Not surprisingly, few professional stylists would recommend giving your own locks a chop. After all, "the biggest hazard is simply that you don't know how to achieve the results you want," says Kiki Fotiadis, a stylist at Elan Sassoon's Icon Hair Salon. But if you're going for a relatively simple trim, who's to say you can't give it a try? The idea of saving time and money might very well make the risk worth it. But before you pick up those scissors, read on to learn what the pros want determined DIY-ers to know.
1. You must have the right tools.
Make sure you have a fine-toothed comb, a spray bottle filled with water, a large mirror, and a hand mirror to see all angles of your head. And, most importantly, always use professional quality shears. "Typical household scissors aren't sharp enough and will create split ends," says Nicole Hitchcock, a stylist in Novato, CA.
2. Start small.
It's a fact: When it comes to cutting your hair, there's no "undo" button. All the more reason to start with small sections and cut more only if it's absolutely necessary, suggests Lana Grand, a London- and LA-based stylist. Start with damp hair to get better control, she recommends, then brush your hair down, part it down the middle from forehead to back; then bring both sides you just parted forward, to your chest. "Using your fingers as a guide, cut a straight line. This method will give you a curved/rounded look in the back." She adds, "For trims that are every 2 to 3 months, cut about half an inch to an inch." You can always do a second pass if it needs to be shorter.
3. Beware of bangs.
If you're determined to cut your own bangs, whatever you do, go slowly, Hitchcock says. "Twist your bangs and elevate the hair straight out from the scalp," she says. "Then cut into it rather than trying to cut a straight line. Otherwise it's likely you'll fail horribly and end up looking like a kid. Instead, go for a textured wispy look—it's easier to achieve." If this sounds too difficult, consider calling your local salon, as many offer complimentary trims for your bangs.
4. Quit while you're ahead.
Snipping a few hairs that may be split or trimming bangs is one thing, but you may just want to stop there if you're not sure that you can give yourself a decent cut. And, if you happen to get a little scissor happy and the result is a crazy uneven style (or lack thereof), don't panic, urges celebrity stylist Peter Lamas. "Make an appointment to visit a professional hair stylist as soon as possible," he says. "Explain what happened and describe the look you were going for. Your stylist might be able to turn around your beauty blunder or give you a new style you'll love."
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