Getting a stylish, fashionable haircut from a professional barber can be expensive and time-consuming. With some practice, the right tools, and these simple haircutting techniques, men can cut their own hair at home to achieve today’s most popular styles.
A new haircut can make a dramatic difference in a man’s overall appearance. However, frequent visits to the barbershop can get costly. Cutting your own hair at home saves time and money once you learn proper techniques.
With the right tools, some patience, and step-by-step instructions, men can cut their own hair to create stylish, trendy looks. Learning fundamental skills like sectioning, clipper use, blending, and detailing can help you style all the most fashionable cuts.
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to cut your own hair like a pro. We’ll walk through detailed instructions for cutting, styling, and maintaining today’s most popular men’s hairstyles. With these haircutting tips and techniques, you’ll gain the confidence and skills to become your own barber.
Overview of Haircutting Tools and Products Needed
Before we dive into specific haircutting techniques, let’s go over the essential tools and products you’ll need:
The most important tool for cutting men’s hair at home is a good set of electric clippers. Choose corded clippers with adjustable blades so you can modify cutting lengths. Many kits come with multiple detachable guards, but you may need to buy additional sizes.
Invest in a set of professional barbering shears. You’ll need thinning shear scissors for texturizing, a straight razor for edging and cleanup, and shears for trimming and blending longer layers.
Have on hand a rat tail comb for sectioning, a wide-tooth comb for detangling, and a barber comb for styling. Combs help smooth, guide, and position the hair while cutting.
Other useful items include hair clips, a hand mirror, styling products, a water spray bottle, towels, and a broom and clipper vacuum to manage trimmings. A barber cape also helps keep hair off your clothes when cutting.
How to Section Hair for Cutting
Sectioning or parting the hair cleanly and methodically is crucial for even, accurate cutting. Here are some tips:
- Work on clean, dry hair to best see sections and cut lengths
- Divide head into four quarters and clip up other sections not being cut
- Make straight, clean partings using the tail of a comb
- Horizontal partings help shape silhouette; vertical partings remove bulk
- Partings should create symmetrical, uniform sections for uniform cutting
Take your time with sectioning. Rushing can lead to uneven cuts that require more blending and correcting. Thorough sectioning makes cutting easier and more precise.
Using Clippers and Guards
Learning to handle clippers and guides is essential for maintaining fades, undercuts, crew cuts, and short sides. Follow these clipper cutting tips:
- Always start with the longest guard to establish an overall length
- Hold clippers straight upright and use light, confident strokes
- Use shorter guards as you work upwards to taper/fade sideburns and back/sides
- Remove guard or use zero line to trim very short at hairlines and around ears
- When in doubt, opt for longer guides to avoid going too short
- Leverage clipper over comb technique for blending short to longer lengths
- Take care around irregularities like whorls and cowlicks
Guards usually range from #1 (3mm) to #8 (25mm). It takes practice to blend lengths smoothly. Go slowly and check often until clipper work feels comfortable.
Layer Cutting Techniques
Layering cuts hair at different lengths to create volume and flow. Follow these tips:
- Section clean partings and isolate layers between fingers during cutting
- Hold hair between fingers at desired length and cut with scissors vertically
- Point scissors downwards and cut into the ends/Interior of hair for invisible interior layers
- Texturize and soften edges with thinning shears for natural look
- Trim any unevenness or unintended layers using razor or shear over comb
Layers look best on medium to long hair. Focus them around the crown to create height and body. Avoid choppy, unblended layers with uneven heavyweight lines.
Blending and Tapering
Mastering blending creates smooth transitions between different lengths. Use these blending tips:
- Always blend downwards from longer to shorter sections
- Blend clipper lengths by adjusting guards gradually down the head
- Use shear over comb technique: comb hair flat, hold base, cut into ends
- Blend longer top layers into sides using vertical shear over comb cuts
- Check for uneven spots from all angles and taper/thin as needed
- Blend last using thinning shears to soften any heavy lines
Take time blending to prevent obvious weight lines or demarcation. For modern barbering, the overall effect should look graduated, not blunt and disconnected.
