Final Frontier Of Frugality: My Husband Gave Me A Haircut
Mr. Frugalwoods gave me a haircut last week and, as I shared on Twitter: 1) we’re still married and 2) it looks really good! I’ll admit, we were both a bit nervous and there were a few tense words, but it worked out just dandy. In other news, I’ll be nominating him for husband of the year (is that a real award? it should be) shortly.
There are a number of guides out there on how to cut your hair yourself and huge props to anyone who accomplishes that feat (Simple Cheap Mom has this excellent guide for DIY haircuts). I considered cutting mine solo, but since Mr. FW was game to help me (partly because I’ve been cutting his hair for years), we decided to try it out.
Hence, these steps are written with two parties in mind, but, I think you could just as easily pull the hair forward and cut it yourself. The catch it that it wouldn’t be as accurate since having a friend do it means they’ll be pulling your hair straight back from your head, which yields the straightest cut.
Before we proceed, let me clarify: This is not the recipe for a perfect haircut. If you require a perfect haircut, you’ll need to go to a salon and shell out $100+. But if, like me, you’d rather save that $100 for, oh I don’t know, retiring early and pursuing your passions, then I encourage you to give this a whirl. Hair will grow back; your money won’t.
That being said, I have a professional job at which I need to look presentable and, let me tell you, this haircut is absolutely good enough. Would a stylist do a better job? Heck yes, but, since we prefer to insource everything we possibly can (and hence save 71% of our incomes every year), this haircut is positively ideal for our frugal weirdo philosophy.
Another factor in my decision to cut my hair at home is my journey to simplify my life and put less of an emphasis on my appearance. I realized with my clothes shopping ban that I was spending way too much time focused on what I wear and how I look. In addition to this being a colossal waste of time, I wasn’t comfortable with the vanity it implied.
De-emphasizing my appearance has been beneficial for me in many ways, including that: I get ready faster, I spend less money on clothes and products, and I feel generally healthier thanks to my lack of regular make-up, nail polish, perfume, etc. All in all, its been quite liberating. It’s still a work in progress, but, I like to think that my home haircut is another step in the right direction.
- Ensure that the haircutter and haircuttee are both sober.
- Do not allow a greyhound to cut you hair, no matter how cute they look.
- Do not expect perfection and do not stress out.
- If things go really awry, please take the advice of Frugalwoods reader Tarynkay who, after very kindly giving me detailed advice on how to cut my own hair, listed the final step in the hair-cutting process as “If you hate it [the home haircut], drink a glass of wine and read something inspiring about feminism. Remember that it is winter so you can wear a lot of hats for awhile.” Sage wisdom, my friends.
- The haircut we achieved could best be described as soft, long layers with angles towards the chin. All credit for the angles goes to Mr. FW who figured out how to do these mid-haircut (full disclosure: one side came out a bit better than the other side).
- I didn’t want the blunt, straight-across look of a standard cut, so this yields a feathery, softer look. My hair is very thick, so a softer cut falls better.
- Scissors (we used the pair that came with Mr. FW’s Wahl clippers kit)
- Handheld mirror
How To Cut Long Hair At Home
Step 1: Wash hair.
The professionals cut hair wet, so we decided we would too. Since my hair is ultra-thick and long, it’s a lot easier to manage when wet. It’s vastly simpler to line hair up and find all the split ends when it’s wet. The caution here is that hair shrinks up when it dries, so be wary of taking off too much length when it’s wet.
Step 2: Part hair as you normally do.
This ensures that you’re cutting your hair as it normally falls. If you brush it all back to cut it, you’ll lose the natural lay of your hair. So, best to part it up. This is especially important if you’re going to angle it towards your face as we did.
Step 3: Divide hair into 4 sections and secure with clips.
- Sections 1 and 2: I first sectioned off the hair in front of my ears–aka the hair that I wanted angled up towards my chin (these sort of look like Princess Leia buns)
- Section 3: Next I took the middle hunk of hair, parting it horizontally below the ears.
- Section 4: The final section is the very bottom of your head–the hair should just hang straight down.
Step 4: Select a small piece of section 4.
Take the leftmost (or rightmost) small section of hair from section 4 and have your home hairdresser comb it straight back from your head. To clarify, we’re starting with the hair at the back, lowest part of the head.
Step 5: Determine how much length to take off.
Since I didn’t want to lose a lot of length and was mostly hoping to eliminate split ends, Mr. FW made the cut in line with the shortest piece of hair. To do this, run your first two fingers through the hair until you reach the shortest strands. You could cut any length desired with this method.
Step 6: Cut hair upwards in a half-moon shape.
Since I didn’t want a blunt, straight-across cut, I had Mr. FW cut upwards in a semi-circle. This ensured a clean cut, but doesn’t give that overly blunt look to it.
Step 7: Cut in small triangles.
On the piece you just cut upwards, now take the scissors and cut in tiny triangles. This further adds to the soft, feathery look of the cut.
Step 8: Repeat for the rest of section 4.
Take another small piece of section 4 and repeat the process until you’ve cut all of the hair in section 4.
Tip: Put the hair that has already been cut in front on your shoulders so that you don’t forget!
Step 9: Clip up section 4.
We’re now all done with section 4, so clip it back up to keep it out of the way.
Step 10: Unclip section 3 and divide into two pieces.
I had a lot of hair in section 3, so I held half of it while Mr. FW cut the other half.
Step 11: Follow the same steps for cutting the hair.
Use the same technique of combing small segments of hair straight back and then cutting upwards in a semi-circle followed by cutting in tiny triangles.
Step 12: Clip up section 3.
We’re now all done with section 3, so clip it back up to keep it out of the way.
Step 13: Unclip section 2.
This section is on the front side of the head and is the hair that’s in front of the ears. To angle it towards the chin as we did, cut from the bottom towards the chin in a diagonal line. We made the mistake of going the other direction first, and uh, it didn’t turn out quite as well… still totally fine though.
At this stage, it’s crucial that you’ve parted your hair on the side that you normally do, because the angle on that side will be a bit shorter so as to frame your face. Since I part my hair on the right, the angle on the left curls just under my chin.
Mr. FW first combed the hair downwards and then used his fingers as a guide to cut up towards my chin. This was one spot where it would be nearly impossible to achieve accuracy if the hair was dry.
Step 14: Unclip section 1.
This is the other section at the front of the head with hair in front of the ears. We followed the same angling technique for this side: cut from the bottom towards the chin in a diagonal line.
Step 15: Measure length of your longest front layers.
Pull downwards on your longest front layers and check that the length is even. Make adjustments as needed.
Step 16: Blow dry hair.
I blow dried my hair (not something I normally do) so that we could check the length. Mr. FW found a few stray hairs after it was dry, which he easily snipped off.
Step 17: Luxuriate in your awesome, free hair!
Having Mr. FW cut my hair at home represents one of our final frugal frontiers. Heretofore, I’d paid handsomely to have it cut at a salon, which had been my one beauty indulgence (I’ve always done everything else myself–eyebrows, nails, etc).
The last time I had it cut was over a year ago and even though we can afford it, I didn’t want to waste my money on it this year. Quite simply, I’d rather save that $120 and reap the benefits of compound interest over time. Compound interest, by the way, is a magical unicorn of awesomeness, in case you hadn’t heard. As for me and my hair, we’re going with the magical unicorn.
Have you ever cut your own hair? Are you motivated to try it now? What’s the worst that can happen, right ;)?!
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