MEN: Save Money by Cutting Your Own Hair

Photo: iStock

Hair getting shaggy? You’re not alone. With pandemic restrictions making it difficult to see a barber, lots of men around the country have let their mane grow in the past year. While an unruly head can become a distraction (not to mention an eyesore on Zoom calls), you can save money by cutting your own hair.

Not a hair stylist? Lack the grooming skills? No problem!

There are a number of ways to tend to your own hair, even if you’re not a trained stylist or barber. If you invest just a little time to learn and a little money for the proper equipment, you could sheer both your hair and big savings. Here’s what you need to know about cutting your own hair.

Buy an Electric Clipper & Trimming Scissors

Before you put anything sharp against your head, you need to do some research. Going straight in without a plan could result a hair disaster at best and a bloody scalp at worst. That’s especially true when it comes to scissors, which New York-based barber Hung Nguyen highly discourages for novice stylists.

“Unless you’re a trained barber, you should never touch your hair with scissors,” Nguyen says in The Manuel. “You could ruin all the work that your barber put into your hair, and you’ll have to redo your hair from scratch the next time you see your barber.” And if you don’t plan on returning to your barber, that probably means you’ll have to settle for a permanently lopsided hairdo.

So what kind of tool should you be using against your unkempt hair? GQ recommends a basic pair of electric clippers, like the Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit*. These clippers come with 8 different levels of buzz, which means you can clip your hair as long or as close as you want.


Once you have your clippers, it’s time to decide what kind of style you want. The truth is, if you are cutting your hair yourself, your options are limited — but the easiest and perhaps best choice for an at-home chop is a classic buzzcut.

To begin, set your clip guard to one of the higher levels, buzzing your hair at a moderate length. If it looks good, you can keep it there. If you want it shorter, decrease the clip guard to a lower number and go at it again. Either way, it’s critical that you begin with a high clip level, as opposed to going straight in at a 1-millimeter level. Once you cut your hair too short, you’ll have to live with the result until it grows back. By starting with the largest combs, you allow yourself options.

If this is your first time cutting your own head, you probably shouldn’t attempt a fade or any other fancy flourishes. You’re better off sheering your entire head at a single length, to ensure a neat and consistent look.

For a step-by-step guide to shaving your head, check out this video.


Not ready to buzz off all of your hair? If you have medium-length locks, you might prefer to go for an undercut, in the style of Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders (link below). The undercut doesn’t work on everyone, but if you can pull it off, it’s a sharp and debonair look.

Start by delineating the top part of your hair that you will leave untouched. Your best route is to cut just below the widest part of your head. Then, begin with a high clip guard, and run your clippers under the top section of your head, going against the direction of hair growth.

If you like the length, continue all around your skull. If you want to go even shorter, tighten up your clip guard and proceed. The key is to buzz your lower head to a single level. That way your cut will look even and intentional. The back of your head will be a challenge.

The Scissors Option

You might want a pair of scissors for simple trimming tasks, like loose ends on your sideburns or on your facial hair. Just a little trim around the temples can make you look a whole lot neater. (Nguyen advises against cutting anything off the top if you don’t know what you’re doing.

These professional barber scissors are available on Amazon for under $10.

Consult Your Barber

Even if you can’t be in the same room as your barber, you can still reach out for pointers and advice. After all, the pandemic has been a tough time on many small businesses, and your local hair team might be offering online consultations for a small or suggested price. A brief FaceTime or Zoom meeting could help you understand your options—and your hair—even better.

*Savetastic is an Amazon Affiliate. When you use Amazon links in our articles to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

Save Money by Cutting Your Own Hair — Sources

The Manual
Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders

Internal Links: “Guys: Take Care of Your Skin for Cheap”