Styling Men’s Hair
Styling completes the look by showcasing your cuts and craftsmanship. Follow these professional styling tips:
- Apply styling products like wax, pomade, mousse when hair is damp for hold
- Use a blow dryer and round brush to direct and set hair in place
- For volume, flip hair forwards, spray roots, rough dry forwards, then brush up and back
- Finish with light hold spray for texture and separation
- Shape shorter sides and back using detailing shears or edging razor
- Manually push, sweep, and place longer hair into position on top
Remember, hair looks drastically different styled than when cutting wet. Style as you go to preview the final look.
Cutting Specific Men’s Hairstyles
Now that we’ve covered essential haircutting techniques, let’s apply them to today’s most popular men’s styles:
The undercut features short trimmed sides and back blended into longer hair on top styled tall.
- Use #1-2 guard on sides/back, tapering shorter up the head
- Leave at least 2 inches on top, using thinning shears to remove bulk
- Create angled recession at temples for slicked styles
- Blend shorter sides into longer top using texturizing shear over comb technique
- Style topside hair upwards using blow dryer and product
The Fade Cut
Fades taper hair extremely short at the hairline around ears/neck before gradually blending up the head.
- Start with #1 guard halfway up head and work downwards
- Use lever on clippers open to cut very close near hairlines
- Carefully trim lining at hairline edges using corner of detachable blade
- Blend up through #2, #3 guards towards crown, overlapping passes
- Check for unevenness and blend down any lines using shears over comb
- Line up facial hair edges to coordinate with fade line
Pomps feature a prominent forelock or crest of hair swept upwards from the forehead.
- Taper clippers down to #2 guard near hairline; cut sides short not shaved
- Leave 5+ inches on top, cutting layers using shear over comb technique
- Part hair off center on heavier side to support height
- Blow dry swept upwards off face and forwards, teasing roots
- Apply pomade for hold; style tall using pick comb for height
- Texturize interior of forelock using thinning shears
The Textured Crop
Crops are shorter overall with texturized edges for a choppy finish.
- Cut to a maximum length of 2-3 inches throughout
- Use thinning shears to softly layer and point cut ends
- Remove bulk around ears and neck nape using #2-4 guards
- Texturize top using razor notching or point cutting for separation
- Allow cowlicks and natural irregularities to add texture
- Add flexible light hold paste; messily sweep up for disheveled look
The Crew Cut
The crew cut tapers hair the same short length all over the head for a clean, classic look.
- Use #3-4 guard all over to cut hair down to a uniform 1⁄2 to 1 inch length
- Cleanly line up hairline edges around temples, sideburns, and nape
- Taper neck and sides slightly shorter using #2 guard up to crown
- Blend any lines using corner of detachable blade
- Part hair neatly and brush into place using pomade or cream
With practice, you can master cutting any men’s style using these fundamental techniques. Find inspiration from celebrities, ask your barber for advice, and take the time to perfect your skills. Soon you’ll be styling sharp looks at home with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cutting Men’s Hair at Home
What are the best clippers for cutting men’s hair at home?
Quality corded clippers from brands like Wahl, Oster, or Andis will provide the power and blades needed for smooth home haircutting. Look for adjustable magnetic guards, a range of attachments, and a strong motor.
Subscribe to our list
Don't worry, we don't spam
How short should you go when first cutting your own hair?
When first learning, start longer and work your way shorter. Leave at least 2 inches on top and start with longer #4-6 guards on sides to avoid major mistakes. You can always taper and fade shorter next time.
What maintenance is needed between haircuts?
Use detailing shears or edging razors to clean up sideburns, necklines, and edges around ears between cuts. Scissor trim any unevenness on top and re-style. Plan full haircuts every 4-6 weeks.
Should you cut hair wet or dry?
Cutting hair dry allows you to see the true lengths and texture best. Wet hair appears longer and can trick you into cutting too short. Work in sections on dry, shampooed, towel-dried hair.
How can you add texture and layers?
Point cutting into ends instead of blunt cutting adds movement and layers. Notching using razors also creates separation and piecey texture. Use thinning shears to softly remove bulk.
What if you make a mistake?
Don’t panic! Smooth any major uneven spots using shears or guards. Go gradually shorter next time to correct. Styling products can mask small errors. Professionals fix mistakes all the time.
Cutting your own hair takes courage the first time, but the payoff in time and money saved is tremendous. Follow these tips to learn skillsets and gain confidence styling fashionable looks yourself. Soon, you’ll be your own favorite barber.