I Saved Time and Money Cutting My Own Hair (10+ Years Experience)

A man getting his hair cut at the barber

I hated haircuts growing up. Haircuts were what you got when your parents or the school district wouldn’t let you grow your hair long. My goal was always to have the barber cut off as little as possible. I can’t remember a single time I thought I looked better after a haircut. When I was a kid, my parents would take me to one of those brand-name franchises that would service you in less than 20 minutes. Every visit was with a different stylist who could never seem to figure out my hair in the short allotted time. They would cut it too short or botch the area with cowlicks in the front and back. I could no longer see the logic of paying someone to perform a service I didn’t want done to begin with and thought I could learn to do better myself. Plus, I was already getting my hands dirty as my neckline would get out of control after about a week in-between cuts. I decided to take action and started cutting my own hair.

At first, it wasn’t pretty. I remember grabbing a pair of school scissors I found in my drawer and began imitating my stylist. The first few cuts were uneven and I missed large spots. The neckline wasn’t straight. A few people noticed. But my hair grew back and I continued to make a little progress every few weeks. Eventually I bought a pair of clippers with attachments that made my life a lot easier. I liked the sides and the back short, so I could now get those done within a few minutes. I would alternate between leaving the top at the longest clipper setting (about 1 inch), and cutting it with scissors. I learned how to do my own neckline with a tri-fold mirror and would sometimes ask my brothers for assistance.

Today, more than 10 years later, I still cut my own hair. I’m definitely not a professional, but I have no interest in going anywhere to get my hair done. My initial motivation wasn’t to save money–it was to do a better job than my stylist. But I have undoubtedly saved thousands of dollars over the years. And I’m not convinced I would look any better getting it done professionally.

Learning how to cut your own hair requires patience and focus. It’s easiest for people with shorter hair. For longer hair, you have to use scissors, which require skill and are less forgiving. If your hair is long, plan on watching a lot of YouTube videos. Cutting your hair also makes more sense if you don’t enjoy going to a barber. A lot of people like the feeling of getting “treated” by a professional. It is a form of therapy for them. Or maybe they have a good relationship with a particular barber and like the cultural experience of getting a professional haircut.

If you decide to cut your own hair, the first thing you need are good tools. My last pair of Wahl’s clippers has lasted me 6 years, and I recommend this brand to everyone. This pair Wahl Professional 5-Star Cord/Cordless Magic Clip is a newer version of my old one. There’s no telling how long it will last if you take care of it. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, there’s Wahl Clipper Elite Pro High-Performance. It’s cordless and costs about half as much but will get the job done. Both products come with attachments for cutting at various lengths. You will also need a pair of scissors for hair you want to keep longer and for areas hard to reach with clippers. I haven’t bought scissors in a long time, but Equinox Professional Shears Razor Edge is Amazon’s top-rated product and is sharp enough for all hair types.

Remember, YouTube is your best friend. The fastest way to learn is to look up videos on how to cut hair, in general; how to cut hair that is similar to yours, in particular; and how to do so at home without a barber.

Cutting your own hair may not just be something you do to save time and money. It may evolve into an activity you enjoy, like many people when they go see a professional.


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