How To: Cut Your Hair

In the spirit of this week’s DP Challenge, I thought I’d quickly explain how I’ve saved many dollars by cutting my own hair.  I started during my freshmen year in college since the Hair Cuttery almost killed me, the only other place in College Park cost $20 for a simple haircut, and I had too much bad pizza to buy and couldn’t pay that much.  Now I cut my own hair every week.  Over the last 5.3 years, (assuming $20 per cut, every other week) I’ve saved approximately $2,756.  It isn’t complicated, but it does require a few steps:

  1. Temper Your Expectations- As with all DIY endeavors, you won’t get professional results unless you are in fact a professional.  Even if you are a professional, cutting one’s own hair involves its own complications.  Choose a simple, repeatable style.
  2. Get What You Need- I’m not a complicated man, I do a #1/2 guard cut all around, some of you may have higher standards.  A set of clippers, scissors, and mirror would be a good start.  The cost of your equipment does not directly correlate to the quality of the end result.  I got a basic Wahl clipper set with entirely too many guard sizes.  It came with a pair of scissors and some combs I never use.  I highly recommend a medium-sized hand-held mirror to see the back of your head in the bathroom mirror.  All of this can be had for less than $30, if it works out twice, you’ve already saved money.
  3. First Attempt- It won’t go as smoothly as you think it will, so let’s get that established right away.  If you’re using scissors, it may not be even at first.  Remember, you can always cut more hair off, but once you do, you have to wait until it grows back.  Check yourself in the mirrors as you go, or just at the end for some fine-tuning.
  4. Repeat- Practice makes perfect, so the more times you cut your own hair, the better you’ll become.  People don’t even believe me when I say I cut my own hair.  If I can do it, you absolutely can.  Eventually, you’ll get a feel for it and wonder why you hadn’t tried it before.
  5. Profit- As I mentioned above, this has saved me a tidy sum thus far.  I don’t have to make an appointment, waste time driving somewhere, wait for the previous person to hurry up, get my hair cut improperly, tip them for their effort, and do it all again in a few weeks.

I’ve come up with a few quick tips to make this easier for some of you:

  • Stand in the dry bathtub unless you need to see yourself in the mirror, cleanup is much easier.
  • To keep the back of your neck clean and straight, hold a belt around your head, line up the bottom edge where you want it, hold firmly, and trim up to the belt.  Straight and even every time.
  • If you’re using a trimmer, cut against the grain and account for any swirly growth patterns in order to keep the length uniform.

Hopefully this was helpful, let me know if you have any other tips and tricks (especially for more complex styles)


[May 5 ‘Student, Teacher.‘ Writing Challenge]

How To: Cut Your Hair

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