Whether you want a buzzcut or prefer a longer style, regular trims keep your hair healthy and encourage new hair growth. A trim once every few months will prevent your hair from looking damaged, flat, and lifeless—it also allows you to look your best.

We’ve come a long way since the first barbershop opened in 5,000 BC. Today, barbers who cut hair for men are around every corner, and their services are generally convenient, albeit expensive. 

On average, a men’s hair cut costs $28 in the US. Cutting your own hair will save you hundreds over the course of a year. Of course, you will need to invest in a few tools for cutting men’s hair, but all your haircuts will be free, and you won’t have to break quarantine. From supplies to styles, here’s everything you need to know about how to cut your hair at home.

Top 10 Best Hair Clippers

Curious to see how to get the most value by cutting hair at home? See our list of the best hair clippers reviewed by real people, cutting their own hair at home

In this article, I will go over some techniques to give yourself a professional looking men’s haircut at home.

With some videos added in, you absolutely can’t go wrong.

Well, sort of. You actually can go wrong! But, you can at least hedge your bets and give yourself the best chance to trim your own hair. Men’s haircuts may look easy, and they are, but one thing to remember is that you can see mistakes with short hair much easier than long.

Read on to see the best way to trim your own hair!

Hair Cutting Tools

Before you can start cutting your hair, you’ll need the correct tools. The primary tools for cutting hair include hair clippers, scissors, and a mirror. You can also use other products to make the job easier, such as a neckline shaving template or T-Outliner.

Definite Guide To Hair Clipper Sizes

If you are confused by the abundance of clipper sizes, check out our helpful guide with tables and charts!

Hair Clippers

Clippers provide a quick and convenient way to cut the back and sides of your head without making any mistakes. The best clippers for home use will be precise with powerful motors and sharp blades.

We recommend the Wahl Elite Pro due to its premium accessories and self-sharpening precision blades. For cordless convenience, you can also go with the Wahl Color Pro Cordless Rechargeable Hair Clipper & Trimmer.

Scissors

To cut the longer hair on top, you’ll need a set of cutting and thinning scissors. With proper care, the best hair cutting scissors will last a lifetime and give your longer hair some texture. Scissors to consider include the Professional Barber Hair Cutting Scissors and the Equinox Razor Edge Barber Scissors.

Mirror

You’ll need an adjustable three-way mirror for self-hair cutting to see the back and sides of your head, along with a handheld mirror. While any mirror will do, three-way and handheld options make it easier to change positions and still see the back of your head while you are cutting.

Prepare Your Hair

Before you cut your hair, there are a few prep steps that make the process easier.

Wash Your Hair

Damp hair has a little more weight, which allows for precision cuts. However, approach with caution if you have curly hair. Remember that once your hair dries, it may appear shorter than you cut it as curls form. If you’re opting for a longer style, cutting your hair dry may make it easier to get the right length.

Remove the Tangles

After washing your hair, use a comb or your fingers to detangle your hair. If you have longer hair, this step is particularly essential to ensure a clean cut. While you untangle your hair, keep it damp by spraying your head with water. If you have stubborn tangles, use a detangling product to save time.

Towel Dry

You want your hair damp—not dripping and soaking wet. Use a clean towel to absorb excess water. Then, run a comb through your hair again to remove any remaining tangles.

Once your hair is clean, tangle-free, and damp, you are ready to start cutting your hair.

Wahl Elite Pro

Comes with a more powerful motor and quality self-sharpening blades

Having the kind of precision an adjustable blade gives will make your life easier and the fade look professional.

Here is a video on how to fade your own hair.

Getting Started

Before you start cutting your hair, you have to find a place with good lighting where you can sit comfortably in front of a mirror. If your clippers have an electric cord, you also need access to a power outlet, and a handy surface to set down tools helps too.

For most people, bathrooms are an ideal option, but a bedroom mirror dresser also serves as an acceptable spot for cutting your own hair, albeit with a bit of clean up.

A stool without back support can make the process more comfortable but isn’t absolutely necessary. A revolving chair is perfect, as you’ll be able to comfortably rotate your body and view your head from different angles.

Before you start, make sure that you have enough time to do a thorough job. If you are in a rush, you’ll risk making mistakes and messing up your hair.

Section Your Hair

Section your hair based on the cut you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you plan to go short on the sides with longer hair on top, clip the hair you want to leave long up. To make this process easier, part your hair along the line between your temple and the occipital bone at the back of your head.

After sectioning your hair, select the clipper guards that you want to use for each section. To prevent mistakes, make sure that you use a longer guard size than you usually select. For example, if you typically use a #3 at the sides and back, opt for a #4.

Trim the Back and Sides with Hair Clippers

Attach the clipper guard for the sides and back of your head. Then, run the clippers from the bottom to the top of the section. When you get to the top of the section, make an outwardly flicking motion with your wrist, so there is a natural length variation between the bottom and the top.

Using this upward motion with the clippers, work your way from your sideburns to the back of your head. Make a few passes with the clippers to ensure the same length throughout.

You can also create a fade by going down one guard size and cutting only the bottom half of the section from your hairline, using the same flicking action. Use your handheld mirror to ensure that you cut to a single horizontal fade line above your ears.

Trim the Top with Styling Scissors

After cutting the back and sides, take the sectioning clips out and spray your head with water to make your hair more manageable.

Now, you have to blend your long hair with the short hair at the sides and back using your styling scissors and work your way to the very top. Use your fingers as a comb to ensure that the hair along the section edge is the same length. When you cut the longest hair on top of your head, hold the scissors perpendicular to your hair to add texture.

To cut the hair at the front, grip your fringe between your index and middle finger, and pull the hair back to the desired length. Then, shorten the hair using a pointcut.

