Off Topic Sort Of -- Cutting Your Own Hair - The Back Edge
so for a few months now i'm cutting my own hair. i'm simple, i have a cut that is similar to data from star trek, or mark zuckerburg. simple and short. i bought a cordless clipper, taper it down, cut the rest by hand with a pinch and a prayer (those scissors are very sharp).
but then its the back. and i don't have arms behind me and i'm doing it myself. i have mirrors set up, though my left hand does not like functioning on this. i have a tool:
and it sort of works. the hole is a fear point because if i go too high its bad news. but i can't keep it straight. or it doesn't feel straight and it moves.
a hint one person uses was the edge of a hat brim. just reverse the hat and put the rounded side down over your neck and trim. but the had i had was either too narrow or my head too wide and it looked stupid. and i had to hold it in place which was hard.
i found a paper plate edge worked pretty well. but again i have to hold it.
so i'm wonder what all of you are using. i have no plans on going back to a barber until this thing is done. but frankly i save $15 each time i do it. though i'm doing it every 2 weeks as opposed to every 2 months.
its just that back edge and keeping it straight while cutting it myself. is there a good guide that is affordable?
its sort of off and on topic because it is sort of art based.
its just not safe. even with a mask. he breathes right on you the whole time. i'm not even sure he's still alive.
while i haven't really mastered it, my hair looks decent. the back... it might look saw toothed, or crooked, uneven, too high, too low. its driving me nuts. and i just got myself a barber cape, but i can't really tell that it did anything in particular. still working that one out too.
How about punching holes in the sides of the paper plate and running some elastic cord through it so you wouldn't have to hold it on your head? Or maybe just keep the braids you seem to have grown and go with that.
Today I had my first pro haircut in over 4 months. There wasn't anybody else in there except for the stylist. I figure I did a pretty good job and saved a lot of money by not going all this time, but it was looking a little weird recently, with different lengths here and there. I had my husband do the back once...I don't know if I could do it alone.
I first trim from the side burn to the other side burn. So I get a feel for lines. Next I have a better larger handheld mirror for seeing behind me in a wall mirror. I do not move the handheld mirror when I have the angle lined up. That is key. You move your head only as you go. Then same thing on the other side.
When you press the clippers on your skin, think back of the neck, you think about the line. You do not actually need to see it that much or that often.
When barbers cut their own hair, they can do so without looking. I am getting there.
Adding the mirrors are to see what is not done. Then doing a better job the next time. Really a more complete job. So the haircut lasts longer. I think about the techniques that make that possible. Like going with and against the grain of the hair with a guide in the same haircut.
Been cutting my own hair since I left home after High School...
The first time I tried it, I left a few holes. I was so embarrassed I covered the holes with shoe-polish.
Fortunately we learn from our mistakes. The worse the mistake the quicker we learn. I didn't however learn to go to the barber. For many reasons, suffice it to say I was afraid of people and stayed away from barbers and the like.
I had only been to a barber maybe three times in my entire life. My Mom (and even Dad sometimes) started shearing our heads when we were toddlers. At first it was the mechanical kind of shears that you manually squeezed to cut the hair. It felt like pulling the hair until it broke off! I'm sure most younger people than myself don't know what I'm talking about.
Fortunately later, my parents must have thought they could afford electric shears (the kind with attachments for cutting the hair at different lengths). Mom probably saved up her "green stamps" to get them.
Anyway, I got pretty proficient at it over time. For cutting the back I just stand with my back towards the bathroom mirror holding shears in one hand and a hand-mirror in the other. Carefully, I get used to the reverse movement as I place the shears at the proper position before finally pressing down the last half inch for the bottom trim, using that technique along the entire bottom line. I've even gotten decent cutting that little bit with my opposite hand making it easier to get to where my right hand finds it difficult to reach. So, reverse movement from the reflection PLUS left handed can be done with practice.
I've experienced a similar quick learning curve when first out on my own and tried cooking. I remember thinking, I'll make a spaghetti dinner. Thing was, I had no tomato sauce. I figured I'll improvise. I'll use ketchup since it's made from tomatoes. That was a mistake but I forced myself to eat it anyway. That was how I learned quickly!
well rich, it matters to me. i do go out now and then, and being an artist i care about my creations, so i'd like to get it right like everything else i make.
@brian - i do know of the mechanical clippers.. they do need to be sharpened and oiled now and then. i don't have one yet, india uses those when on the street. that reverse movement is what's driving me crazy right now. without a mirror - i don't left from right. but there are 3 points of angle normally. in a mirror its the opposite of an opposite and its still wrong. i think the first time i tried it, it was free hand. and my hand jostled and i felt a tap some place else on my head and poo, left a small line in the back of my head.
i've tried that. in my head, i can do it like a pro. in reality, its everywhere. the thing is about a trimmer is - its on. so if i put it down wrong, its bad. lately i don't even look in the mirror and that works, but the back edge... not as good.
i don't do tattoo's. maybe fake ones via photoshop. but i'm plain jane.
i like simple short haircuts. something i don't have to ever comb, do anything with, check or otherwise. something that i can get a hat on easily, doesn't need styling, its just simple looking. i'm function over form. and bald, shaving it all off, is too much maintenance.
