A Hairdresser’s Guide to Cutting Your Own Hair

“Okay. Getting asked this question literally makes my palms sweat.”

Amy Batlowski is the owner of Studio A in Newport Beach and she reluctantly agreed to give me some tips on how we can cut our own hair, but not without a disclaimer. “It takes longer to grow out a bad haircut,” she said, logically, “than to save the money for a good one.” Of course she’s right, but sometimes we’re feeling short on time and energy and money and sometimes it’s 3 a.m. and we simply can’t be stopped.

So, after she debunked my life-long suspicion that maybe I was a 30-minute lesson away from doing my own hair forever, she agreed to give me some general guidelines for three scenarios in which she found self-administered haircuts the least vomit-inducing: a long-hair trim, cutting long layers, or trimming existing bangs.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, Amy has five general rules for at-home cutting:

1. Keep it simple.

2. Cut your hair dry.

3. Point cut with the tips of straight manicure scissors or real hair-cutting shears. (Not kitchen shears).

4. Never cut off more than an inch.

5. Do. Not. Get. Cocky. STAY NERVOUS.

Here’s how to…

Do a simple one-length trim


1. “Starting with dry hair, part hair down the center all the way to the nape of your neck. If you don’t know what a nape is, put down the scissors and never pick them up again.

2. Once hair is parted, bring each side over shoulders and let hair fall naturally in front of your shoulders.

3. Starting on one side, hold hair flat against your body in between your index and middle finger just above desired length you’d like to trim off.

4. Using the tips of the shears, point cut in an upwards motion to give you a soft uneven edge. This helps to disguise a not-so-perfect cut and give you a little texture on your ends.

5. Repeat on second side making sure to check evenness and balance from side to side.

6. Your result will be a slightly rounded one length cut.”

Do layers


1. “If you’re feeling a little more confident, you can gather your hair into a smooth ponytail secured at the crown of your head with an elastic hair tie.

2. To find this spot, grab your princess crown and put it on. Your ponytail should be in the center of that.

3. Holding the ponytail straight out from the crown between your fingers (like your one length trim), point cut into your ends taking no more than an inch off.

4. Remove hair tie and viola! Layers!”

Trim existing bangs


1. “Section off a triangular section across your forehead. The outer edges should fall just on the outside of your eyes.

2. Gather hair between your index and middle finger at the bridge of your nose and point cut below your fingers.

3. If you must go shorter, repeat the process moving your fingers up just a little bit at a time.

4. Remember, you can always take more off but once it’s on the floor, you are waiting until it grows back. Hair grows, on average, a half an inch per month. Some people more and some people less.

5. What if yours grows less?! Be careful!!!”

At least she’s consistent! Thanks, Amy!

Have you guys ever cut your own hair? Would you?

Follow Amy on Instagram @studio_a_hair. Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; collaged by Lily Ross; illustrations by Emily Zirimis; featuring Arme De L’Amour, Celeste, Nadine Ghosn and SheBee ring.


Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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