Is It Crazy to Cut Your Own Hair?



“I think I’m going to try cutting my own hair.”

After extensive scientific* testing, I’ve determined that this sentence is a fool-proof way to elicit “crazy face.” As in, the face people make at you when they think you’ve officially lost it.

*not at all scientific, I tested it on literally two people.

It gets even better when you go on to insist that,

“No, I watched a lot of Youtube videos about it, and I don’t think it’ll be that hard!”

At this point in the conversation, they’re likely to just start laughing and tell you to go ahead. To be entirely fair, it’s also the point in the conversation when you’re likely to realize that oh, ok, that is the kind of thing someone would say about a certifiably bad idea.

But still! It might be ok!


If that intro wasn’t clear enough, I’ve been thinking about trying to cut my own hair.

This entire hair-brained (I’m sorry, I love bad puns) idea is the direct result of three things.

  1. The frugal blogosphere, with encouraging anecdotes from bloggers like Frugalwoods, who cut their own hair (Mr. and Mrs.!) at home.
  2. My enduring hatred of strange people touching my head, and deep awkwardness when making salon small talk.
  3. My true belief that this will not be that hard, probably.

I’ve needed a haircut for a while now. Even before I thought about cutting my own hair, I’ve always been notorious for waiting as long as I can possibly stand between hair appointments. I have long hair, so I can usually get away with it, but I’ve definitely worn my hair in a bun for a month straight before addressing the issue and booking a haircut.

It’s not that I don’t have a great, reasonably priced hair stylist, because I do. She works out of her home, and she’s just lovely. If you’d like a referral in Ottawa, I’m happy to hook you up!

But the thing is, I’m going to have hair forever. And according to Youtube, long layered hair – my current style – is the easiest to cut at home if you’re a woman. It probably has to do with the nice margin of error you have with all that length, and very few blunt edges that can broadcast whether you’ve made a terrible mistake or not.

I figured that it was high time to learn how to care for this pretty integral part of my body, once and for all.

Now, I also need to point out that in keeping with the true Half Banked ethos, this was the definition of a half-baked plan.

I decided this was a viable idea on Saturday night, over a glass of wine.

I cut my hair on Monday night – completely sober, because even I’m not that bad at planning.

Literally every bit of research, planning and scissors-acquiring happened in 48 hours.

With such “extensive” planning, my range of acceptable outcomes from this adventure included:

  1. Loving it and deciding to cut my hair on my own forever and ever.
  2. Hating it and booking an emergency appointment to hide my terrible mistake and/or new bald spot ASAP.
  3. Something in between those two extremes.

To kick off my research, as I mentioned, I turned to Youtube. I’ve never been a big Youtube-beauty-blog watcher, but I found these three videos gave me at least some confidence in the fact that this was a manageable, normal-ish thing to do at home.

I borrowed hair cutting scissors from my mom, who as a fellow frugalista, of course had her own hair scissors, and was very proud of me for even contemplating this.

So with the required equipment of scissors, a comb and straightened hair, I got to work.

*insert montage of awkward hair cutting adventures here, and make sure not to skip the face I made when I accidentally cut a six-inch piece of hair I didn’t mean to cut. “It’s OK! Keep going! YOU WILL BE OK!”*

And you know what?

I actually am OK.

My hair looks fine. Does it look like I just left a salon? Of course not. But does my hair scream my frugal-weirdness from the rooftops, and cause people to question my judgement after a single glance? Not at all.


After shot #1 – at least from the back, I think I’ve gotten away with it.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I’ve avoided train-wreck hair.

If you’re thinking about attempting an at-home haircut on yourself, here’s what I found the most helpful going into it, from a mindset perspective.

Be ready to get it fixed by a professional if you really screw up.

As I said before, none of this is due to a lack of a great hair stylist, so if I screwed up royally, I’d just book the same $40 hair cut I would have needed to get anyways, and have a ready-made funny anecdote to share while I sat there.

Don’t be especially particular about your hair in the first place.

I’m not one to put a whole lot of effort into my hair. In fact, for most of the summer, it’s been pulled back into a bun in large part because I don’t have the patience or the arsenal of products to make it look presentable in humidity. All this is to say that if your hair is your crowing glory, uh… you might want to think about this longer than I did.

Know your margin of error, and stay welllll within it.

If I had very short hair, this likely wouldn’t have been on my radar. Since my hair’s approaching record lengths for me, I decided that even in the worst possible what-have-I-done situation, it would be OK with a bit of professional help.

Do at least some research.

I’m not saying go to school to be a hair dresser, but definitely watch at least two Youtube videos. The ones I shared in this post will do fine, and the above-mentioned Frugalwoods post is nice and detailed.

