Tips to cut your own hair at home. Photo: Youtube
Tips to cut your own hair at home. Photo: Youtube

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you go rogue with a pair of scissors at home, but if you can't make it to the salon right now and are in desperate need of a little trim, it's perfectly fine to give yourself a quick fix at home.

The key is to start small with a few careful snips. Right now is not the time to decide you want bangs (yes, you!). We recommend saving big changes for the pros, but to freshen up your layers, trim your (already-existing) bangs, or nab split ends at home. A few pointers before you get started:

First, ask yourself if a haircut is actually necessary

There's a reason you'd normally have to visit a salon and pay a trained professional to get a haircut. Not only do they have the necessary skillset to change the length and overall appearance of your hair, but they're also equipped with certain tools and products that you might not have immediate access to in your own home. So, of course, stylists are encouraging their clients to wait as long as possible before cutting their own hair, according to Allure.

"With all this talk of at-home, do-it-yourself haircuts, I can't help but freak out a little," says New York City-based hairstylist Erickson Arrunategui. "You don't want to end up like that one meme of the girl who cut her bangs to her hairline."

It's taken him a decade to perfect his style and develop his skills, so for you to be able to master a great haircut on yourself with a few helpful tips and tricks isn't something that can be done on the first try (or even the second or third).

Regular trims are a necessity, especially for people with color-treated and/or heat-damaged hair. According to Marjan and Arrunategui, split ends are an indicator that you're in need of a trim.

"Split ends are usually a sign you have to cut your hair because you don’t want those hairs to keep splitting up the hair shaft and cause irreversible damage to the hair strands," says Arrunategui. Split ends, he adds, usually don't start showing up until three or four months after a haircut. If you've seen a professional within that amount of time and your hair isn't feeling brittle, you can probably wait it out longer.

Get the right equipment

Photo: Web Bloggers
Photo: Web Bloggers

Your kitchen scissors just aren't going to cut it (pun intended) for this type of project. "I wouldn’t recommend using your usual house scissors, because they’re just not going to be sharp enough—the blade is too thick, and because of that, you’re going to get a very jumpy, choppy line," explains Carrie Butterworth, a celebrity hairstylist at The Salon Project by Joel Warren in New York City. It'll basically look like a hack job, as noted by Health.

Can you cut your hair with normal scissors?

PSA: You cannot cut your hair with kitchen scissors (!!!). There’s a reason hairstylists use professional shears—the sharp, precise blades make it so much easier to get a clean edge. If you use a pair of regular ol’ scissors, there’s a way higher chance you’ll wind up with split ends, so do yourself a favor and invest in a pair of shears before you get started. Heads up that you’ll also want to order a double-edged comb (the wide and fine teeth help you section off your hair) and no-slip hair clips for easy separating. An ultra-smoothing flat iron is optional but encouraged—especially if you’re giving yourself a blunt cut.

If you want a healthy, clean-cut, you need to invest in a pair of hair cutting shears. "The best type of scissors to use are the cheaper types of haircutting scissors that you can get at a drugstore," says Butterworth. If you aren't able to make a trip to the drugstore, you can snag hair shears online, like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Scissors ($23;

You might also want to consider hair clips, which could help make things easier. Sectioning your hair off with clips allows you to see better and will help you avoid the rough, choppy look you would get if you tried cutting straight across, notes Butterworth.


Before you even think about reaching for the scissors, make sure your hair is protected with a moisturizer, says Dora, a stylist at Pierre Michel Salon in New York City. Working with damp, moisturized hair is the best way to ensure you're getting a clean-cut, so it's crucial not to skip this step. Her go-to: Moroccanoil Mending Infusion ($28;, a nourishing styling product that zaps dryness, fights frizz, and prevents damage. "This product will protect the hair from breakage and seal split ends," Dora adds.

Start with small, minor cuts

Photo: Allure
Photo: Allure

Obviously, now is not the time to experiment with a drastic new style. The more drastic a cut you try to achieve at home, the more you run the risk of a major mishap. Marjan and Fitzsimons advise working in small sections and cutting hair little by little. "Don't cut to the length you want the end result to be at first — start smaller and work your way up," Fitzsimons says. "Remember, you can always trim more, [but] it is unfortunately not possible to put [hair] back once you've chopped."

Marjan recommends working in very small sections — just an inch or two wide when spread as thin as possible between your fingers — starting at the very front. "You can see where the hair will land, then use that piece as a guide for the rest of the hair," she says. Make sure to have a set of alligator jaw clips on hand to safely secure any stray sections while cutting.

