Monday, 12 November 2012


I know my blogs are usually quite calm and upbeat but my latest “thing I made” that I wanted to share with you was motivated by a deep and chronic resentment about something that, I’m led to believe, most ladies (and some men) see as a joyful necessity; having a hair cut. For many reasons the whole hairdressing thing makes me angry, I find it over the top and expensive. After talking to a friend earlier this year, I was inspired to start cutting my own hair. I have self-cut 3 times now and, although not confident enough to declare all hairdressers redundant, I reckon it’s something everyone should try. There is a great deal of money and awkwardness to be saved.

My thesis on hairdressing has been shaped over many years and has, with my recent discovery, been solidified into what I am about to share with you here.

“Hairdressing” is merely a pantomime staged to convince us that the attention and ‘expertise’ we receive is necessary, should cost £40+ (and tip) and take place every 6-8 weeks. As part of the whole charade, these bi-monthly ‘salon’ visits often include 2 or more of the following extraneous features:
  • Scalp massage.
  • Awkward small talk, often about holidays (yours or theirs)
  • Being offered a posh cup of coffee you can’t actually drink because it is always just out of reach and drinking it would require frequent interruptions of the hair-cutting process.
  • The hairdresser ignoring what you asked for and cutting the hair the way they think, or the only way they know how and giving some made-up reason to make them seem ‘expert’ (“No, you can’t have a shorter fringe, you have a cow’s lick.”)
  • Questions asked, in a disapproving tone, about who cut your hair last time (“You”)
  • 30-45 minutes spent blasting scalding levels of heat directly onto ones’ hair follicles until your new hair do has so much volume that it appears to be much like the one you had before, but is now inexplicably floating approximately 1 cm above your head.
  • Being charged £20 more than the price you paid last time you had it done, even though your cut is basically the same as the last time but, because it’s just a few inches shorter, it has somehow fallen into the category of a “restyle”.

Although the final point has only happened to me once, I had to put it in the list because it still shocks me now, 18 months later. TWENTY POUNDS?! It was the EXACT SAME CUT BUT SHORTER! There was no more labour involved in this haircut; she made all the same movements with her hands, probably the same number of times, but with her hands just a few inches higher. Not to mention the fact that the actual cutting, the bit that really matters, only took the same amount as it always does; about 15 minutes.

I was expressing my angry feelings to my friend Nic over a curry a few months ago (it’s a racket! A rip off! I don’t care about my hair enough to pay £40!). Not only did Nic agree but she divulged that she often cuts her own hair. It was like an epiphany “I want to cut my own hair!” I thought. I hate small talk, I hate my scalp being scalded by a hairdryer, I hate my ‘do appearing to levitate above my head and I hate being ripped off! None of these things needed to happen if I cut my own hair.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that here begins a tale of disaster and woe (see how well those hairdressers have indoctrinated us?!) but it has turned out better than I could have expected. I ordered a pair of haircutting and hair thinning scissors for a fiver from ebay and set about researching ‘self-haircuts’ online. It turns out that if you, like me, have a fairly standard mid-length hairstyle with a sweeping fringe and layers there’s a lot of YouTube videos out there to help us maintain the cut, once it has actually been cut into that style. I won’t bother recreating what you can find elsewhere but I will give a brief overview of the method I use.

Step 1) Wash and comb hair into place. Divide hair up into sections based on length – I divide mine into 10-12 sections 4 on each side and 4 on the back  (two up to down, separating the top and bottom layers) – plus the fringe.

Step 2) Undo one of the sections and comb the hair straight, clasp the hair between your fingers and pull it into a position where the ends just about line up. Cut the hair in small diagonal upward snips. Tie the section of hair back up and move around to the next section. Repeat until you’ve cut all of the sections.

Step 3) Use the thinning scissors on one section at a time, I snip gently in three places along the length of the strands.

Here's a pic of my DIY haircut, I reckon it looks about as good as any haircut I’ve paid for J

P.S. I just wanted to say that I know there are really good hairdressers out there who do offer value for money. When I lived in Brighton I would always get my haircut at Goose, no washing (just spritzed with water), no small talk, great cut (exactly what you asked for) all for just £20 (2010 price)

1 comment:

  1. Does this all go back to your childhood? Even at the tender age of three you had a diabolical hatred of hairdressers - screaming and carrying on to such an extent that I was nervous every time we had to go. I am ashamed to say that eventually I had to resort to bribery. I bought boxes of smarties whch kept your mouth so full you couldn't scream! Happy days! xx