By Michael Rovner
Forget the Flowbee. You don’t need any info-gizmos to get a good haircut at home. Start saving money and stop wasting time being butchered by barbers and overpriced salon stylists. Want a good basic haircut? Do it yourself! Here are the basics:
Step No. 1: Start with a sound foundation.
Listen, you’re not Warren Beatty. It’s best to work off a professional cut, and then just trim about the same amount of hair from all areas of your head every month or two to maintain that style.
Step No. 2: Get the right tools.
You’ll need the right artillery for this job. We’re talking about a comb; a good, sharp pair of scissors from a beauty supply store (definitely not Staples); an electric clipper with multiple attachments; and a hand mirror with a surface about the size of a pizza. (You want to make sure you see everything you’re doing.) Don’t use these scissors for anything other than hair, or they’ll be dulled and you’ll be maimed. Just sayin’.
Step No. 3: Divide and conquer.
First, drench your ’do. Start off with the front by parting your hair in the center. Using your comb, take an equal amount of hair from each side of the part line and comb it forward. Smooth the hair between your index and middle fingers and cut across, being careful to maintain a straight line that’s parallel to your forehead. Double-check to see that the cut feels even. When you’re done, part it in the middle and comb it straight down on either side. Run sections of your hair between your index and middle fingers to see if there are any extraneous long pieces. Snip off any excess.
Step No. 4: Tighten the sides.
Once you’re ready to move to the sides and back, you can take comfort in the fact that a clipper will give you a uniform length. Start with the longest setting, which corresponds to the highest number on the clipper’s plastic guards. Go over the same spot several times to be sure you don’t miss any stray hairs. It’s also smart to cut against the grain (from back to the front) to ensure an even cut.
Step No. 5: Blend by the numbers.
You may want the hair on the side of your head to be shorter than the top, which will require some blending. Clip the sides to the length you like, and then blend them into the longer hair on the top of your head. If you chose a No. 3 guard for the temples, you’ll blend that with a No. 4 into the crown. This prevents you from taking off more than you want, and it also rids you of a too-obvious line between the top and the sides.
TIPS TO REMEMBER:
Adjust your tactics for your type of hair.
If you have curly hair, be sure to take off less than you ultimately intend to. You can always keep cutting, but you can never put it back on. (Duh.) Curls shrink as they dry, so you have to allow for this. If your hair is thick or coarse, hold very small sections of hair for trimming. Cutting too much thick hair at once will make the hair bend between the blades of the scissors instead of cutting evenly.
Check your progress as you go.
For any cut -- even after you think you’re done -- you need constant recon with your comb and mirror to check that the cut looks and feels even. Simply take sections of hair from opposite sides of your head and gently tug them with your comb toward your eyes, nose, chin and jawline to see that the sides are evenly matched, and trim accordingly.
Keep it simple, stupid!
If you are new to this and you want a style that is typically achieved by a dude with a string of salons and a reality TV show, don’t go it alone. You’ve given yourself a good, clean, basic cut. If you want to go all Sanjaya on us, you’re better off booking a salon appointment and inviting your girlfriends over afterwards to watch “Project Runway.”
More on men's grooming from our sponsor.
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