Top tips on cutting your own hair

Whether it's trimming your own fringe, pouncing on your partner with the clippers, or cutting long locks for a change, cutting your own hair can be quite a daunting task.

We spoke to Claire Pinder, a qualified Hertfordshire hairdresser with over 10 years salon experience, for some top 'at-home' tips for ladies and mens cuts, and importantly trimming your own fringe the correct way!

Have the right tools to hand


Whether you are trimming long or short hair, proper hair scissors will make a difference. As well as making the task of actually cutting the hair easier and more accurate, you will also find it feels easier using proper hair scissors. You can buy a pair from many supermarkets and from around £5-£10 on Superdrug, Amazon or Boots online.

The same applies for men's clippers. For trimming the hairline, a beard trimmer will suffice but, for an all over men's cut, it's better to invest in a set of clippers.

Trimming your fringe


If you need to trim your straight fringe, wash and blow dry your fringe as you usually would. Always cut your fringe when it’s dry as fringes tend to bounce up more when dry, so the untrained hand could end up snipping it shorter than intended.

When it comes to cutting your own hair, less is more. Always err on the side of caution.

Clip the sides of your hair back so you’re not tempted to cut more hair into your existing fringe.

Rather than pulling the fringe down and cutting straight across, I would recommend holding the fringe between your first two fingers, keeping the bounce that you’ve created when blow drying, and point cut.

By pointing the tips of the scissors towards the hair and snipping up the hair (rather than cutting across the hair) you can achieve a much softer finish than just cutting a straight across (blunt cutting).

Point cutting also enables you to cut a small amount at a time and then check as you go, to avoid getting carried away.

Ladies hair cut

I would suggest just sticking to tidying up the hairline. You will want this to be a really soft finish so start wih dry hair.

  • So, with dry hair, comb the hair down following the shape of the neck line.
  • Then place the hair in between the index and middle finger and running your fingers down to about an inch from the ends of the hair, chip in to the hair, again using the point cutting technique.
  • If you do feel you need to take away length and/or weight out of the top then take small sections of the top layer of your hair, and chip into the ends of the hair with the scissors. 
  • Usually this technique will keep the haircut soft and ensure no blunt ends.

Men's hair cut 

You'll need someone to help you. Claire's advice is

Unless you want to go for a full head shave or a 'buzz cut', then tiding up the hairline and around the ears will make a huge difference.

Trimming the hairline and around the ears:

  • Designate someone in your household to trim your hair, then ask them to follow these instructions...
  • Plug in some hair trimmers or clippers (mini neck trimmers are best for this).
  • Ask the gent to sit with their head straight but slightly tilted downward.
  • Start right in the middle and work out to each side, always using the last section you have made as a guideline.
  • You don’t necessarily want to go above the hairline, however If you need to because you’re working with a tricky hairline then go above as little as you can
  • When it comes around the ear the mini neck trimmers are your best tool. Using just the corner of the trimmer, so that you have some more control, slightly pull the ear away from the face and work around the ear taking tiny strokes.
  • Again, for more control, when it gets to the point that the ear is then in the way then you need to push the ear out of the way towards the face, again taking small strokes.

As well as giving you more control, taking tiny strokes also means that if you make a mistake it will only be a small mistake and you can probably tidy it up.

  • If you live alone or you decide to brave it and go for an all-over cut (known as a 'buzz cut'), Claire recommends a full-size pair of clippers for this. If you don't have clippers, you can find them in supermarkets, on Amazon and online shops.
  • If you are new to this look, then you may want to opt for a longer clipper guard (they go from a number 9 (about 1cm of hair length) to a number 0 (shaved).
  • By starting with a longer length, you can always change the clipper guard and go shorter as you get used to it.
  • Once you have secured your clipper guard (Please make sure it is secure to avoid disasters) roll across all areas of the head. Working against the hair growth will give you a smoother, more even finish.

Remember, by starting with the slightest trim and a longer length, you reduce the risk of noticeable errors while you adjust to your new role as hairdresser extraordinaire.

And on the bright side, even if you make a catastrophic mistake you can wear a hat on your daily walk and switch off the camera on video calls, so no-one ever need know.

Good luck!

Read more health and wellbeing tips to follow at home.