How to cut short hair at home


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short haircut for men


  • With hairdressers and salons currently closed, people are trying to cut their hair at home.
  • Rather than an act of despair, a home haircut can be an opportunity to acquire a new skill that could stick with you even when hair salons reopen.
  • We speak to a professional barber for tips and tricks on how to cut your (or someone else’s) hair at home.
  • Also, check out our guide on the best hair clippers.

Editor’s Note: Many of the products recommended in this article are in high demand and can sometimes be out of stock. We are trying our best to keep items updated with available items, but if what you are looking for is out of stock, we recommend you to look for similar products from same brand.

Maintaining a regular grooming routine can make you look your best, but whether you realize it or not, it also plays a role in morale. Cutting your hair can boost your confidence and improve your attitude, but with hair salons and closed salons everywhere, achieving that fresh look is not as easy as booking an appointment or coming in.

As we continue to practice social distancing, many people are long overdue for their scheduled haircuts. Instead of roughing it until the hairdressers reopen, some are taking matters into their own hands by clutching the nail clippers.

To help you achieve a haircut you will be proud to brag about, we spoke with professional barber Sydney Shlakman of Hairrari Hair Salon in Brooklyn, New York for some tips, tricks, and guidelines.

Although trying a haircut at home may seem like an act of despair, it doesn’t have to be.

“It is an opportunity to be creative and try different things because we are not going out and seeing people as much,” says Shlakman. “Since most people have never cut someone else’s hair or even their hair before, it’s better to go slow and understand the tools, hair, and head shape.”

Read on to learn everything you need to know about cutting short hair at home.

To start, you will only need hair clippers. Here are the ones we recommend:

Remington Clippers


What are the most important parts of a haircut?

You have a set of nail clippers and you’re ready to go, but before you start cutting your hair at random, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

1. Reach the desired length

Unless you’re going for a baldie or a buzz cut, you’ll want to pay attention to the nail clippers being used. Clipper protectors are numbered to indicate the length of hair remaining in eighths of an inch. A guard 1 will cut the hair to a length of 1/8 “, a protector 2 will cut the hair to 2/8” (or 1/4 “), and a guard 3 will cut the hair to a length of 3/8”, and so. Not wearing a protector at all will give you the closest cut.

If you don’t have a good set of nail clippers and protectors yet, we recommend Wahl Magic Clip Clippers because they are professional grade, cordless, and come with protective accessories.

2. Gradual fade / decrease and blend

Most people with short haircuts have some form of fade or decrease on the back and sides of the head. Regardless of the style of fade or gradual decrease, it is imperative to properly mix hair to avoid a “bowl cut” appearance.

When making a fade, you should first start by cutting with a longer length. For example, if you want to fade your sides to a 2, start by using a guard 5 or 6. Then use protector 2 at the desired height based on your style preference (if you want to make a high, medium, or low fade). Using a longer length first lets you make sure the 2 is creating a clean, visible line to fade away. It also makes it easier to cut hair cleanly.

3. Sharpen hair line

No matter what style or length you like to wear your hair, a sharp line can clean your appearance. Keep a steady hand and follow the natural lines of your hair, and just wipe off the stragglers. You can use the nail clippers on hand to do this, but if you are interested in clippers specifically for alignments, we recommend Andis Outliner II or Andis T-Outliner.

Frequently asked questions answered by a professional hairdresser

  • Should I cut with the grain or against the grain of my hair?

When starting, you should cut against the natural grain of the hair, since it is the most effective way. If you’re just cutting the sides and back with the hair clipper, just go against the pimple, but go over it several times to make sure it’s even. For people with curly hair, you should go with and against the pimple. If someone is getting a full buzz cut I suggest going against the grain everywhere (top and sides) and then with the grain everywhere to make sure it’s even.

  • I’m cutting my hair without help. What is the best way to cut hard-to-see areas?

If someone is cutting their hair, I suggest doing a double mirror technique if possible so they can better see the back and sides. If you don’t have a second mirror on hand, you can also use the selfie camera on your phone for this.

  • Other than clippers, what else should I have on hand when cutting my hair?

Hairdressers generally have a variety of additional tools to use at your convenience, and you can probably collect similar items from your home: combs and hairbrushes to make sure the hair is positioned correctly, hair clips to keep the Long hairs out of the way as they fade or line up, and a brush to clean cut hair along the neckline are helpful. Most people don’t have barber coats at home, but an old towel or sheet can make cleaning easier.

Using other resources

It goes without saying that reading this tutorial (or any other online guide) will not automatically give you the skills that professional hairdressers have gained after years of haircutting, but there are heaps of useful information online that can help you along the way.

Whether you’re looking for a guide to a specific haircut style, best practices for cutting your hair’s texture, or visual aid for techniques like fade, you’re likely to find it on YouTube. There are many professional hairdressers, stylists and common people who comb their hair at home and who have shared their knowledge online.

The video above is just one of the many helpful videos you can find on the Internet.

The bottom line

With the right tools, a little preparation, and patience, the novice home groomer can get a decent haircut. Who knows, you could become skillful enough to keep cutting your own hair even when hairdressers reopen.