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How to Cut Your Own Hair at Home When You Can’t Go to a Salon — Expert Tips

On top of treating your hair to masks and serums, heat-styling and coloring your hair less often can significantly lengthen the time between haircuts, says Arrunategui. He adds that if a cut isn’t an absolute necessity for you, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to simply embrace the grown-out look. “Most of the haircuts I create with the grow-out in mind,” he explains.

If you’re going to cut, have the right tools on hand.

It might be your instinct to reach for the nearest pair of kitchen scissors just lying around your home’s junk drawer, but cutting your own hair at home with those could end in disaster, according to Marjan. “Don’t use kitchen scissors,” she says. “They aren’t sharp enough and can push the hair as they cut, resulting in crooked lines that are hard to fix.

Hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons agrees: “Low-quality scissors can leave your ends looking sloppy and frayed — no one wants that.” He advises buying a pair of hair-cutting shears rather than using any of the regular scissors you already own. “The reason that stylists use shears versus the ones sitting in your junk drawer at home is because the sharp, precise blades allow you to be much more exact and make it easier to get clean lines and edges,” he explains.

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You can currently find a selection of shears online from Ulta, Target, Amazon, and more — but if you’re uncomfortable having packages delivered to your home right now, Arrunategui urges you to find the sharpest scissors possible in your house. The sharper the scissor, the more control you’ll have over your hair.

Start with clean, dry, and styled hair.

Unless you have natural curls or coils, chances are your stylist normally wets your hair before cutting it. While it might seem like a good idea to copy your usual salon experience by cutting your own hair while it’s wet, Fitzsimons explains why that’s not exactly the case. “Wet hair allows [stylists] to be much more precise with creating clean lines, but they were also trained how to do that,” he says.

If you find it easier to cut wet hair, Fitzsimons suggests doing so as long as you “make sure you’re comfortable versus just trying to remember what your stylist does.”

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Still, the best way to ensure that your at-home haircut comes out the way you want it to is to start with dry hair that, for the most part, looks like it would on any other day. “Make sure hair is clean and blow-dried straight or how you wear it usually so you have a clear and realistic vision of the cut,” Marjan advises. This, she says, will help to “avoid any surprises, like how much the hair will shrink up when it’s dry.”

Whether you cut your hair while it’s dry or wet, shampooing and conditioning it before doing so is an absolute necessity, according to Marjan. “If hair is oily or dirty, it will cling together and create an uneven finish,” she explains.

Start with small, minor cuts.

Obviously, now is not the time to experiment with a drastic new style. The more drastic a cut you try to achieve at home, the more you run the risk of a major mishap. Marjan and Fitzsimons both advise working in small sections and cutting hair little by little for that very reason. “Don’t cut to the length you want the end result to be at first — start smaller and work your way up,” Fitzsimons says. “Remember, you can always trim more, [but] it is unfortunately not possible to put [hair] back once you’ve chopped.”

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