Let me start by saying that I’ve never really been a big haircut person. It’s just that professional cuts have never been that satisfying to me. Sure, I get them from time to time, but more so because I feel like I need to than because I think they’ll enhance the way I look. In an alternate universe in which I have amazing hair, I might have a different sentiment. And yet, here we are.
Anyway, in the alternate universe that is the coronavirus pandemic, my lame, thin hair was looking less-than-acceptable, even for my standards. With limited options and almost nothing to lose, I decided to take things into my own hands.
The School of YouTube
I didn’t go into it completely blind. Before I began snipping away, I watched a few videos on how to give yourself a blunt haircut, which, in my case, was an above-the-shoulder, one-length bob. Also, I ordered a pair of professional-grade stainless steel hair scissors off Amazon.
DIY haircuts seem to have a bad rap. And sure, most people probably suck at them. But I’m someone who’s confident that with enough time, I can learn anything—especially with YouTube at my fingertips. I mean, I taught myself to contour and apply false lashes. How hard could a layer-less haircut be? As it turns out, not very.
How I Gave Myself the Most Basic Cut
To achieve the boring, blunt cut I was going for, the Internet taught me to begin with wet hair, combed straight, and parted down the center. Standing in front of a mirror, I then pulled one parted side to the front and held it as taught as possible with a comb. In this position, I cut a straight line across at my desired length. Then I did the same thing on the other side. (If you’re starting with longer hair, you can also attach both sides underneath your chin with a hair tie, as demonstrated in this video.)
This technique might sound like the recipe for uneven hair. But since the back of your hair has to reach further than the front of your hair to get into the cutting position, the back strands will remain longer. The result is a one-length haircut that tapers ever so slightly from the front to the back.
To be sure, it wasn’t a completely flawless first attempt. I went back and forth a couple of times to even things out. And over the next couple of days, I had my husband snip the stragglers. Also, everyone’s hair is different. There’s a good chance my limp, lifeless locks are easier to cut than other hair types.
The best part about cutting my own hair was that, amid the shutdown, I didn’t really care if it looked good or not. Plus, I figured that even if I messed it up, it could always be fixed later—it’s not like I shaved it off.
My husband typically gets his cut every six weeks or so, and he was definitely more troubled than I was by the fact that hair salons were a pandemic no-no. But for me, it came down to a simple risk-benefit analysis. I had very little to lose and could potentially gain a cute, low-maintenance haircut.
In good conscience, I can’t recommend a DIY haircut to someone who would be devastated by a failed attempt. There’s no shame in loving your mane, but in that case, it might be worth sticking it out until you can see a pro.
At this point, I have no plans to have my DIY cut fixed or get a “real” haircut. I like how it looks when it air dries, it looks chic enough when I straighten it, and my husband likes it. That’s good enough for me.
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer and lifestyle blogger specializing in wellness, beauty, relationships, and personal finance. Her work has appeared on Verywell Health, The Spruce, TripSavvy, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and The Financial Diet. Theresa lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.