lizzie

    Thanks so much for this post, I followed your tips and cut & coloured my own hair today, it looks great & saved me £££!

  42. Desiree Taylor

    Hi! I have some questions. is there any way you can do a video of you trimming your hair without the ponytail method? Also, I used to trim my hair a couple years ago but I always messed it up. I would get one side straight and another side an inch shorter. I really want be an expert at this because i dont want to pay to get my hair trimmed.I’d raither spend the money to get a style then a trim. Do you have any advice on a beginner? How can i make it straight all the way around, What about the back of your head how do you trim that to make it even aswell? Sorry, for so many questions! Also do you have advice for cutting or trimming mens hair? I use an electronic one to cut my husbands hair but i want to learn how to do it without. Thank you so much! What i read did help but im a visual. so its hard for me to read something and know exactly how to do it. thank you so much

  43. Lory

    Thanks for this! I am toying with the idea of trimming my own hair as the hairdressers I have come across chop off more than I ask them too. I noticed in your first photo that you have a side part (I do too) and saw that you tied it whilst it was side parted. At step 2 you wrote “Part your hair in the middle”. Do you mean part it at the back of the head to halve the amount of hair or to make a middle part all over including the top?

  44. Jaqueline Turnner

    Can you recommend doing the ponytail cut with wet or dry hair? Also, you mentioned the point cutting technique in the leading of the post, but then in one from the pony variations you say to be able to snip the idea straight across. I have channel size heavy slightly wavy hair (with little curly fly-aways/break-aways by my face, that I enjoy). I have never reduce my own hair and am enthusiastic about trying the #3 above. Also, will these techniques work for easy kiddo haircuts? THANKSSSSS!!!!

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  46. amstincan

    So I became inspired by all of you and cut my hair tonight after reading this post and all the comments yesterday. I bought a pair of scissors this afternoon and this evening started snipping. I’m excited with how it turned out and all for $11.99 on a pair of scissors I can use over and over. :) Thanks!

    1. Sheila

      I was so excited to find out how many people are really cutting their own hair. I have often thought about it, but wasn’t confident enough. Now I am and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. My hair is getting too long, and needs some fresh ends, and a little new layering. I was on the verge of getting it professionally cut short.
      Now…. thanks to all of you, I can’t wait to try this myself!!

  47. Michaela Harris

    Thanks for this post! Last night I cut my husband’s hair and then did mine. I had attempted mine before, but the back was always hard to get right. The ponytail trick worked so well! I hate paying just for a trim. My hair feels great today and looks straight!

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Whoo hoo! So glad it worked well for you. I’ve been trying to convince my husband to let me cut his hair for like, ever and he just won’t let me!;P Maybe he’ll come around someday. Lol;)

  48. C K D

    Thank goodness I found this! I’m headed to Japan for a year (or more) and I’m not sure how a Japanese hair stylist would do with SERIOUSLY curly hair…

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Oh my gosh, such a good point since they probably have very few curly haired people coming in. Your hair sounds super cute, and I’m super jealous that you’re going to Japan! ;)

  49. A. Lamp

    Wow! Thanks for the tip. :) My hair always gets split ends really quick and I don’t have enough money to get regular haircuts and this totally helped! My hair looks so much better and fuller. Thank you

  50. Melissa

    I don’t know if anyone suggested it but googling How To Hair Girl will get you to a site run by a stylist and now I use her method to cut my hair with ONE CUT. It takes ten minutes to cut my long hair, including clean up!

  51. Dread Locks

    It is a really nice tutorial. I can cut other person’s hair but not my own. These are very useful tips and i would love to try it.

  52. Emma

    Hi Anna, I just discovered your blog today and I love it! But it might just be me, but a lot of photos in various posts are showing to me as broken? Just thought I’d let you know :)

  53. Anaice

    Your hair looks great, I might consider cutting my own. It does freak me out though just like you said you felt. Still I think I’m going to let it grow for a while.

    Anaice Bize

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