I’ve been cutting my hair for years now and it is not nearly as hard as many people think, loads of people do it — just check out the comment section of this blog post! Wondering how to cut your own hair with clippers? Wonder no longer 🙂
Why should you care?
I have saved a lot of money using the techniques in this guide. It’s simple math — a men’s haircut, depending on where in the states you live, will run you for anywhere from $15 to $35. That adds up. Short hair grows pretty fast so you’ll need it cut every 3 weeks. Every year, you may be paying nearly $600 just to look decent!
I can think of better ways to spend 6 Benjamins, can’t you?
Why Should You Cut Your Own Hair at Home
- It saves a ton of money,
- you can get a haircut anytime you want,
- hairdresser’s ideas won’t be forced down your throat,
- no small talk with the barber,
- the list goes on
It’s also a useful skill to have to also some pocket money on the side or cut your friends’ and family’s hair. Once you have some practice under your belt, you’ll be able to tell your barber exactly what you want without unpleasant surprises.
But not all people (including myself) would be comfortable walking around without any hair on their heads, and luckily, there are more than a single buzzcut (also called “clipper cut”) out there. You can get a fashionable clipper haircut and the best part is — you can DIY it! I’ll teach you how to cut hair with clippers in just a few paragraphs.
Even for those who wouldn’t want to cut their own hair all-year round, learning how to touch-up a haircut will help save a lot of money. You can save at least 50% by knowing how to cut your own hair and thereore extend the life of a haircut for 3 weeks or so and keep looking good in-between trips to the salon.
Buzzcuts and cutting own hair therefore is not only for the 20-something punk-fans. It’s for anyone that wants to save some money on haircuts.
Even if you simply extend the life of each haircut, you may still be saving a ton of money. Keep reading and I’ll tell you all the tricks I’ve been using to cut my own hair.
Self Hair Cutting Tools
It starts with the tools. Naturally, you won’t get very far without a pair of hair clippers, unless you plan to do your haircut with scissors. I must warn you though, it’s a lot harder!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- good-quality hair clippers with different-sized guards and blades
- scissors (unless you want a very short haircut)
- hair thinning scissors (if you have very thick hair)
- razor blade (again, optional)
- 2 mirrors (one in front of you and one in your hand)
- a comb
- something to cover yourself with to protect your clothes from hairs
It’s also a good idea to keep a sweeper or a vacuum cleaner close by so you don’t get your entire house covered in hairs while walking to get it. Unless of course you get the Remmington’s vacuum clipper.
Here’s our guide to helping you select the best products. Now remember, you’ll be able to save a lot of money with cutting your own hair. It might be a good idea to spend more upfront to get good, long-lasting equipment. We’ve reviewed and compared quite a few hair clippers on this site, but here’s an updated guide to what new tools you can use to cut your own hair.
There are two types of hair clippers for cutting your own hair:
Light and easy to work with
These cheaper clippers travel well and are easier to work with. You want them to be cordless, lightweight, and effective. They often come with extra features like a built-in vacuum cleaner (whaaat?!). Typically, since they’re made of plastic, they won’t be as sturdy and may need you to replace them after a few years. The standard blades and guards also likely won’t fit them.
The main issue with regular hair clippers is that they are awful to work with if you’re cutting your own hair. Conair is attempting to fix this with this weirdly-shaped clipper that cuts in all directions.
A quote from one of the customers:
This is much more natural to use than regular clippers, which were never designed to be used to cut your own hair. However, what I love about [this clipper] is that [it is] designed for us who cut our own hair.
This is a full set of tools that you need to cut your own hair. It includes the standard scissors, guards, carrying pouch, etc. but what really sets this one apart is its unique vacuum feature.
The feature simply sucks all the hair that’s cut into its reservoir which really cuts (get it?) the clean-up time. Another thing that people rave about is its amazing battery life. There is definitely a plethora of reasons why this clipper got a 4.5 stars rating on Amazon. I want it tbh.
Our third recommendation has earned a “#1 best seller” ranking and with a good reason. Its curvature makes sure you hit all spots of your scalp, and the rubberized exterior makes sure the tool will stay in your hand.
The reviews are very promising, people love how fast it charges. Lots of them also use it in the shower as the machine is completely water-proof. This makes it so much easier to clean up afterwards. Highly recommended.
