Guys, cut your own hair at home with these pro tips


Barbers may be allowed to open during the movement control order, but it is still not advisable to go and get a haircut right now. Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy from Pexels

Work from home is in full force, and your Zoom conferences aren’t just showing your colleagues what your home looks like; they’re also getting an up-close look at the toll that the pandemic has taken on your appearance. Yes, you need more quality sleep, but that won’t help that shaggy mane of hair that you’re sporting.

There’s nothing better than the pampering a guy gets at the barbershop – the straight razor precision on your sideburns, a cleaned up neckline, the perfect part. But if you looked in the mirror this morning and didn’t recognise the guy looking back, get your clippers, take a deep breath and join the ranks of guys posting on Instagram and Twitter by diving headfirst into an at-home haircut.

To get some advice on where to start, The Chicago Tribune reached out to barber Josh Cooley, owner of Chicago’s Belmont Barbershop, for some advice. The shop has six barbers, most of whom take the highly coveted appointments, with one barber reserved for walk-ins. The shop opened in 2005 and was named one of the best barbershops in America by Best Life magazine as well as one of the Top 100 Small Businesses in the country by Small Business Revolution.

Cooley offered some tips:

The clippers

Barbers typically use Andis, Oster or Wahl clippers, says Cooley.

“For a home haircut, adjustable blade clippers are easier to handle, they have a lever to make small adjustments in length. These clippers come with guards, which are good for home hair cutting because you can switch out guard sizes for different lengths. I recommend the Wahl 5-star Senior.”

The buzz cut

The buzz cut or #coronacut is a great option, Cooley says, “since buzz cut season is almost here anyway, and we’re probably going to have at least three more weeks at home, so there’s plenty of time to grow it out.”

Start with a short guard that your clippers come with, (you’ll use a shorter guard for the sides and back, a longer guard for the top). The key to a good buzz cut is to start at the bottom and go up. Cooley suggests cutting against the grain, noting that the hair on the sides of your head grows down and back a little; on the top, it grows toward your face.

First, get you hair a little bit wet and comb the longer hair on top up to get it out of the way.

To cut, start at the sideburns. Choose a side and go up with the clippers following the shape of your head. Do each side, then go around to the back of your head and go up with the clippers, starting at the nape of your neck and going up to the crown of your head. The area is where your hair swirls in different directions.

Take it up to the area that’s just above your temple. Cooley says to Imagine a ring around your head where a hat would sit.

For the top, move to the next size up for the guard. Start in front and work your way back to the crown. Then cut against the grain in different directions at the crown. Run your hands through your hair to feel for any longer spots that you might have missed.

A longer style

If you want to keep your hair longer on top, Cooley says an at-home trim “is doable, but a little more tricky.”

He says that you will need a good pair of sharp scissors to get a clean cut, and go a little longer than you might want. Remember, you can always cut off more.

For the sides and back, follow the directions above for the buzz cut, starting with damp hair and using the clippers to cut above the temple or hat line.

Starting in front, run a comb through your hair combing it up. Then in place of the comb, hold the hair up between your index and middle finger, allowing about an inch to show above your fingers. Begin to cut the hair above your fingers, working your way across your head in horizontal sections from side to side.

Next, move back in inch increments to the next section, and repeat until you reach the crown of your head.

“We all want you back, but during times like this, we aren’t losing anything by giving advice, and you’ll probably appreciate us even more after home hair cutting, ” Cooley said.

Depending on your relationship with your barber, you most likely can rely on them for a little FaceTime advice. Just don’t forget to tip. – David Syrek/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service

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