Woman with a hair dryer to heat the hair

At-home haircut? Yes, and we all seem to know someone who’s done it, with either barely satisfactory or horrifying results—even if that person might have been you. It’s a daunting undertaking, as it’s hard to see around your head enough to make sure you’re getting an even cut. Let alone getting the scissors perfectly straight on all parts of the hair. But with a few techniques, it is possible to get an acceptable at-home haircut.

At-home haircut benefits

It may not be obvious, but there are legitimate benefits to getting an at-home haircut, chief among them being the savings. Yes, getting a haircut from a salon is ideal, but budgets often dictate our lives and not everyone can afford to go to a stylist. Cutting your hair is a much more budget-friendly option.

Another benefit is that you get to control how your hair is handled and what goes in it. Some stylists are overly heavy handed with hair conditioner, mousse, and other haircare products. Overuse of those products can cause severe problems for women. With an at-home haircut, there’s no need to worry about your hair being sabotaged by an overly enthusiastic saleswoman who also cuts hair.

Have the right equipment for a DIY haircut

The most important step is making sure you have an appropriate pair of hair shears for yoru DIY haircut. It might be tempting to cut corners and go with any pair of scissors you have around, but ordinary scissors will not work for cutting hair. They’ll make a blunter cut that will just end up causing split ends.

There are plenty of designer hair sheers on the market running in the hundreds of dollars. But you’ll need a simple, basic pair of sheers that can run you around $10, like Equinox shears or these from Utopia Care.

Trimming the ends

One of the main reasons for an at-home haircut is because you don’t want anything fancy, so you figure you might as well save the money. You probably just need the ends trimmed to take care of split ends. Unless you’ve been to beauty school, you’ll probably want to keep it simple at home.

But don’t just stand in front of the mirror, grab your hair and start hacking away. As you pull your hair around your head to see it from the front, you’ll only end up cutting strands that are shorter in the back and longer in the front.

The easiest way to do this at home is to hold the hair up straight above your head. You’ll want to start with damp, brushed hair so that your hair is a straight as possible. You can either hold your hair straight up or, to make it easier, tie it into a tight, centered ponytail first. Hold your hair with your non-dominant hand a few inches below the ends. Cut off the ends is a straight line, cutting a little hair at a time.

Trimming bangs

Bangs are a bit easier, but require a good eye and steady hands. Yet, all the hair you’re cutting is at the front of your head, so you have that going for you.

Your hair should also be damp for this part. Comb your bangs forward. Grab small sections of your bangs, keeping your hair between your first two fingers. Pull your hair as straight as it will go.

Then cut small portions of your bangs at a time, going in a straight line. Use a certain point around your eyebrows as a reference for keeping your bangs straight. Comb again after to make sure everything is in line.

At-home styling

Let’s say you want to do something more serious. You have some real lengths to take off, and maybe you’d like some layering. If you’re braver and have very steady hands, you can form a low-hanging, tight ponytail (at the nape) and cut to the length you want your hair to be.

You don’t have to hold up your hair, just angle a mirror behind yourself and in front so you can see the ponytail. And just cut it straight. When you let the ponytail down, you may have some longer hair from the nape of the neck you’ll need to trim.

To get layers the easy way, simply cut some strands shorter than the rest in the front under the ear. It’s a good way to get a choppy, casual look. And you can eyeball it as you go to get the look you want.