Man cutting the back and sides of his hair with clippers

Attempting a home haircut might strike fear into the hearts of many, but if you can’t get to a barber’s it might be your only option! Luckily there are ways to avoid disaster if you know what you’re doing. Investing in high quality clippers and some hairdressing scissors (normal scissors just won’t cut it, so to speak!) is half the battle won. Choose somewhere with a mirror and a sink (you might want to put down some newspaper to catch stray bits of hair) and follow our step-by-step guide to a mishap-free home haircut.

The Tools You May Need,,,

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1. Start with clean, dry hair

If your hair is greasy, the strands can clump together and get stuck in the clippers. Make sure your hair is fully dry before cutting it too, as a wet cut might look a lot different to what was intended once it’s dried. Finally, comb through longer hair to remove any knots that could get stuck in the clippers.

2. Set your clippers to the length you want

If it’s a standard haircut, start with the back and sides first. Set the clippers to the right length (usually a lower number) – if it doubt start off longer and you can always re-trim it shorter if required.

Man cutting the back and sides of his hair with clippers

3. Trim the sides, then the back

Using the tip of the blade, run the clippers up the sides of the head, taking care around the ears. Make sure each side is evenly trimmed before attempting to trim the back of the head. Start from the nape of the neck – going even more slowly than you did before. You might want to get someone to do this for you, or hold a hand mirror at the back of your head to see what you’re doing!

4. Fade the lower half

Putting the clippers on a shorter setting, run them up the lower half of the sections you’ve just worked on. Remember to go as slowly as possible. (You might be used to seeing barbers whizzing the clippers around effortlessly, but this is best left to the pros!) Don’t forget to lift your hair around the temples and ears.

N.B. Don’t attempt this on your sideburns, instead use scissors and a razor to get a nice clean shape.

Man cutting his hair with clippers in the mirror

5. Time to work on the top section

Put your clippers on the longer setting (for guidance, ‘Number 4’ is usually half an inch) and run them along the top of your hair, working from front to back. If you have longer, curly hair you might want to use a comb and scissors, taking small sections and lifting the hair between your fingers to the length you want, trimming off the excess. Use a newly trimmed piece of hair as a guide to make sure you’re cutting evenly.

6. Add the final finishing touches

Using a mirror, comb through the hair and make sure the back and sides are even, trimming more if necessary. Tidy up the neckline – from behind your ears to the nape of the neck – using the edge of the clipper blade. Finally, either rinse your hair, or rub it with a towel to get rid of excess stubble.

Admire your handiwork the mirror!