Friday, January 11, 2013

Tips for Cutting Your Hair At Home

For over a year now, Shira's been cutting my hair at home. She uses a pair of the classic Wahl hair clippers to give me a basic, short cut. For me, the main attraction for getting a home hair cut was convenience. Getting back that hour plus of time on a Sunday was such a treat. Now she can spend 15 minutes trimming my hair, I jump in the shower, and I'm good to go.

Here's what I've learned during that time about cutting your hair at home:

  • It's hard! Your barber makes it look easy because he's got tons of practice. But it most definitely is not. It took at least 5 haircuts before I felt comfortable going under the clippers. Sure, I told myself "it's just hair -- who cares how it looks." It turns out, I did. Whether you like it or not, your hair makes a statement about you, and having an awful haircut just isn't a statement you want to make. I'm glad I pushed through the learning stage, but it wasn't easy.
  • Make a plan. You can't wing it. You can't combine a couple of different methods. The only sane approach I've found is to pick one hair cutting procedure you're going to follow, and then methodically do so. In the early days, the moment we cut the first bit of hair, panic would inevitably set in. A plan gets rid of that sensation (mostly).
  • Make it longer than you expect. If you want a 2, start with a 6. Get comfortable with the tools, then go for that super tight haircut. I'm always amazed at the leap between the 1 and 2 guards - it's huge. Work up to that short length.
  • Cleanup can be quick. Here's our standard setup: I take two kitchen garbage bags and pull them apart so they are open lengthwise. I lay these down in the bathroom to make a small square area. I put a kitchen stool in the center. I wear a pair of shorts and a hair cutting cape (I know, that's an image you need in your head) and sit my butt down on the stool. Shira cuts my hair, I shake out the cape, and roll the garbage bags up and put them in the trash. I jump in the shower. It took us a number of attempts to figure out this arrangement (we started in the kitchen, which is classic, right?), and now cleanup is a breeze.
  • Use a trip to the barber's as a classroom. What does Shira know about cutting men's hair? When she started, nothing. She tagged along a few times to watch my hair get cut and that definitely pointed her in the right direction.
  • Be patient. Remember, this is hard. Be patient, you'll get it.

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