DIY Home Haircuts for Trimming a Tight Budget

Do you need to temporarily trim the family budget? Home haircuts might be a good source of savings.

by Andrea Norris-McKnight

DIY Home Haircuts photo

One positive outcome of the pandemic was that it forced many of us to hone our DIY skills, including at-home haircuts.

Perhaps your family returned to the salon as soon as possible, but if your budget has gotten tight again, home haircuts could be an ideal way to save. For a family of four, you could save $100 to $150+ every six to eight weeks or whatever frequency your family gets a cut or trim.

The thought of wielding scissors and snipping away at your locks or your kids’ or spouse’s hair may seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, you can maintain your family members’ current styles and free up a little extra cash until your budget improves.

Get Educated With Online Tutorials

These days, there isn’t much you can’t learn to do for free by watching online tutorials and cutting hair is no exception. So, before investing in any tools or cutting any hair, watch several videos explaining basic haircutting techniques for the different hair types you’ll be trimming to decide if this is a DIY job you think you can do.

The Importance of Proper Tools

After watching some tutorials, if you feel confident giving someone or yourself a trim, you’ll need the right tools. Investing in a high-quality pair of haircutting shears is essential. Unlike regular scissors, haircutting shears are designed for cutting hair, ensuring precise and clean cuts that minimize split ends and fraying.

Here is a list of recommended tools. Since you may already have most of these things, the initial financial investment to get started should be minimal.

  • Haircutting shears: Look for sharp, precise blades for accurate cuts and clean lines.
  • Detangling comb: A wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush can help smoothen and separate hair, making it easier to work with.
  • Hair clips or ties: These will help you section hair for a more organized and controlled cutting process.
  • Cape or towel: To help contain the hair clippings and keep your “home salon” space tidy, wear a cape or an old towel over your shoulders.

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Preparing Hair for the Cut

Start by washing and conditioning hair, ensuring it’s free from any product buildup or residue. Then, allow it to dry completely. Cutting wet hair can lead to uneven results, as hair tends to shrink and change shape as it dries.

For curly hair, it’s best to work with the natural texture. Avoid straightening or applying products that may alter the hair’s natural pattern.

Sectioning Hair

Sectioning hair helps ensure a uniform and balanced cut. Begin by dividing the hair into four quadrants: two sections on the top and two on the bottom. Use hair clips or ties to secure each section, working on one at a time.

You may want to divide each quadrant into smaller subsections for those with longer or thicker hair. Subsections will make it easier to manage and control hair when cutting.

Trimming Techniques To Explore

When it comes to trimming hair, there are a few techniques you can use. As mentioned, find online tutorials demonstrating these techniques to determine which might work best for the heads of hair you will trim.

Point-cutting: Hold your scissors vertically and snip into the ends of your hair rather than cutting straight across. This technique creates a softer, more natural-looking finish and helps prevent blunt, harsh lines.

Vertical cutting: Instead of cutting horizontally, hold your scissors vertically and snip downwards, following the natural fall of your hair. This method helps maintain the hair’s movement and shape.

Layering: If you’re aiming for a layered look, start by trimming the bottom section of hair to create a baseline guide. Then, work your way up, gradually shortening each section to create the desired layer effect.

Remember, starting small and gradually working your way up is always better. You can always trim more, but undoing a drastic cut is nearly impossible.

Bangs: To Cut or Not to Cut

If you’re considering cutting bangs, proceed with caution. Bangs require precision and a keen eye for symmetry, as even a slight miscalculation can result in an uneven or unflattering look.

If you decide to try it, start by sectioning off the front portion of the hair and work in small, incremental snips. Use a comb to guide your scissors and create a straight line. Remember, leaving bangs slightly longer than desired is always better, as you can always trim more later.

Maintaining Your At-Home Haircut

Once you’ve achieved your desired look, regular trims every six to eight weeks can help prevent split ends and maintain a cut’s overall shape and style.

Additionally, hair treatments, such as masks, serums, and oils, can help keep your hair healthy and vibrant between cuts. These products can help repair damage, hydrate strands and minimize the appearance of split ends. You can find simple recipes online for making your own hair treatments rather than splurging on pricey store products. Start with these homemade hair treatments.

Embracing Imperfections

Perfection is an unrealistic expectation, especially when it comes to at-home haircuts, so have patience as you learn.

If you are dissatisfied with your results, remember that hair grows back, and you can always seek the expertise of a professional stylist to correct any mistakes or reshape a desired style.

Who Shouldn’t Consider DIY Home Haircuts?

If any of the following apply to you or a family member, you should probably rely on a professional rather than try DIY:

  • If you’re aiming for a drastic change in hairstyle or length
  • If you’re working with hair texture that requires specialized techniques
  • If you’re experiencing significant hair damage or breakage

Can DIY Home Haircuts Help Your Family Save Money?

The thought of cutting your own or someone else’s hair might make you nervous, but with the right tools, tutorials, techniques and some practice, you can help keep your family’s locks looking good until regular salon or barber visits fit back into your budget. With enough practice, you just might decide to continue saving with haircuts at home, even after your financial situation improves.

Reviewed June 2024

About the Author

Andrea Norris-McKnight took over as the editor of The Dollar Stretcher and After 50 Finances after working under the site founder and previous editor for almost 15 years. She has also written for,, and The Sacramento Bee.

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