Can I learn to cut my kids' hair?
DIY Kids Haircuts
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
Adventures in Home Hairdressing
Cutting Your Own Hair
DIY Kids Haircuts?
We have four kids between the ages of four and fourteen. We have three boys and a girl. Now that school is nearly over, I'd like to cut my kids hair for the summer. I want them to look presentable, but even the cost of the chain hair cutters is getting hard to handle. I'd really like to do the kids haircuts myself. Can anyone help?
Great Book for Help with DIY Kids Haircuts
I have thick, coarse hair and have been cutting it myself now for over five years. (I never could stand the wait time and how long it took in a salon!) I got advice from several people and tried out several books, but I never was able to do it until I got a copy of How to Cut Your Own Hair (Or Anyone Else's!).
It is spiral-bound, so you can stand it up and eyeball the pictures. I was scared the first time, but like the author says in the book, "It's just hair. It'll grow back!"
Now I take out this book about four times per year, stand it up, clip away, and sweep up the clippings in about ten minutes! I experience no waiting and no outrageous price, and I don't have to leave a tip!
Find Other Ways to Save
Please go to Super Cuts or the equivalent. Ask for the manager. See if they will give you a special price on a slow day for a "dry cut" or do one cut per pay check. Please don't impact the kids with a faux pas from good intentions. I did that once. It wasn't worth the couple of dollars saved to see what I did to my child's self-esteem. This might seem shallow, but kids have to live in this world, too.
Linda (via Facebook)
Advice on Bangs
To cut girl's bangs, between professional haircuts, take the bangs and twist until they are located in the middle of the forehead. Take your scissors and cut across your pointer finger and thumb. Release your fingers and trim any strays. You now have a China doll look. If you do this every other haircut you will save money and get a very cute look for children and/or adults.
Do You Know a Hairdresser?
For your boys, you should consider purchasing a set of electric clippers. We bought our first set at least 20 years ago. It came with "combs" to help cut at different lengths and for tapering around the ears and adequate instructions. Summer is a great time to experiment, as "too short" is fine in the warmer weather. And even with just one son and my hubby, we know we've saved a lot of money and time over the years. For your daughter, some good hair cutting scissors and tutelage from a friend or relative who is/was a hairdresser could work for you.
Elaine V. in NJ
Let Students Cut Hair
Consider a barber college. The student barbers are eager to cut hair, are closely supervised by instructors to make sure things are done right, and the price is less than half of a regular cut.
Have the Appropriate Tools
One of the most important things you can do to provide haircuts for your family is to buy a professional pair of scissors, including a small pair to use in tight places, and a cape. Next I would suggest you ask for a few pointers from someone who does their own haircuts.
Purchasing a barber set (electric shaver, assorted attachments, etc.) for about $10 to $15 will be helpful for the guys in the family. Read your instruction booklet thoroughly. Do a web search and look for video instructions for cutting hair.
I cut my children's hair (especially my sons) for several years, but found when they got to high school, I had to come up with ways to pay a regular barber as they wanted complicated styles that were beyond my abilities.
When I was a child, we had access to a "beauty school" where rates were about half price if you were willing to have the students practice on you. Their instructor guaranteed you had a good cut, and we were satisfied with the students work.
Comfort Comes with Practice
I, too, wanted to save money on haircuts. I looked at several "hair-cutting" videos on YouTube. After gathering my supplies, I went to town. I have been cutting my husband's hair, as well as my own, for the last six months. I can't tell a bit of difference on my husband's cut and I have gotten more compliments on mine than I ever did before. Always cut a little longer than you initially want, as you can't glue it back on but you can go back later and trim a little more if needed. The more you do it the more comfortable you will be.
Revisit an Old Favorite
Check out the Flowbee® haircutting system. It has an automatic hair clipper that has various spacers and hooks up to your vacuum, so there is no clean up needed. I kept my bangs perfectly trimmed with a Flowbee® for years. My kids thought it was hilarious, but it worked! You can even trim the dog. Years ago, there were infomercials on TV for it. Now you can find it with an internet search.
Purchase a Good Haircutting Kit
I can help with the hair cutting issue. I also have three boys and a girl and I cut all the boys' hair myself. Purchase a Wahl® haircutting kit for about $35 and follow the instructions. I use the money I save cutting my boys' and my husband's hair to get my daughter's hair professionally cut. It's a win-win situation.
Take the Plunge with DIY Kids Haircuts
Summer is the perfect time to perfect your skills as an at-home stylist! Any mistakes will grow out without the discerning eyes of classmates. Start with a quality kit, with multiple guard lengths, for the boys. Many come with an instructional video or YouTube the style you want to master. Some tips I've learned in 18 years of cutting my kids' hair:
- Use the edge of the "buzzer" backwards from behind the ear to the sideburns. It easily removes the fine hair that can be difficult to cut.
- If your child has very thick hair (as mine do), then invest in thinning shears, found at any beauty supply store. Thin the hair before cutting with the shaver.
- Bangs are easily trimmed if one gathers them all together, twists the hair one time, and trims the ends. (Always, always, always take small amounts off at a time. You can always cut more, but a crying child is not fun!) This results in a "tapered" style, where the hair over the eyes is shorter and then becomes longer at the temples.
- Medium to long hair can be easily trimmed using the following method. Take a section of hair, about 1/2" thick. Twist until you reach the end and hold. With your other hand, gently run your fingers up and down the twist. This will cause any hair that has split ends to pop out of the twist. Using sharp scissors, trim those away. Repeat for the whole head. The original style will not be compromised, but hair will be much healthier following the trim.
- For actual "cuts," I took my son to a stylist and let him choose how he wanted his hair done. As she trimmed his hair with scissors, I watched her like a hawk. That was his last paid haircut when he was 13.
- New blades can be ordered from Wahl online. They cost about $6. A sharp blade is your best friend!
- It can be difficult for an amateur to "blend" the line between one guard length and another. Use a small toothed comb and hold it perpendicular to the head, grabbing the longer hair. Run the buzzer up the comb (with no guard) to blend the hair. Start with the longest length and adjust as needed.
- Cutting bangs should be done dry. Hair stretches when wet, which could result in a too-short trim job.
Good luck, take the plunge, and don't schedule any family pictures until you get the hang of it!
Maureen in Minnesota
Find Tutorials Online
There are a lot of videos on you tube for hair cutting. Here is just one example. I've been cutting my husband's hair for years and have saved a ton of money doing so. He also appreciates the time it saves.
Take the Next Step:
- No time to take action now? Why not 'Pin it' so you can do it later?
- Visit the TDS library for frugal ways to keep your hair healthy and stylish.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!