A NICE HAIRCUT
GIVE YOURSELF A HAIRCUT
It’s easier than you think. Now is the time to try, so turn up the lights and grab a sharp pair of scissors.
By Lance Morrow May 19, 2020 - The Wall Street Journal
The coronavirus lockdowns have left many people in need of a haircut. I started cutting my own hair years ago. For a long time, I went to an Italian barber named Frank, who charged $12. But after each of Frank’s haircuts, I looked in the mirror and beheld a geek I didn’t quite recognize—a little raw around the sidewalls. He had subtly reshaped my personality. It took about a week for regrowth to repair the damage. I stuck with Frank out of habit, but when he retired, I learned to do it myself. I’ve been a new man ever since.
The truth is, it’s easy.
The first thing to do is to get rid of the electric clippers, except for trimming sideburns. Get a good, sharp pair of scissors. For a while I cut my hair with the tiny scissors of a Swiss Army knife, which did a good job but was somewhat laborious. Have good lighting, not only overhead but preferably on either side. Close the stopper in the bathroom sink. Lay a couple of tissues over the stopped drain so that you can put the hair clippings on them and then gather and throw them in the trash when you are finished. Don’t let clippings go down the drain. It will clog. Here is the secret: Don’t chop. Snip. In small snippets. Use the left hand (or for lefties, the right) to hold your hair straight out from your skull, passing the hair through forefinger and index finger to get the measure of the proposed snip and then holding the hair taut between thumb and forefinger when you clip. Work rapidly but minutely.
The crucial thing is to clip only a small length of hair at each snip, and to balance your cuttings—alternate your snips, trimming first from the left side of the head and then from the same place on the right side, working back and forth, so that the cut remains even and your head doesn’t become lopsided. The hair on top of the head is the easiest: Hold the hair straight up and take a bit at a time. The hardest part is the back of the head. You must do that by feel. You will be surprised at how quickly you become adept at it. It is perhaps easier to cut hair by feel than by direct sight. Your fingers may give you a more accurate “picture” of the sides and back than your eyes can, because your eyes are in the front of your head and become frustrated at the unaccustomed task of trying to figure out what’s going on behind themselves.
If you wear hearing aids, remember to remove them, lest you make an expensive snip. Never cut your hair when you are angry, or if you have drunk more than two glasses of wine. Isolation is the perfect situation in which to learn this skill. If you make a mistake, regrowth will correct the error. At worst, you’ll look like the prime minister of Britain for a couple of days.