Don't go geometric

As much as you might like to come out of quarantine with a dramatic new 'do, Dora suggests keeping it simple until you can see a professional stylist again. "I would recommend not cutting any perimeter or geometric changes to your haircut," she says. (FYI, The perimeter is the area of the hairline that begins at the forehead, down past the ears to the nape of the neck and back.) And whatever you do, never cut the hair straight across, she cautions.

"Start out by taking small sections of your layers, twisting the hair and point cutting into the ends," says Dora. In case you're not familiar, point cutting is a technique stylists use to soften and texturize the ends of your hair, rather than to remove length.

Be extra careful with bangs

Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Marjan warns that trying to cut new bangs is a surefire path to regret, but trimming existing ones is far easier. She advises sectioning your hair in a triangle as seen in this video of hers. When parting hair like this, Marjan likes to use the arches of her eyebrows as a guide to determine the outermost edges of the section. Then, you might want to take a deep breath and relax your hands.

"Place the hair in a comb with no tension," she explains. "Use the comb as a guide for a straight line, then cut upwards with the scissors." But whatever you do, be patient and keep your cuts minimal. Otherwise, you might wind up cutting your bangs way shorter than you anticipated.

Enlist the help of a friend, if you can

If possible, have someone else cut your hair for you, recommends Butterworth. "My main tip for cutting your hair at home would be that if you have someone at your house cut your hair for you, at the very least, you’ll have a straight line in the back," she says. While you might not want to trust anyone else with your hair, it's a lot easier than trying to get a perfect 180 degree, straight-across cut on your own.

Some hair cuts are gonna blow the fashion trends in 2021:

1. Shaggy Layers

How to Trim Your Own Hair at Home?

For a more low-key version of the shag, opt for piecey, sultry, face-framing layers that will grow out with ease. Take Priyanka Chropa's mid-length center-parted shag for example. "Ask your stylist for fashion layers – you know, the kind of layers that are carved out from the inside of your cut, and face framing layers that are perfectly piecey and unapologetically sultry," says Bridget Brager, Herbal Essences brand ambassador and celebrity hairstylist.

Brager recommends treating your hair with a weekly nourishing hair mask, such as Herbal Essences Argan Oil + Aloe Vera Hair Mask to keep your scalp and ends hydrated and healthy. "You want this style to grow out beautifully and like all things, if you take care of it, it will!," she adds.

2. The Bob

How to Trim Your Own Hair at Home?

Good news for fans of the iconic cut: both Brager and Brice predict the bob will still be going strong into 2021. "Bobs really stand out when they are stick straight and glossy (like January Jones), or when you style them with a flirty edge using a flat iron to add waves," says Brager. She likes T3's flat iron.

"This hair cut works well with most hair types, it’s just all about tailoring it to you and your personal style," adds Brice. "So whether it’s shoulder length, chin length, or somewhere in between, blunt, choppy, textured or maybe even a little elevated, you have the opportunity to customize the perfect bob for you." If you are using hot tools to style your bob, she recommends prepping hair with a heat protectant like amika's The Shield Anti-Humidity Spray.

3. Curtain Bangs

How to Trim Your Own Hair at Home?

Curtain bangs are another 2020 hair trend you'll continue to see more of in the new year. "Not only are they super cute, but they also make way for a softer and more graceful grow-out phase then traditional bangs, meaning you can go longer between trims," Brice says of the look.

Aside from being low-maintenance as far as bangs go, the major selling point of curtain bangs is that they take any hairstyle to the next level, from a messy bun to a sleek ponytail like Halle Berry's updo. Price suggests spritzing your hair with amika's Brooklyn Bombshell Blowout Spray and a blow-drying with a round brush to give your pony extra body.

4. Extensions

How to Trim Your Own Hair at Home?

Growing out your hair is a jog, not a sprint — unless you take a shortcut with a set of extensions. "Extensions are a great way to get past that awkward stage of a short haircut instantly," Brager shares. Just ask Kaia Gerber, who went from a bob to waist-length Rapunzel hair for Saint Laurent's virtual spring 2021 fashion show.

On top of booking an appointment with a specialist to get your extensions installed, Brager says to ensure the quality of the hair is good. "Also, make sure the hair they have for you is similar to your natural hair texture – whether it is curly or straight, you want it to dry naturally and seamlessly as much as possible," she adds. "From there, your hair potential is endless! Have fun!"

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