With no real date as to when hairdressers are able to reopen, days spent without professional haircare are stacking up. So if you haven’t already taken a pair of scissors or clippers to your hair, you may be more tempted to do so now. But - wait. Read our guide first. We've enlisted the help of celebrity hairdresser George Northwood, who tends to the tresses of the Duchess of Sussex, Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, for some expert advice on how to cut your own hair at home.
The best way to ensure you cut your hair properly is by having the right tools. For women’s hair, you will need:
- A good comb, ideally a long comb with a matte finish, which means the hair is less likely to slip. The Carbon Cutting Comb by KeraStraight, £7.50, is a good option.
- Two basic section clips, like these from Superdrug for £2.99.
- A pair of hairdressing scissors - these are essential. George says buy the cheapest you can find, as a cheap pair of hairdressing scissors are better than expensive paper or kitchen scissors. We’ve found these for £6.99 on Amazon.
- If you want to take weight and density out of your hair, you’ll need a pair of texturising thinning scissors. They have comb-like blades which can take down any ‘bulk’ in the hair.
Northwood’s tips below are for three key concerns he feels are the most pressing while in lockdown, and what his client base have been asking for advice on. With all of these tips, Northwood suggests cutting your hair completely dry. Wash it thoroughly and condition, so it feels silky, and then dry it completely before you attempt cutting.
The first step to tackling split ends by yourself is to separate your hair into its natural parting, take the parting down to the nape of your neck and sweep each side in front of your shoulders (as if you were about to do pigtails).
Starting with one side, comb the hair to the very end, then sandwich the end couple of inches between your ring finger and index finger. Using your scissors, point cut into the very ends - not in a straight line, just chip into the very ends.
Do not try to cut a new line. Repeat on the other side. The only downside is that when you push it back your hair might be slightly rounder, but that’s not a big problem. This will work for all lengths of hair, but just don’t try this if you have a very square bob.
Thickness and weight
If you have naturally thick hair and want to reduce some of the weight, now is the time to use your thinning scissors. It’s a very visual process. First, find any areas that feel too thick - it tends to be towards the end of the hair.
Pick up the bit of hair and with thinning scissors cut down towards the bottom of the hair. It’s like you’re sculpting a hedge: cut a little, and then set back and look at it before continuing. Keep checking in as you are going, as mistakes tend to happen when you get too over-confident.
You don’t want to make any big cuts that will then take your hairdresser a long time to rectify after lockdown. Beware of using texturising thinning scissors if your hair is naturally coarse or frizzy, as they make the hair appear more frizzy (the nature of thinning scissors is to add a ‘choppy’ textured finish).
Fringe and face-framing
How to trim a fringe at home is one of the most common requests I’m asked during lockdown. To begin, tie all your hair back or clip it away so you only have the fringe down. If it’s a thick fringe, just divide in two, clip away the top and do the underneath first.
Pull the hair forward and sandwich it between index and ring finger, and cut into it with cutting scissors little and often. Angle it so it’s slightly longer on either side. It’s very flattering if you follow the shape of the eyebrows so it’s slightly rounding, but take just a tiny bit at a time. Even just a millimetre is a lot off the fringe.
If you have a grown-out fringe or if you want to frame the face, the best way is to brush the front section of your hair forward, and then with your cutting scissors work in tiny motions following the line where your hairdresser has already cut. It will most likely be rounded by the chin. Chop into the hair, rather than in a straight line. Framing the face looks great on video or for any conference calls, which is all you need right now - leave any big cuts for your hairdresser to do once lockdown is lifted.
Read more: How to cut men's hair with clippers