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How to Cut Your Own Hair (for Men) in 5 Easy Steps

Wondering how to cut your own hair? Don’t worry — you’re in the right place. As a man, it’s actually quite simple, given you have the right tools. We’ll show you the steps to take and a few things to consider before trying it.


Wondering How to Cut Your Own Hair (Men)?

Man following the guide titled How to Cut Your Own Hair Men

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt irritated at how your hair has grown out since the last time you got it cut? By learning how to cut your own hair, you’ll never have to worry about fitting a stylist visit into your busy schedule again.

Convenience isn’t the only good reason to learn how to cut your own hair. You’ll also save money on expensive haircuts and tips. Haircut bills add up when you get your hair trimmed as often as every four to six weeks. 

Another reason to learn how to cut your own hair is so you can experiment until you get the look you want. Let’s face it: sometimes it’s hard to communicate the look you’d like to achieve with a haircut. 

Barbers and stylists with years of experience still sometimes get it wrong and go too short, too choppy, or cut at the wrong angle. At least if you learn how to cut your own hair and mess something up, you won’t waste time being aggravated by a stylist.

It’s much easier to shrug off a mistake when we do it ourselves! And fortunately, hair grows out fast. So you can correct a bad haircut with just a little time.

Should you learn how to cut your own hair? If you like to be in control of your time, money, and appearance, it’s worth a try. Men have easier hair to manage than women, so you’ll likely learn how to cut your own hair and never go back to the barber’s chair. 

Let’s look at the equipment you need to invest in to learn how to cut your own hair in a standard short style with clippers. Then we’ll lead you through the process in a few easy steps. 

How to Cut Your Own Hair for Men – Styled and Short

The most important tool in your home hair-cutting kit will be your hair clippers. If you’ve got an old set of clippers lying around the house, donate them to charity or give them away. 

Unless you’ve babied those clippers, cleaned and oiled them after every use, don’t use them to cut your hair. The right job starts with the right tools. First, get a brand-new, sharp, good-condition clipper for your haircut.

Make sure to buy one with a complete clipping kit with multiple clipper guards for different lengths. Buy a hair-cutting kit from a trusted brand like Wahl that also contains:

  • Taper guards
  • Scissors
  • Oil
  • A brush for cleaning
  • One or two combs
  • A case for storage to keep dust and hair off your equipment

The only other thing you need that you might not have is a handheld mirror and hair clips. If you don’t want to stand for a long time while learning how to cut your hair men, find a place where you can sit in front of a large mirror instead. 

You can also purchase a tabletop mirror you can use hands-free as long as you can see your whole head and a mirror held behind you to see the back.

You have shampoo and products to style your hair already, most likely, but now may be the time to invest in something new and refreshing. It’s a red-letter day, after all. You’re about to learn how to cut your own hair!

Read Next: Hair Clipper Sizes

Prep Work

You didn’t think you’d plug in the clippers and go to town on your hair just like that, did you? Careful preparation is the key to a good home haircut. You’ve probably heard the adage that when you’re working with wood, you should measure twice and cut once. 

When you’re learning how to cut your hair, that holds true, too. So carefully prepare before you cut for the best results. Your first preparation should be thinking about how you want to cut your hair.

A nice clipper set gives you many options, from buzz cuts to fades to high-tops. Look at some clipper haircuts online to see what you like.

If you plan to cut your hair the same way you usually get it cut, at least ask your barber or stylist the name of the cut so you can find it online and watch a YouTube tutorial or two. We’ll lead you through the steps, but seeing the actual cut always helps!

Set up where you plan to cut your hair. A well-lit bathroom mirror works, and you can pull in a stool if you can’t stand for long. A well-lit kitchen with a lit standing mirror on the table can work, too. 

Pull a trash can over. Put some towels or something on the floor to catch the hair for easy clean-up. Plug your clipper into an outlet and make sure it runs smoothly. Get used to the weight of it in your hand.

Once you have all your supplies where you can easily reach them, your hair-cutting station is ready. Finally, wash your hair! Dry it thoroughly, and comb through it to make sure there isn’t a single knot or snarl. Are you ready to learn how to cut your hair? So are we! 

1. Start With the Sides

Almost any type of haircut should start with the sides. Do one at a time instead of starting on one side and working around your head. Doing a continuous loop this way almost guarantees you’ll trim at an angle and leave your hair lopsided. 

For a fade, you can attach a number 0 or 1 guard. Part your hair on top of your head on each side if you want to make sure you don’t go beyond a certain point. Clip the hair on top of your head down and out of the way.

You probably won’t need to do this if your hair is fairly short, but it can help with symmetry if you’re uncertain. You can make sure your parts line up before you start cutting.

Press the guard flat against your head where you plan to start, and slowly slide the clipper up against the growth of hair. The clipper guard should push upward into the hair. Never slide the clipper in the direction the hair grows.

Carefully trim the side until you’ve cut all the hair to about one inch in length. This is the starting length for the fade. Again, resist the urge to start cutting the back and move to the other side to cut it symmetrically with the side you just finished. 

Now, with a shorter clipper guard, cut the hair on each side from the bottom up to get shorter hair on the bottom and longer hair on the top. Work on one side until you’re satisfied.

You can go shorter and shorter to get a better skin fade on the bottom, leading up to the longer hair at the top. Do what you’re comfortable with, and blend the lines between the hair lengths. 

When you’re finished with both sides, the hair on top of your head will be longer, a little like a Mohawk. Using the clipper carefully, blend the shorter side hair with the edge of the longer hair on top.

This blending will remove any line and give it a gradual change in length. Go up in size on the clipper guard to leave your hair longer and achieve a decent blend between the two lengths.

If your hair is very long, you might need to go up two clipper guard sizes. When you’re happy with the blending and symmetry, move on to the next step!

