How to Trim Your Hair at Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we're being forced into quarantine to keep us all safe—and we're also being forced into handling our beauty needs all on our own. In our How To series, we're chatting with beauty industry experts for their advice on all your grooming woes. Here, Kelly Araujo, a Toronto-based hairstylist, shares her tips for for cutting your hair at-home.

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How to trim your hair

The bizarre desire to cut your hair

There are a few popular and peculiar trends that have come out of quarantine so far. Everyone is baking bread, whipped coffee is a thing, and hair is growing at an unusual rate—or so you may think. By the end of week one of physical distancing, people everywhere began taking scissors to their hair for not just a trim but a big choppy chop, as we've seen via Instagram. But why, though? Could their hair be growing at an extraordinary rate à la the kid from the Peanut Butter Solution? Could everyone just be obsessed with having a new look for spring? Could this be the first stage of the quarantine crazies?

“I really feel like ‘pandemic haircuts’ shouldn't even be a thing yet,” says Kelly Araujo (@hello.kells), hairstylist at Alibi Cutting Room in Toronto. “It’s way too soon for a bunch of people who are going nowhere, literally.” She also cautions that it’s extremely difficult to cut your own hair (and have it look okay), so she strongly advises against it.

But if a trim, a chop, or bangs is what you really, really want, then keep reading. Araujo shares her must-know tips for cutting your mane.

(Also, thinking about dying your roots at home? Read these hair dying tips first.)

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How to trim your hair | How to cut your hair yourself

1. Repair before you snip

Instead of resorting to a cut, concentrate on making your hair healthier. “Your hair will feel better, which may cause you to re-think the urge to chop it all off,” says Araujo.

But before heading to Amazon.ca or Sephora.com to look at their collection of hair masks, consider supporting a small business instead. Many hair salons have created online shops to offer quality hair-care products to their clients. “It's a great way to continue to support your local small businesses that are currently experiencing extreme unprecedented losses in revenue that may ultimately cost them their businesses,” says Araujo.

If you can't find what you're looking for on a small business website, Araujo recommends:

For brittle, over-processed hair, try Opalex No. 5 Maintenance Conditioner, $38, sephora.com

For helping your heat-styled mane last longer (so you don't have to wash it too much), try Color Wow Dream Coat, $35, tradesecrets.ca

For dehydrated hair, try R+Co: Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo, $34, beautysense.ca | R+Co: Atlantis Moisturizing Conditioner, $34, beautysense.ca

For a scalp treatment, try Drunk Elephant T.L.C Happi Scalp Scrub, $48, sephora.com

To give fine hair a boost, try Quai Shampoo for Fine Hair, $37, sephora.com | Quai Conditioner for Finer Hair, $37, sephora.com

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How to trim your hair | How to cut your hair yourself

2. Stop trying to make bangs happen

Finally decided you’re ready for bangs? Better put that thought on hold (again). “I believe there is a type of fringe for everyone,” says Araujo, “but determining what type of fringe is best for you and your hair is best determined by you and your stylist.”

Have bangs that need a trim? Here, Araujo’s rules:

  • Do not use kitchen or craft scissors. You need precision scissors. Some pharmacies carry them, and Amazon does, too. If you can’t find them, manicure scissors may do the trick.
  • Ignore the sides of your bangs and focus on the centre. This will give you more of a moon-shaped fringe that can grow out better than a blunt fringe.
  • Limit yourself to trimming the hairs that are falling into your eyes, and leaving the rest for your hairstylist.
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How to trim your hair | How to cut your hair yourself

3. Giving yourself “just a trim” is no easy feat

Araugo’s advice? You guessed it: Wait for your hairstylist. For the stubborn folk who’ve decided they can’t wait, here are a few rules:

  • Wash hair, blow dry it, and straighten it before cutting.
  • Trim much less than you think.
  • If you have thick and/or curly hair, reconsider waiting for your hairstylist.
  • Consult Brad Mondo's how-to video before picking up your scissors.

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How to trim your hair | How to cut your hair yourself

4. Cutting your partner’s hair? Don't be overly ambitious

Have a partner with short hair who’s asking you to help tame their shag? “Focus on trimming the sides and around the ears,” says Araujo. “Those are the areas that cause people to feel most unkept.” She recommends watching the Nomad Barber's how-to video, which was created to help new barbers cut hair.

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How to trim your hair | How to cut your hair yourself

5. Cut hair delicately

The way you hold the scissors has a big impact on the end result. Araujo recommends point cutting, which means cutting hair upwards. "It's more delicate," she says.

For inexpensive hair cutting shears, try Professional Barber/Salon Razor Edge Hair Cutting Scissors, $15, amazon.ca.

Next, learn expert tips for shaping your brows at home.