Beauty + Hairstyles

Beauty at Home, Ep. Two: Hair Trimming

I am religious about getting my hair trimmed every six weeks, so an ongoing quarantine is really cramping my ability to keep to that schedule.  But the world has bigger problems than my split ends and shaggy bangs.

For many women, cutting their own hair feels akin to performing their own tooth extraction.   We’ve all had a bad haircut from a trained professional, so the idea that we can do this ourselves seems laughable.  But just because you aren’t qualified to give yourself a full haircut, doesn’t mean you can’t clean things up a bit.   But before we talk about how, let’s talk about tools.

Do not, under any circumstances, use kitchen or scissors to trim your hair.  They’re not sharp enough.  They’re not nimble enough.  And you’re going to cut off too much hair.

Professional stylists recommend that you use hair shears for at home trimming.  I find traditional shears intimidating, because I’ve found that I over trim when I use a full-size scissor.  So instead, I use a smaller, but equally sharp, mustache scissor.  It gives me better control and discourages over trimming.

In addition to the shears, you need sectioning clips.  Lots of clips.  Because working in small sections will make this job so much easier.

Good Housekeeping has pulled together many tutorials on how to cut your own hair.  But these tutorials are mostly for women who really want to cut their hair, and I’m just here for a trim — shorten the bangs, clean up the split ends.  Because I’m not going to ruin my summer growing out a bad haircut.  So let’s start with the bangs.

The bang-trimming tutorial that I come back to over and over is from The Beauty Department.

It explains how to trim in layers, and to go slowly, cutting less than you think you want to cut.   It also discusses how to use thinning shears, if you want a softer look.  But the most important lesson is that you must, must cut your bangs when they’re dry, not wet.  Because wet hair dries shorter, and the last thing you want is to wind  up with baby bangs.

As for how to trim your split ends, the technique I use is called twisting.  It’s the perfect way to trim out a little dead weight without overdoing it.

Both this WikiHow article and Youtube Tutorial explain the technique in depth.  First, you lightly dust off a few millimeters from your ends, and then you twist a small section of the hair into a tight spiral.  Then, you trim the small number of hairs the stick out of the spiral, many of which will have split ends.

This technique takes about half an hour on my collarbone length hair.  But it leaves me feeling less shaggy, and my ends looking less frayed.

After I trim, I usually deep condition my hair with either Olaplex Hair Perfector or VO5 Hot Oil Treatment.  Both smooth and condition hair to give it a healthier, fresher appearance.

So that’s my guide for trimming your bangs and cleaning up your split ends.  I have very straight hair, so I have no earthly idea if these techniques will work for curly hair.  If you have knowledge in this area or a tutorial you want to share, please leave it in the comments.  I don’t want to guess about which video is best and find out I’m wrong.  Hair is too important.

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  1. HannAh says:

    I have curly hair, and get it professionally cut once a year. In between, I follow the Curly Girl method of trimming off about a half inch from the end of each curl (page 99–looks like amazon has a lot of pages available for preview ). Probably takes me 45 minutes to go thru my hair piece by piece, but it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes!

    April 2, 2020/Reply
  2. JJ says:

    This is EXACTLY what I needed today – thank you!!

    April 2, 2020/Reply
  3. chelsea says:

    Your timing is impeccable. I purchased eyebrow scissors today (at your recommendation from a really old post that I desperately searched out last week) for this exact purpose.

    April 2, 2020/Reply
  4. Laura says:

    Does anyone have advice/resources for trimming short hair at home? I got a pixie cut about 12 hours before the salons all shut down and I’m terrified to see what happens after a few more weeks without professional attention.

    April 2, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Check that Good Housekeeping article, there was a video on trimming pixie cuts.

      April 2, 2020/Reply
  5. Michelle says:

    During my normal cut every 6 weeks I get my hair pretty heavily thinned out and layers recut…is this something I should even attempt at home?

    Every few years I decide to let my hair grow out to donate, I’m considering just doing that with the quarantine period.

    April 3, 2020/Reply