Best on the market
These are the hair clippers that stood the test of time, like Oster Model 10 or Andis Master. They are sturdy and high-quality, but typically more expensive and often harder to work with as they’re meant for professional barbers. Get these if you value quality, have a lot of heads to take care of, and want to give the clippers to your grandkids when they’re old enough. Do not get them if you want something portable and lightweight.
You should be standing up in front of the big mirror, close enough to the power outlet so it doesn’t hinder you working with corded clippers (unless you’re working with cordless clippers of course). There are also products that help you with this, of course. Here are some of our recommendations.
Featured on Shark Tank, this set lets you easily see all sides of your head. While I will recommend some hacks to get the back of your head just right, nothing beats actually seeing what you’re doing. This 3-mirror system is a simple product that will solve this problem for you. It’s also highly portable and adjustable, and got really good reviews on Amazon.
This highly popular product runs out quickly. Find out if the Self-Cut System is on stock today!
Pick your DIY Haircut
Be sure to print out or redraw the diagram of the haircut you want so you can always check if you’re not sure about guard & blade sizes – also refer to this guide we have for different hair clipper brands. If this is your first time cutting your own hair it might be a good idea to have a ‘backup’ haircut that you can fall back on (for example the induction cut) in case something goes wrong. So, always start with longer guards than you think you need – you can always cut shorter, but never longer.
Always take into consideration the face shape. If it is round face, use a style that offers height and fullness on the top of the head. Make sure to shorten hair near cheekbones to give an illusion of longer chin.
Got a heart-shaped face? Then select a style that provides volume near cheek bones and for square shape go with delicate bangs and soft curls.
Everything goes with an oval shaped face.
You do not have to do everything with your wild imagination, get help. Check web pages for companies that manufacture hair products, they often have a few tips to share on using and styling with a particular product. Or, take the traditional route; flip through the pages of fashion magazines, especially the ones dedicated to hair.
Before you get into all the details about a particular haircut you need to get familiar with all the terms related to how to cut your own hair. Read and understand what each term being used by expert hairstylists means, learn about razoring, graduation, layering, elevation, cutting angle, the products and specialized tools or instruments used so that when you are researching about a selected style, you are completely clear with the instruction.
Here are 6 of the clipper cut tutorials we have currently on BuzzCutGuide. Click on the chosen haircut to get some additional tips on how to cut a particular clipper cut – with relative hair lengths and hair clipper sizes.
How to Cut Your Own Hair Men
Here’s the full tutorial on how to cut your own hair with tips that I use personally every time I cut my own hair with clippers. Be sure to read it thoroughly before you start cutting.
Start with basic preparation, take a mental survey of the instruments you have and the ones that you might require. Keep everything ready including the hair you will be working on.
Wash the hair properly with the right product according to the hair type. If the hair you are handling is prone to tangles and knots, use a detangling product before combing.
Now, if you are going to work on straight hair; in most cases you will want to wet them while cutting. Use a razor and pair of scissors to cut wet hair. On the other hand, if you are dealing with curly or wavy hair, just keep the hair a little damp. Waves or curls when wet tend to lie flat and do not show their actual curling pattern, ending up in an uneven texture.
General Tips on How to Give Yourself a Haircut
Get familiar with your hair clippers before touching your hair, turn them on and off, change speeds, clip guards on and off, change blades, etc. You don’t want to go check the manual with half of your hair already shaved off.
You should always cut in the opposite direction of your hair growth. This varies from person to person, as well as on different parts of head – run your hand through your hair and find the direction in which you feel the most counterforce. Jot it down if you think you’ll forget.
Especially if your hair is pretty long at the moment, you should first buzz your entire head with the longest length setting of the haircut; after you’re done, change guards to the shorter size and buzz the part with shorter hair in the haircut.
While designing your haircut it’s a good idea to dampen your hair every once in a while . They will stick together and will be easier to cut.
Only after you’ve accomplished that general feel of the haircut, start designing the details like sides, top, and back. Don’t go and start cleaning up the right-hand sideburn if you haven’t done the back of your head yet.