Dislike other people touching your head enough that it’s worth it to at least give it a shot.

I really cannot understate how much of a factor this was in my thinking this would be a good idea and something I should try.

Look at it as a great adventure! Or at least a decent blog post topic.

In the whole 48 hours between deciding to do this, and actually going through with it, I was stoked. I genuinely could not wait to give this a shot, and I knew that even if it failed horribly, I’d get a correspondingly hilarious blog post out of it.

Have you ever thought about taking matters into your own hands and cutting your own hair – or actually gone through with it? Fill me in, I’m sure I’m not alone in this! (Or… am I?)

29 Comments on “Is It Crazy to Cut Your Own Hair?”

    1. Des

      Thanks so much Penny! I’m sure if a trained hairstylist got their hands on my layers right now they would weep, but to me they look fine, haha.

    1. Des

      Thank you so much – and thanks for reblogging! The one thing I liked, vs. most professional haircuts, is that it’s been the closest I’ve ever gotten to a true “trim”. Most of the time I leave feeling completely bald, because they take too much off for my liking!

  1. Tikeetha T

    Great job. I actually have a girlfriend who started having her husband dye her hair. She said she was spending $300 at the salon and he was in dental school and knew chemistry so she trusted he could do her highlights. LOL! They were gorgeous.

    1. Des

      Thank you!

      And that is, hands down, the absolute best reason to let your husband dye your hair! Hahaha I love that so much. “He knows science, it’ll be *fine*.” I’m so glad it worked out for her, especially at $300 a pop! Every time I contemplate maybe switching up my colour, I remember that it’s immediately an ongoing expense, and that’s enough to make me reconsider.

    1. Des

      Thanks so much Linda! I’ve definitely had that experience too, but before now I’ve been way too chicken to fix it myself – I’ve always been a big fan of the “It’ll grow back!” mental reminders, haha.

  2. empressjuju

    Rock on! I feel like there are some skills, like making hummus or cutting your own hair, that once you’ve mastered them you’ll wonder why you ever soent so much money for someone else to do it? Good for you!

    1. Des

      Thank you so much! I think that’s 100% the case here – not that I’ve mastered it yet, but I know that I’ll get better with practice, and then it’ll be all good. Also, YES to hummus! Mostly, I just have a higher-than-average garlic preference and making it myself means I can really go all in. And then avoid people for days because I’m a walking garlic clove, haha.

  3. our next life

    Congrats for going for it! Major cajones. 🙂 I wouldn’t dream of cutting it now, because I’m POSITIVE I would screw it up, and I see clients far too often to grow out a major asymmetry. But I definitely plan to cut my own hair once we retire. I chopped my hair myself a few times in high school (and then proceeded to dye it purple), and it totally worked for a alterna-girl look. Am I being a pathetic old person trying to recapture my youth by thinking I can do that again??? 😉

    1. Des

      Hahaha not even kind of! I think you could totally rock the purple hair. If my dark brown hair was easy to dye different colours, I’d have a whole lot more interesting pictures from high school and university, that’s for sure! Alas, pink highlights were never in the cards for me because of how labour-intensive it is to dye dark hair lighter.

      1. our next life

        That is the one upside I keep wondering about for the little grey hairs that are invading my scalp… maybe they’ll take pink dye more easily than the dark hairs??? Sadly, I think the answer is no. 🙂

  4. Vic

    That’s pretty awesome! Looks good to me! Maybe I could convince my wife that I could cut her hair? lol I doubt she’d say yes.

    I’ve been shaving my head since high school. I’ve done it mainly because I’m too lazy to figure out a new hair style. I figure it’s one less thing I have to worry about. 🙂

    1. Des

      I think I’m close to the female equivalent of that! No matter what I do to my hair (including a few unfortunate rounds of bangs) I always come back to long-and-layered, so learning to do it myself seemed like a good call.

      And you should bring it up! Even if she says no, it seems like the kind of conversation that could elicit a solid Crazy Face, haha. Most conversations about cutting your own hair do. In all seriousness though, the Frugalwoods posts about cutting their own hair make it sound like the sweetest couple activity – if you really want to convince her those would be what I would lead with!

  5. BunKaryudo

    Good on you for being brave enough to try. As a middle-aged man, my major concern is just making I manage to have enough hair to cut. I’m doing okay so far, but I do worry every single time I notice I find a stray hair on my pillow.

