Tips For Cutting Your Own Hair at Home

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

If you are wanting to make a drastic hair transformation – leave that to the professionals. But a quick trim? This can be easy to do, and we all know that regularly tending to your split ends is crucial to hair growth. Look at our quick guide to DIY hair trims.  

 DIY haircuts can be an absolute disaster. Many of us will have a horror story to tell about a late-night, wine-fuelled fringe trim that ended up needing to be covered by a professional, or a clip-in fringe. It starts with a tiny snip, and another, and another, and before you know it, you have no hair. You find yourself grovelling at your hairdresser’s feet begging for forgiveness, vowing to never commit such a hair crime again.  As someone who has been trimming her own hair for 5 years or so, I’d like to think I’m somewhat well versed in DIY trimming. (I also recently DIY’d an undercut and a fringe, not for the faint of heart) Trimming your own hair is actually pretty easy to do, and can save a few quid. I cannot condone such activities if you are wanting to make a drastic hair transformation – leave that to the professionals. But a quick trim? This can be easy to do, and we all know that regularly tending to your split ends is crucial to healthy hair growth along with a balanced diet.

Why should I trim my hair?

Trimming your ends regularly will also keep them splitting up your hair shaft, ideally every 6 weeks or so for good upkeep. I consider a trim to be nothing more than about half an inch, an inch tops, and I can usually tell when it’s time to get it done, because the ends of my hair feel a bit coarse and dry and look a bit dull, they just don’t feel smooth – we all know that when your hair is behaving, everything else runs smoother, right? 

Before you rush off and grab a pair of scissors, there are some things to consider when doing your own maintenance job on your hair. Here are some of the main factors to consider when cutting your own.  

Use the right tools 

Investing in good tools if you plan to make cutting your own hair a regular part of your routine is essential – do not, I repeat, do not attempt to cut your hair with craft scissors, kitchen scissors or nail scissors. Things will not go well for you, and you may end up making things worse than when you started. Purchase some good quality hairdressing scissors, they really are worth the money. You can pick up a pair from your local salon supplies store, or there are some good online retailers that you can pick some up from.  


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Don’t trim off too much too soon.  

The idea of a trim is to take off the absolute minimum you can, so whatever method you choose, remember to do very small amounts at a time, and take it slow. You don’t want to chop off a massive chunk of hair only to find its two inches shorter than the other side of your head.  Take as long as you want, and keep checking the mirrors to ensure its the style and length you are aiming for.  

Do your research

There is a tonne of articles and youtube videos on how to cut your specific hair type, whether it be long, curly, a bob, layers and bangs. Before you go in and hack at your hair, make sure you look into how to cut your specific hair type and length. For example, if you have longer hair, tying it up into a ponytail and flipping it forward to focus on the ends might be easier. For a bob, do two ponytails either side of your head and trim the very ends very slowly, with mirrors on hand to make sure the back is even. For curly hair, it might be better to cut wet than dry as your curl shape can be different every day, so cutting wet and combed out will ensure it is even. Bangs are best cut dry and straight, and again take your time! 


If you can, get another pair of hands and eyes 

Wherever possible, I get my other half to check my haircut and let me know where I need to trim to get it even, and especially now with an undercut which can be a pain to trim myself.  Take the feedback on and don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially with a shorter style where you can’t get a ponytail over your head, because it can be a pain to get the back straight and even, despite having three mirrors. While it may take some practice, cutting your own hair is doable, and feedback will only help you perfect your craft. 

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Tools you will need:

  • Decent quality, sharp salon scissors – this is really important, you will not be able to get the same finish with kitchen scissors.
  • A tail comb for sectioning your hair
  • Sectioning clips to keep hair out of the way
  • Mirror(s)
  • When cutting hair at home, its easier to have your hair dry in a style that you normally wear – shrinkage can mean you will end up cutting off more than you mean to (especially if you have curly or wavy hair) if you cut it when it is wet.
  • When trimming a fringe, make sure you have sectioned it off properly and don’t cut off too much too soon – use a comb to keep it in place and trim a small length at a time
  • If you don’t have a fringe and want one – go to a salon and ask for one to be cut in as your face shape and hair type will determine what style is best for you.
  • Take your time! Trim as smaller length as possible to ensure it is even on both sides, don’t just cut off a chunk and then try and even it out.
How to trim your bob or lob
  1. Start by pulling your hair into a clean and neat ponytail at the back of your head, it needs to sit as tight as you can get it at the bottom of your hairline, right in the centre.
  2. Take your hairdressing scissors and cut straight across your ponytail, underneath the bobble. This will result in your hair dropping just on top of your shoulders. If you need to, you can look in a mirror and see where your hair will sit before cutting it.
  3. Your hair will now fall into a choppy, graduated bob hairstyle or lob hairstyle, but can be a little blunt for some people.
  4. If you prefer something slightly softer then tip your head upside down so you are looking at the floor. Gently chip into the ends of your hair, holding your scissors at a 90-degree angle. This will create a softer, diffused line.
  5. Tip your head back over, shake it out and make sure it’s even.
How to trim your own fringe
  1. Firstly, section your hair (so you don’t include any hair you don’t want in your fringe) and pin it back away from your face.
  2. Then, using hairdressing scissors, hold them at a 90-degree angle and gently chip into your existing fringe. This will thin out the hair, resulting in a lightweight, natural fringe.
  3. Avoid cutting straight across your face because this will create a very blunt fringe, which can be difficult to correct later.
How to trim longer hair
  1. Tip your head upside down, brush your hair forward and gather it into a nice tight, smooth, secure ponytail that sits on your hairline in the centre of your forehead.
  2. Take a comb and measure from your hairline where you want your first layer to sit – this could be just below the cheekbones or the bottom of your chin, it is up to you.
  3. Hold your ponytail firmly, then take your hairdressing scissors and cut the hair in a straight line at the length you measured with the comb.
  4. Now that you have cut any excess length off you need to tip your head forward slightly and put the comb behind your hair.
  5. Hold your scissors pointing directly into the end of the ponytail and chip into the blunt ends. This will help give the hair a softer appearance and get rid of that blunt look. When you can’t see any more hard edges you know it’s time to stop.
  6. Pull off the hairband and shake your hair so it falls into place, check its even, and style it as desired.

Regular trims will ensure your ends are kept healthy and will keep split ends at bay, which is crucial if you are growing out your hair. In addition, make sure you look after your hair with a good conditioner when it’s freshly cut. Investing in a good salon-quality hair masque will do your tresses wonders, and keeping those ends regularly in check with a leave-in conditioner once a week will ensure your hair is healthy and strong, and will, therefore, grow out stronger, longer, faster. 


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Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.