Common Questions

Is it Easy to Cut Your Own Hair?

During their first attempt to cut hair, men tend to make mistakes. For example, you may not get a seamless fade between the side and the top, or you may cut your hair too short. However, with practice, you will perfect your technique and find it easier to experiment with various clipper haircuts. Make the process as easy as possible for yourself by taking your time with the sectioning stage and using clips to keep your hair in place. You can also ask a friend or your partner to help you until you become more proficient.

Is it a Bad Idea to Cut Your Own Hair?

For many men, the very possibility of a bad haircut is enough to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with the nearest barber. However, learning to cut your own hair at home is well worth the effort not just in monetary savings but for situations where it’s not possible to have your hair cut professionally—like during a pandemic. You may make a mistake, but most mistakes can be fixed, and you know what they say, the difference between a good and bad haircut is two weeks. New hair growth will hide your mistakes.

Best Hair Shears And Thinning Scissors

If you're looking for some shears or scissors, check out our picks for the best options out there!

 

Types of Haircuts for Men

One of the advantages of cutting your hair yourself is that you have complete control over your new look.  Popular haircuts for men include a buzz cut, fade haircut, and undercut. Each one of these hairstyles has unique variations.

How to Do a Buzzcut

The buzz cut is a traditional, timeless hairstyle that is easy to do yourself. You will need high-end clippers with #2, #3, or #4 guards, as these are the most common lengths for this cut.

Before you give yourself a buzzcut, inspect your scalp for bumps, lumps, and scars that may be visible through short hair. If there are skin tags or any abnormalities that you don’t want to be visible, consider a fade or undercut instead of a buzzcut.

You have to start at the top with a buzzcut where your hair will be the longest. Select a #3 or #4 guard for the top, but don’t go shorter than #3, as your scalp will become visible.

Start at the front of your head at the temple and work the clippers through your hair to the back. Then, go over the top of your head again, but cut from one side to the other, ensuring that you cut all your hair. When you are done cutting the top, repeat the process around the sides and back with the same guard.

After cutting your entire head, switch to a lower guard and trim the sides by moving from the bottom to the top. Making the sides shorter than the top will compliment your head shape and give you a well-groomed appearance.

After cutting the sides, trim your sideburns and neckline using a #1 guard. If you don’t have an asymmetrical neckline or hairy neck, trimming is not necessary. You also don’t have to trim your sideburns if you have a full beard.

How to Do a Fade Haircut

There are many different types of fade haircuts, but they all involve blending the sides and the back. A fade haircut is short around the ears and near the neckline with gradual lengthening towards the top.

To give yourself a fade with clippers, designate sections for various lengths, and follow the steps for cutting your hair above. With a fade haircut, the challenge is making a seamless transition between different lengths. Make this cut easier by using a clipper with a taper lever to adjust the blade for cutting lengths between two guard sizes.

Before you give yourself a fade haircut, decide where the fade line will start and whether you want a short or long fade. When fading on the sides, always start at the bottom. Then, work your way up using an upward flick of your wrist. When you are done, clean your neckline using a trimmer.

How to Do an Undercut

An undercut is a short- to a medium-length haircut with a long top and short sides. The contrasting lengths draw attention to the top and are ideal for men with square- or diamond-sized faces. The difference between an undercut and a faded haircut is that an undercut is a disconnected hairstyle with no fading between the sides and top.

With an undercut, planning is critical. Before you start, look at examples of undercuts and carefully select the top, back, and side lengths.

An undercut is easier to achieve than a fade haircut, and this hairstyle is flexible when it comes to hair length. The length at the top ranges from around two to six inches, and you can buzz the sides with a guard size between #1 and #5.

Generally, the longer the top, the longer you should cut the sides and back. However, if you want a striking and disconnected undercut, you can go for a higher length contrast.

Trim

With a trim, you tidy your existing style between haircuts to stay groomed. A trim involves the removal of excess hair growth along your hairline with clippers. For a neat trim, use your clippers without a guard. With your clipper at the shortest setting, move along your sideburns and past your ear to your neckline. Then, repeat the process on the other side.

Take Charge of Your Look

Cutting your own hair mostly comes down to practice, but hopefully, we’ve successfully provided enough information that you can give yourself a decent haircut and maintain your appearance during the lockdown.

Before you cut your hair, make sure that you have the right tools. Without clippers, styling scissors, and a handheld mirror, getting a clean cut is much more difficult. You should also consider buying a shaving template and outliner to make the task as easy as possible.

If things go south, contact your barber and ask them for advice. Hairstylists are usually happy to provide tips over the phone or through online hair consultations, though some will charge a fee for the latter. Your barber may also run a YouTube channel or subscription content service with video tutorials.

As with all new undertakings, you may not get it exactly right initially, which can be discouraging—especially when it will take weeks to grow out. However, with patience, proper planning, and practice, you will perfect the art of giving yourself a haircut.

Top 10 Best Hair Clippers

Curious to see how to get the most value by cutting hair at home? See our list of the best hair clippers reviewed by real people, cutting their own hair at home

Salvatore Jamison
Salvatore Jamison

I’m an outdoor enthusiast and have sported a full beard since I was in my early 20’s. Originally, growing a beard was a way to save time when getting ready each day, but I quickly realized that keeping a neatly trimmed beard takes work and some forethought. That’s where this site comes in.

You get to benefit from my years of experience. I’ve reviewed many of the top hair clippers on the market today and also included some information on what works best for me. A great beard will turn lots of heads in your direction.

Since I never know when I’m going to find myself being photographed, whether it’s climbing in Yosemite, or playing volleyball on the beach, it’s important to me to always look my very best. Maintaining my beard is part of my daily routine and I hope you’ll find some useful tips and information on this site to help you on your journey.