The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

drawing of scissors and fallen remains of hair, title "Cutting your own hair"

How to cut your own hair


In looking for things to blog about, I have been wracking what passes for my brain for examples of things that I know more about than other people. At some point during this process I must have looked in the mirror and, after rejecting “How to look like Ginny Weasley would if she lived in a cave”, I hit upon this: 

How To Cut Your Own Hair (The Opposite of Popular way):

Step 1: Don’t. 

“But wait!” I hear you cry, though your voice is muffled by all that excess head-fur you’re too poor or cheap to pay someone to shear off for you. “Firstly, this is a very underwhelming blog post. Secondly, don’t you cut your own hair?”

Yes. Yes I do. I also cook food without preheating the oven and once got my hand caught in a Filofax. I don’t think you should do those things either. 

Cutting your own hair is a gamble. The reward is saving whatever you usually spend on a haircut plus, if you’re a friendly neighbourhood misanthrope like me, avoiding the stress of an awkward social encounter. To get it, you have to risk… well, looking like someone who cuts their own hair.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose. If anything can convince you that cutting your hair is a bad idea, whether it’s my advice or the thought of ostracisation by your mane-conscious acquaintances after you give yourself an accidental mullet, don’t do it. It’s probably not worth it.

(Yes, I accidentally gave myself a mullet. No, I won’t be showing you pictures. They have sadly been lost or destroyed in a deliberate cover-up.)

Step 2: Prepare a back-up plan.

Believe it or not, it’s prohibitively difficult to glue hair back together. (I understand that this is the basic premise of some types of hair extensions but we’ve established that I am a person who risks self-mulletation to avoid going to a salon, so I’m happy for you to assume that this is not an area of expertise for me.)

For that reason, if you make a mistake and end up with a wonky haircut, your only option is going to be to cut more hair off. Decide how short you’d be happy for your hair to be and aim to cut it a bit longer. Also, if you’re attempting anything more complex than a trim on your first go, I’d recommend having the time and funds in hand to get a professional to, erm, adjust your efforts if necessary.

Cautionary illustration: Prior to the mullet incident, my hair was at least shoulder-length. To fix it, I had to let a real hairdresser approximate Julia Roberts in Hook:

Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell in 'Hook', with an (appropriate) pixie cut.

Source: Fanpop

I actually enjoyed how low-maintenance it was like that and kept the style for a while, but I definitely missed the feel of long hair.

Step 3: Research

It took me a year or two, post-mullet, to try cutting my hair again. Partly because of the eldritch horror that had occurred and partly because there was nothing there to cut. When I did decide to try again, I opted to try and work out what the hell I was doing before reaching for the scissors.

Which tutorial you use depends, unsurprisingly, on what style you want. I cut my hair like this. Youtube is a pretty good source of tutorials because it has the added benefits of showing you what your advisor actually looks like after following their own instructions, but choose whatever medium you’re comfortable with.

Also, in my experience, it does make a difference to use special hair-cutting scissors – I got split ends much faster when I used regular household scissors. I don’t know if that’s because of how they’re made or just a benefit of keeping them sharp by strictly only using them to cut hair, but they’re cheap to buy on Amazon – especially compared to the price of a professional haircut – so probably worth it if you decide to keep cutting your own hair.

Step 4: Proceed with caution

Or don’t. To be honest, sometimes I throw myself into a hair-cutting session with reckless abandon. But that’s probably because I’ve experienced life with an accidental mullet and lived to tell the tale. Those of you less hardened by bitter experience should probably adopt a gentle, measured approach. Again, you can cut more hair off but you can’t stick it back on if you go too far. It’s better to find yourself looking in the mirror in a couple of days and thinking “Maybe I’ll try cutting off a little more” than to have to go emergency hat shopping.

This is especially true of fringes (bangs). While it’s apparently best to cut hair while it’s wet to avoid damaging it, hair looks longer when it’s wet, so a fringe that looked right while damp will slowly rise as it dries, like the curtain going up on a theatrical performance of Your Forehead. This has also happened to me and it resulted in several self-conscious weeks of constructing elaborate hairstyles that could adequately absorb my stumpy little failure of a fringe. I guess I’m not that fearless after all.

Step 5: Enjoy.

At the end of the process, you will have acquired either an enviable new ‘do or valuable life experience. Either way, congratulations.


7 thoughts on “How to cut your own hair

  1. Pingback: Online Dating for the Socially Perplexed | The Opposite of Popular

  2. Self-mulletation is simultaneously my new favorite word and cautionary tale.


  3. Pingback: 2016 Week Six: Videogames > Life | Victoria Leybourne

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