Mike, I think you would look very good to let your hair grown long and tie your hair back or you can make it look like a bun as "Man Bun". Man bun hair do is in style and Japanese men wear it for century.
Using a mirror is difficult to get used to. Use the longest attachment you can and remember what angle you are holding it at, then go to a shorter attachment.
Not sure how short you keep your hair but remember curly hair bounces back tighter but is more forgiving on hiding mistakes, where straight hair shows everything.
To get the hairline at the nape of your neck, you can use a comb or your fingers to hold the hair down then follow the underside with the razor or scissors.
@ Lois - Yup, shoe polish! It's what I had on hand and it worked for matching the light spots to the dark area.
Remember the "set it and forget it guy" on TV. He used an aerosol spray can to cover the bold spot on his head. That was probably taken off the shelves when they finally made new rules against using them because of damage to the Ozone and other toxins...
Aerosol sprays also contain chemicals like formaldehyde and xylene, so you're “freshening” with toxins. ... There are real risks, especially with hair sprays and air fresheners, which can send formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) not only into the air, but also onto surfaces throughout your home.
Guide? Instinct and practice. I've been cutting my own hair now for eons. I don't miss those expensive salon appointments. Getting it straight in the back without double mirrors is possible, and I don't use one. There is nowhere to mount it. So I just cut, double-check, then cut again, then check again, and keep going. I could do it blindfolded by now, lol. (Probably looks like it, hah.)
every time the barber takes that big mirror to show me the back of my head, i'm always tempted to say... mmmm no, can you put it back the way it was?
in my bedroom i rearranged a wall and mounted a mirror i found on the street. i knew it would come in handy one day. and it did. another trash mirror (from the same house different year). i attached a bracket on that and a knob to attach it to the bottom of a shelf. a desk light is my lighting. and i use those two mirrors and a hand mirror for other angles. i still have blind spots though. mostly my arms get in the way of the view and i can't cut those off, there wouldn't be a way to hold the clipper.
the problem is that my arms are often attached to my shoulders, forming an impenetrable wall that i can't see past. its like a blind spot in a car. and that blind spot is a large head just behind you. i can try different angles, but there are only so many angles i can see past my own arm, and see what i'm doing at the same time. maybe if i had one of those tri-fold mirrors. but then there would be a kaleidoscope effect which would probably be worse.
I have been cutting my own hair since I was 27. Saving a ton of money... It is easy once you get the hang of it. I use a face forward mirror and a hand held mirror for the back. Yes, I make mistakes, but if I myself make the mistake, I do not have to blame anyone else for it..
Painter’s tape… pull a very long piece off the roll; looking in the mirror, hold it sticky side facing forward behind your head; stick it down symmetrically, wrapping it around the front of your neck. Forget about the mirrors… feel and cut along the bottom of the tape behind your head. Peel off the tape… voila!
Use cheap painter’s tape… it doesn’t stick worth a darn, so it won’t hurt when you pull it off. I just stuck some to my hair behind my head and then pulled it off… didn’t hurt a bit.
Right, use the small mirror to see the back of your head as it's reflected in the large mirror on the medicine cabinet and then hold the chicken scissors backward. It works by about the third time you do it. In the mean time, if anybody notices, just mention The Accident. They won't want to ask. If you really want to go full kamikaze, use an electric sheep trimmer instead of the chicken scissors.
i have 1 good barber scissor, i think it was made in the 1940s. sharp, cut my finger very nicely. and one of those weird thatching scissors, which i don't have any idea how to use, or how to use on myself.
i have a cordless trimmer, 2 normal plugin cutters and a dog grooming cutter. and they all look the same to me. i find them at garage sales and just hold them for later.
I was going to say, "you don't think their little heads come off by themselves, do you?", but actually they are kitchen scissors that have a real solid cut that will cut small bones in the chicken pieces that come from the supermarket tray. If you don't have 1940's barber scissors, they would be the next best thing.
i suppose i could give tape a shot. it does conform, i do have some. keeping it straight may still be an issue, but at least it won't move.
there are lots of youtube videos. its where i learned to do this. but many have no trouble doing this part. i assume its a muscle memory thing.
the mustache has to stay its the only thing that stays in my avatars. after all its about a young girl with braids and a mustache. i can't change the story. i think i could make an almost convincing girl, but the long hair wouldn't work for me. i just can't stand the extra sensation.
i do have chicken scissors, but i don't know how well they work on hair. i've been tempted to buy real barber scissors but they start at $100 and go up from there. if i had a salon that would make sense.
what i'm hoping is, that after this virus is done, and people are treated, the numbers are gone, the garage sales will come back. and because people had the time to clean out their whatever's, there will be a host of exercise stuff and barber stuff and i can just gather it all up.
"Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer
Here, baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it, my hair"
I cut my own super short with clippers (sorry Susan). If I had more on top, I would let it grow long!
The back depends upon how short you want it, but it's easy and looks better to keep the hair off of your neck.
Use shaving cream, your razor, and your index finger to thumb to protect the hair you want to keep, then use the razor to shave the hair off of your neck.
If all else fails, you could order a FLOBEE.
i looked into the flobee and the other others. but it was like a $100. for what is basically a weedwacker attachment for the vac. its noisy because i need a vac. and i don't think it could really do fades that well. its meant for flaxen hair, like a doll would have. mine is sort of wavy and curly. i couldn't even find where it parted. it doesn't seem to.
Since the template slips around too much I also would suggest trying tape instead. When using the tape or template you can do it by feel, not using the back mirror for cutting. You check the cut with the back mirror then go back to feeling with one hand and trimming with the other. Take the feeling hand slightly away and trim with the tips of the scissors a little at a time, tiny snips at first.
If you are right handed start by cutting the left side, if you are using scissors your fingertips should be pointing down as you hold the scissors and snip along. The blades should be parallel to the floor.
Cutting the left side will feel awkward at first, don’t switch hands, flip your scissor hand. Holding the scissors in your right hand put your palm up so your fingertips are facing the ceiling. Looking in the front mirror snip with the tips of the scissors (blades parallel to the floor) until you can’t see, then feel for the guide and the scissors with your left hand. (Holding your hand palm up will not feel natural for quite a while.) The feeling hand helps put the tip of the scissor where it should be (below the guide), then take your feeling hand back a little so you don’t cut it.
Feel and snip a little at a time is the key. Eventually you probably won’t need the guide. Your fingers will become more of a guide.
The perimeter is the hardest to master, especially the back!
Try not to go above your natural hairline!!! Amateur mistake big time. It might look good for a while but grows out ugly.
If you are using clippers or a razor always hold the blades downward while cutting the perimeter and stay below the guide. When you go up there is much more of a chance to take out a chunk unless you know what you are doing😳
Cutting it every 2 or 3 weeks is a good idea
Actually you can get really good styling scissors on Amazon for very cheap. Look for ones with replaceable blades if you think you're going to be doing this for a while. And never, ever use them on anything but hair.
i'm not sure where my natural hair line is. is there a normal length? like just beneath the dangly parts of my ear? or is there a bone or something i should align with?
i may go back to amazon. these do cut well. but i'd like something less loose. they said that you should hold the scissors by the non tail side. open them all the way and it should close a little more than half way, and that's the proper tension. mine just flop close. the screw is messed up and not worth breaking it to fix it.
right now, especially with the heat wave we've been having that nice breeze on my neck is always good.
and now i hope to have my power as a tropical storm is heading our way.
Look at the back in a mirror, lift up the hair and you should see your hair line. Sometimes it is nice and round, sometimes it is a W. Ws are harder, then it is a decision of whether to cut off the “points” or leave it longer than the natural hairline
those scissors look pretty cool, looks like i may take out an important vein though. the hair back there is skin tight, so a sheers like that would probably work if i really had long hair. knowing me it would still slant.
as far as i know the hair line is straight. but when it grows back its sort of like dracula teeth if i recall.
This might work… wrap it around your neck, then run little sharp scissors along the bottom of it. As an extra added bonus, you can draft a curvy road map with it when you’re done with the hair. I have one of these… they’re thick, and they bend nicely into curves.
@Mike Savad, thanks for this thread. I realize that it's an honest call for helpful suggestions to your hairy dilemma, but I have been thoroughly enjoying all the off the wall, and some serious suggestions so many have offered you. It's a welcome break from the stress of life and not political! Yay!
Hope you figure out your issue and get your hair just the way you like and feel comfortable with it. I must add though, I am glad my hair is long and all the same length. It's way down my back to my waist now, it has grown a lot since this picture of me that you see in my avatar. Short hair sounds too frustrating to me upkeep-wise. Me? I shampoo every third day, let it dry naturally, brush it out then I'm free to wear it down, pin it away from my face with small clips, or braid it to one side or the other. I've even used my paintbrushes to wrap it up and create a bun when I'm really in the zone painting and working.
I told my husband I was ready to order another Flowbee. It's the cutter you hook up to your vacuum cleaner. we had one many years ago and i did all our haircuts. The maker still sells them. really tempted, I am resembling a sheepdog these days, and i cannot get the back of mine properly either.