How do I get better at cutting my husband's hair?
September 20, 2020 7:20 PM   Subscribe

After COVID shut everything down, my husband bought a set of Wahl clippers and I started cutting his hair at home. How do I efficiently improve my clipper skills?

I had never cut any kind of hair before COVID. I watched youtube videos and read instructions to get started. The first cut I gave him left a tiny bald spot on the back of his head (Whoops! It grew back quickly and he was very understanding about it) and I've become progressively less error prone and more confident using the clippers since then. The cuts I give him now are what I'd call "acceptable". From a regular look or glance nothing looks really awry, but looking more closely reveals blending issues and questionable treatment of the colic. I also would not say the cuts I give him have any real style to them at all; they are painfully basic. I probably also spend way too much time on his cuts just to get to something barely acceptable. What kind of resources/learning materials/tips can help me get to a level beyond amateur?
posted by dede to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I find clippers-over-comb much easier than clippers-only for blending. Youtube would have a ton of videos of this technique. Sectioning and point cutting is also a little more forgiving if you've got some length to work with, because you don't get quite the same blunt edges.

Also, find out the name of the haircut you're trying for and look up a bunch of sample photos (ideally of men with similar face shapes and hair textures to your husband's), and take a hard analytical look at the planes and angles, the differences in length across the head, etc. That way, you'll have a mental model of what geometry you're going for as you cut.
posted by Bardolph at 8:53 PM on September 20, 2020

I found this tutorial useful for similar purposes.
posted by unstrungharp at 9:09 PM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

With all due respect, haircutting is a skill that requires post-secondary education, state licensure, and sometimes a pseudo-apprenticeship in order to practice professionally. It's not a skill you just magically learn because you own a pair of clippers. If you're just barely past the point where you're accidentally shaving off chunks of hair, fancy blending is probably not the skill you need to be focusing on right now. Walk before you run. Just like any other skill, it takes time to learn, and you have to be patient as you learn. (And your husband, especially, has to be patient.)

There's a natural limit to the amount of style a haircut can have using clippers. The guards only go up to an inch long, and that's just not long enough to style most hair. Inch-long hair is just going to more or less sit there, and that's even more true of the shorter guards. If either of you wants more style than that, he'll probably need to grow his hair out longer and you'll need to use scissors. (It's not as bad as it sounds; I cut my own hair with scissors this weekend.)

The secret to cowlicks is to go over them in each direction, sometimes multiple times. It does take a long time. There's no shortcut here.

For blending, the short length works in your favor. I fade my back and sides from a 2 guard to a 1.5. I'm not under the impression that I'm any good at it, but who cares? The difference is 1/16th of an inch. That's nearly imperceptible. A 3 to a 2 is 1/8 of an inch. I presume the problems you're encountering are jumping greater distances, like an 8 on the top to a 2 on the sides. To get around that problem until you get better with blending, just don't make such a big jump. Instead of going from the 8 to the 2 or whatever, go from 8 to 7 to 6 and so on. As you get better, you can jump bigger: 8 to 6, 6 to 4, etc.

And finally, it might be helpful to remind your husband that he's getting much more than he's paying for. If he's unhappy with the service you're providing, it's not that hard for him to do it himself. I do it, as do enough other people here that there was an Ask about it recently.

I've been cutting my own hair for years before quarantine started, and I still don't always like the results. But the reason I do it is because I don't often like the results of professional haircuts, either. (Cowlicks. They're hard, even for pros.) The marginal benefit of a slightly more professional cut isn't worth the marginal cost to me. So I deal. If your husband can't deal, well, I don't know where you're located, but lockdown is pretty much over most places. He can go back to his regular barber if what you're doing isn't good enough.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:09 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Practice and lower standards!
posted by katypickle at 9:48 AM on September 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the input so far, everything that's been shared has been really helpful. Apologies if I was too glib in my post (and for my misspelling of "cowlick"). I should have asked for getting help for beginners; I am not trying to get to a professional skill level in any way. And I am getting zero flak from my husband; he is just grateful for my efforts. I just personally would like to improve my skills and there's an overwhelming amount of resources out there, so if anyone has any other favorites I'd be super interested in hearing about them.
posted by dede at 9:59 AM on September 21, 2020

Here's a Brad Mondo video that may be helpful: Hairdressers Guide To Cutting Your Own Hair And Not Ruining It (mens edition)
posted by Lexica at 10:11 AM on September 21, 2020

The Flowbee works really well for me. I use a belt and shaver to touch up the back. Big savings.
posted by metasunday at 5:45 PM on September 21, 2020

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