  6. Cheryl

    I guess I am probable either the craziest or bravest one out there. But believe it or not, I let my new boyfriend give me a haircut shortly after we started dating. It had been over a year and I went on a rant about my dislike of salons, etc. when he offered to give me a haircut. I said sure, and he gave me a great haircut. I inspected his handiwork when he was finished and was very happy. I asked him if this was just a one time thing, or could he continue to cut my hair for me. He told me as long as we are together, he will cut my hair for me. Years later, he has not given me one bad haircut. And he colors my hair for me now as well. He uses henna, I get great color, shine and really soft hair. It saves me hundreds each year and I prefer having my guy do my hair, rather than paying a stranger that would screw it up.

    1. Des

      Cheryl that’s so fantastic! I love that you just dove in and were like yeah, of course you can cut my hair – what’s the worst that can happen? Because I totally agree, I am not a salon person either. Plus, with so much experience, he probably does it better than even the priciest salon would! Also, I’m so intrigued by the henna colouring – I had a bad orange-hair experience with it ages and ages ago, but it sounds like it’s working great for you. Do you use a specific product or kind of henna?

      1. Cheryl

        The henna comes in multiple colors, not just red. Here is a page that shows the different colors offered. . You can get the henna at multiple sites online, just not usually at your local drug store. Henna color varies on your original hair color and what shade you choose, it can make it darker, but will not lighten your hair. He mixed coconut oil and vinegar with the henna as it is supposed to deep condition your hair and help the color cover the grays better. Oops did I say I had grays? Just a few, maybe. He had never done hair coloring but being he cuts my hair, I told him he gets to be my colorist as well. So being he has an organic garden and has gotten me reading food labels for ingredients, we researched hair color as well. Toxic chemicals of Ammonia, peroxide, metallic salts and PPD are standard in box dyes and what the salons use. Chemicals identified as carcinogenic. So we agreed that henna was the smart choice. Then he watched a couple YouTube videos on how to apply the henna. The kit did come with a plastic cap and gloves, but he preferred to use the gloves he changes the oil in his truck and motorcycle. He had a box of gloves in the garage, and he used Vaseline around my ears, forehead and neckline so the henna would not dye my skin. He was very meticulous in ensuring proper coverage and he set the timer on the stove so I would know when it was time to wash it out. So he was pretty well prepared before we started, and we set that time aside on a Saturday afternoon to color my hair. And the color was fantastic! About a week later, a woman actually stopped me in the grocery store and complimented me on my hair color and asked where I had it done. The lady owned a hair salon and was surprised when I told her my guy did it at home and used henna. She tried to give me her card to call and schedule an appointment because while he colors it, I should still see a pro to get it cut regularly, but I told her no thank you, he cuts it for me as well. She did inspect my hair and conceded he did cut it very nicely. She commented that she discouraged women from cutting their own hair at home and was glad that other women didn’t have a guy that cuts and colors their hair for them like I have or it would ruin her business. So I am not walking around with a bad dye job and wonky haircut. I work with the public and I need to look professional. I tell my friends that he does it for me because I want it done right, as I want it done, and yes I like saving hundreds of dollars a year, and I don’t miss the salon. And when you find a great stylist who gives you exactly what you want, you remain loyal, no one else is allowed near my hair with shears. My mom didn’t like the idea of him cutting my hair at first as she felt I should go to the salon to get my hair cut. She was quite impressed with the color this last time he did my hair. She said she would feel funny asking him to color it for her, but I told her that he could help me mix the henna and set up, but that I would actually apply the henna. I told her many women have their adult daughters help them color their hair. She seems interested in that idea. So she was looking at the color chart online and is thinking about it for the next time. She wasn’t sure how the henna would react with her current hair dye. Sorry for the long post, but I often get on a soap box when people ask me about henna. One friend told me I should sell the stuff.

        1. Des

          This was AMAZING, thank you so much for the detailed reply! I am going to look into it for sure – and you should see my soapbox when people try to convince me that my used car wasn’t a smart financial move, haha. We all have them. This was incredibly useful, thank you for sharing!

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  8. Cynthia

    Good post! I started trimming my own hair for all the reasons you mentioned. Plus, hairdressers always chop off more than I want chopped. The savings in time and money can’t be beat!

    1. Desirae

      Thanks Cynthia! And totally – I find I’ve gotten pretty good at it after a few rounds too! I told some people at work and they thought it was the weirdest thing and offered me referrals, and I was just like… you *never* would have been able to tell if I hadn’t brought it up.

      1. Cynthia

        And they wouldn’t have! That’s why I decided not to tell people. When you do things differently, people get uncomfortable and want to find things wrong with it. Sometimes, it’s easier to keep a little mystery.

        You are right about it getting easier over time too!

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