7 Expert Tips for Giving Yourself a Haircut While in Quarantine

A good pair of scissors and realistic expectations are a good place to start.

With most nonessential business closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and people following strict social distancing guidelines, you likely don't have access to your regular hairdresser or barber. And whether you're seeking to completely change up your look, or just in desperate need of a trim, there's a reason you typically turn to a professional for such a matter—after all, cutting hair is no easy task. But if you really can't wait it out, there's no need to worry—we've got you covered. After connecting—virtually, of course—with top hairdressers, we've compiled these expert tips for cutting your hair at home.

Use a good pair of scissors.

hair scissors next to red hair

Cutting your own hair is enough of a challenge as it is; don't make it harder by using the wrong scissors, says Emily Cooper, a professional hairstylist at Freedom Hair Inc in Charlottetown, Canada. Using kitchen scissors, for example, can actually "fray and damage your ends"—she recommends purchasing a cheaper pair of stylists shears. Finally, once you have the right tools and are ready to chop away, make sure to cut vertically, not horizontally, as this makes for a more natural and less blunt cut.

Take it slow.

Studio shot of a handsome young man cutting his hair against a grey background

Cooper also says that taking a "less is more" approach is key to avoiding potentially disastrous results.

"You can always go back and take more, but you can't put it back on," she says. "If you take 10 inches off and mess that up, it would be worse than if you had only taken off, and messed up, two inches."

Don't get too fancy.

Close-up profile of a woman trimming her bangs. Horizontal shot.

When it comes to cutting your hair at home, Savannah Walsh, a hairdresser at The Industry Salon in Grayson, Georgia, recommends keeping it simple. She says to avoid trying things like adding layers and anything else more complex than a "blunt cut." Her one exception to the rule is bangs, as they're pretty easy to do by yourself—when done carefully, that is.

"You will basically make a triangle part in the front [of your hair]," Walsh says. "Line it up with the end of your eyebrows, cut the length, and then go in with the point of your scissors and clip at the end to take off the heaviness of the bang."

Pay attention to positioning.

Senior good looking man at haircut in a hairdresser's salon.

The way your body is positioned is very much correlated to how well your haircut will come out. That's why stylists are strategically moving around you when cutting different areas of your hair, and not the other way around.

"Sit up or stand up nice and straight," Cooper says. "If you're moving your head to the side to try and see what you're cutting, it will be crooked—resulting in unevenness throughout the cut."

Don't over direct your hair.

Female hairdresser hold in hand between fingers lock of hair, comb and golden scissors closeup. Hairdresser salon, barber shop, perfect look, new hairdo and color, straightening concept

According to Cooper, when giving yourself a standard cut, you don't want to pull sections of your hair away from where they would fall naturally. Over directing your hair results in "long-to-short or short-to-long cuts," she says. "We don't want any mullets coming out of this pandemic."

Have someone help you if possible.

woman helping cut a friend's hair

Both Cooper and Walsh recommend, if at all possible, having a second pair of eyes on hand to help guide you through cutting any areas that you can't see as well. If that's not an option for you, however, Cooper says to use mirrors and hair elastics on the front of your hair to match the sides up evenly while cutting—instead of "wishing you had measured or visualized it better" after the fact.

Don't expect professional results.

Professional woman hairdresser making hairstyle using hair dryer for young female in beauty salon.

The most important thing to keep in mind during this time is that your DIY do probably won't look like the work of a professional because, well, you aren't one—and that's okay! Cooper says to remember that professionals use high-end tools, spent thousands of dollars on a cosmetology school education, and have years of practice. Besides, she says, your hair is always going to grow back, and stylists will be "here for you when the world returns to normal."

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