Read Next: How to Do a Fade Haircut

2. Cut the Back

Start with the clipper guard you used on the sides first and trim the back of your head. You can use a handheld mirror to keep from recutting the sides. Once all the hair is the same length, switch to the shorter guards like you did on the side to achieve the fade look.

The back of the head is the hardest place to do this well. If you’re uncertain, have less fading in the back! No one will know you didn’t start out wanting that style. 

When you’ve gotten the hair the length you want and blended it with the sides as best you can, you’re ready to learn how to cut your own hair on top of your head.

Read Next: Clipper Guard Sizes

3. Cut the Top

What length do you want on top? If you want a buzz cut or short cut, you can use a longer clipper guard than on the sides and trim the hair this way. For longer hair, use the good hair scissors from your kit. Work backward in rows. 

You’ve seen barbers hold the hair between their index finger and middle finger to make a line then trim across that edge. Do this in rows across the top of your head (from ear to ear, not back to front).

Try to blend each row with the last. Cut all the hair on top of your head to the length you want! You can go shorter in the front to longer in the back or choose a uniform length. You’re the barber. It’s up to you!

Read Next: How to Use Thinning Shears

4. Tidy It Up

Once you’ve cut the top and you’re happy with it, look for layers that don’t blend together or bits of hair sticking out longer than the rest, and clean up the cut. The finishing touch is a make-or-break moment for learning how to cut your own hair.

You probably want clean lines around the back of your neck, temples, and ears. Turn the clipper upside down and use it to create that edge of hair that ties the bow on your haircut. If this gives you trouble, wait for a friend to help, especially in the back.

Then, with practice and patience, you’ll eventually be able to do it yourself. If you plan to continue cutting your own hair, invest in a hair trimmer designed for this purpose.

Trimmers are easier to use on the edges than clippers and give you better control. When you’re satisfied that you’ve done the best job you can, hop in the shower to wash out all the loose hair. 

5. Final Inspection

When you dry your hair, you might notice some rough spots or edges. These flaws are common, especially for the first time when you’re learning how to cut your own hair.

Rev up the clippers and fix those spots, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone started where you are, even professional stylists. If you cut more hair, at least rinse your hair and dry it.

Then use whatever styling products you prefer, or none, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on your back. You’ve learned how to cut your own hair, men, and you’ll do an even better job next time!

Other Haircuts and Styles

Man doing a fade for a piece titled How to Cut Your Own Hair Men

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You don’t have to limit yourself to clipper cuts when learning how to cut your own hair. If the hair on top of your head is longer, you might have already used scissors. You can use that same technique all over your head to trim your hair. 

The shorter hair on the top strip of your head from your forehead to your crown and hair that gets longer and longer with each inch or so down the sides and back is layered hair.

Or you can cut the bottom half short and leave the top long to hang down to a line around the back of your head. You can use longer guards on your clippers to create layers, too.

Look at pictures, techniques, and hair-cutting videos online to give yourself ideas about what you can do with your hair. In a worst-case scenario, a short buzz cut gives you a clean slate to start over when it grows out!

You can also use your clippers for other haircuts. Many cuts are as easy or easier than the technique outlined above. For short hair and buzzcuts, use a clipper guard in the #6 or #7 range to start.

Of course, you can always cut more if it’s too long, but you can’t undo a cut.

Try a crew cut or a flattop, and if you don’t like those looks, a buzzcut will fix everything. A buzzcut is so fast and easy you’ll probably want to use that cut now and then for speed and simplicity. 

Fades can vary from soft fades from short to long hair to skin fades where the hair doesn’t appear until almost halfway up your head. Experiment with shorter clipper guards to find a look you like. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Guy showing us how to cut your own hair men with clippers

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Why bother with haircuts at all? What’s the best haircut for guys? Find those answers and more below!

Why do men need a haircut?

Technically, you don’t even have to cut your hair. Instead, you can whip that mane into a ponytail, braid it, or do whatever you want with it as it grows. 

But to create a shape around your face that accentuates your best features and helps minimize any flaws, you need a good haircut!

How often should a man get a haircut?

How often a man should get a haircut depends on the hairstyle. For example, a cut that’s a little shorter on the sides than the top, the typical rectangular cut, needs a trim every four weeks on average to stay looking good. For a skin fade or a similar cut, you might need a touch-up every two to three weeks. 

What is the most attractive hairstyle for guys?

No specific haircut is objectively the most attractive on all men. However, a fade or any cut with a rectangular shape that’s thinner on the sides and longer on the top flatters most men by rawing the eye up and narrowing the sides of the face. 

Can I cut my hair in the shower?

No, you shouldn’t cut your hair in the shower. You risk cutting the hair too short because wet hair shrinks as it dries, and you won’t see your hair well unless you have a mirrored shower. 

Both electric clippers and sharp scissors can be extremely dangerous in a wet shower, so it’s best to sit or stand with dry hair when you’re learning how to cut your own hair. 

How long do men’s haircuts take?

A man’s haircut takes between 15 and 30 minutes at a stylist or barbershop. Traditional cuts with clippers can take as little as ten minutes when the barber or stylist is skilled.

But fades and elaborate hairstyles will take longer. However, your DIY haircuts will take much longer until you’ve had some practice.

So, How Do You Cut Your Own Hair (Men)?

So there you have it — how to cut your own hair (men’s edition). Practice with your clippers, and try to talk a friend into letting you do a fade or a crew cut on them. It can help you see what you’re doing straight on and teach you how to cut your hair better. 

Also, if you want to try new cuts, you can always go back to your barber or stylist to get a new style for the first time. Pay close attention to the technique and cuts to make it easier to reproduce at home, and you’ll be golden.