How to Cut the Sides
Common barbers’ workflow is to start bussing on one side of the head and proceed around the back to the other side. However, I recommend that you don’t follow this advice, but rather do one side, skip to the other side, and then do the back once you’re done. This is to ensure that you don’t accidentally forget what exactly you did on one side.
Lower part of sides are normally at least slightly shorter if not tapered so it’s best to use lower number guards around ears and for the sideburns (even if you’re doing a simple undercut, where the hair length is seemingly the same size).
How to Cut the Back of Your Head
Back is always tricky, even when using an additional mirror. If you can, get someone to do it for you or at least fix it. Anyway, what I do is lay my left hand horizontally on the back of my head and use it as a guide. Then I simply drag clippers through hair alongside my palm hand and use the ‘simple fading technique’ (read “Fading” chapter of this guide) to blur out the transition.
For doing the back, it’s helpful to listen to the sound of your clippers cutting through hair; this will help you determine where the hair is already short enough without even seeing the back side. If you don’t have the secondary mirror you can even take a picture or a video with your phone to see how it looks – this requires some more practice though.
How to Cut the Top of Your Head
Top is typically the longest part of any short haircut. Refer to our diagrams to see which guard size you need and then just drag through hair like with other parts of your head. You can use a comb for guidance. If your haircut requires a gradual size change from back to front (like mine), simply hold a part of your hair that is supposed to be longer (for example, with a hair clip) to keep it out of way and cut the rest of it. Repeat with a smaller beam of hair, continuing towards front. If this is all too much, you can always just opt-in for hair scissor-length on top, but it might be better to get it done by a professional.
If you have strong, thick hair, use hair thinning scissors to thin the hair on top of your head so they style better. This part is easy – just randomly snip a few times into your mane.
Blend the edges with a size between side size and top size.
How To Do a Fade
With exception of few very basic buzzcuts like the induction cut, most haircuts, even side- and undercuts feature more than one hair length. But the transitions between these length shouldn’t be visible, so you need to fade between them.
To do a fade on your own head there are two options; first is only suitable for ‘longer’ haircuts (at least half a centimeter or 1/4”) and is pretty easy. What you do is you slowly lift the cutters after each drag through your hair. This will ensure there is not a visible line between two sizes, but you need to be pretty careful and work slowly.
The other method is the classic barbers’ one – you will have to use about a hundred different blade sizes. Well, not exactly hundred, but it’s quite advanced, so if you can, get somebody else to do it for you. Either way it goes something like this: after cutting the area with longer size, cut a shorter size underneath and leave enough space for the in-between size. It’s easier to make sure it’s in a straight line because you should be able to see it. After you’re done with entire head, fade this line using an in-between number of blades.
How to Trim Your Own Hair — Final Touches
Cleaning Up The Hairline
It’s not required to do the hairline, but if you do, it’s highly recommended to use a hair trimmer. You can alternatively just use clippers and (optionally) a shaving razor. What you do is simply follow and clean out the natural hairline, modifying it where you want. Work slowly! If you happen to have facial hair, style it as well. The most important rule that you must consider is making both sides symmetrical.
Be careful to make your arches (parts above your ears) low enough but still clean! The hard part is styling the back. If you can’t get someone else to do it for you, that’s alright too, just work slowly and patiently. There is a trick that I read somewhere – use a belt (yep, a leather one) as a guide.You can also use a plastic guide. Simply wrap it around the back of your neck, line it up, and clean up your neck with trimmers, stopping where the belt begins.
You could optionally even use scissors for cleaning up and putting finishing touches on. It’s better to have someone else do it though.
Styling Your Hair
For shorter cuts use a small amount of gel to spike your hair up or add texture. For longer cuts (more than an inch / 2,5 cm) use hair blower to make hair stand up.
You do that by directing air upwards towards wet hair. When it’s dry, your hair should stick up like they just drank 12 cups of coffee. If you want, you can still texture them with some wax or cream.
Let the hair dry itself naturally, till 70 to 80%. Set the dryer on the lowest possible setting and at least 6 inches away from the hair.
Take a final look and even out any fullness and trim any uneven hair.
And there you go, the ultimate guide on how to cut your own hair using clippers. Whether you’re going all-in and will be cutting your hair all-year round or just touching up on your haircut to extend its lifetime, you can save a ton of money with these techniques.
I hope this tutorial helped, please consider sharing it!