DIY Haircuts–We Grow It, We Cut It

Yup.  It’s homegrown, homecut here at the Tangled Nest Barber Shop.  My mom always cut my dad’s hair, and I grew up with bad jokes about how he was “dating a really cute barberess.”  In high school, neighborhood boys came over to have their hair cut, too.  When my mom eventually bought herself a new barber’s kit, she gave me the old one to take to college, and I sometimes cut friends’ hair, having learned from watching my mother (who had learned from watching real barbers).  But when I first married Tom, cutting his hair didn’t seem like the quickest path to newlywed bliss, so I never even considered it.  We both had our hair cut at Rudy’s–our favorite hipster Seattle shop.


Still–Tom would come home with these pretty basic cuts.  I knit, sew, and make all manner of things.  I’d cut hair in the past, with happy results.  Finally one day I looked at Tom with his fresh Rudy’s coif, and said, “Babe, I could totally do that.”  So I got a haircutting kit at the local drugstore (on sale for $25), with tolerable shears, a cape, and a buzz-clipper with various attachments.  I’ve been cutting Tom’s hair for a few years now, and he’s never looked better (if I may say so myself).

Tom admires his new cut, reflected in the chrome clippers.
Tom admires his new cut, reflected in the chrome clippers.


And does Tom cut my hair?  Yeah, um, no.  Definitely not.  But when I see my haircutter Missy, I make sure to show up early for my appointment and watch her technique.  I ask her for advice about how to deal with…what shall we call it?  Tom’s growing “sunscreen hole” (as Claire affectionately says).  And the advice is freely given.

Cutting hair is not for everyone.  Yes, it’s “just hair,” but it grows right out of our bodies, and is curiously connected with our sense of self.  Bad haircuts are not tragedies, but it is nice to avoid them whenever possible.  But if you are clever with your hands, a bit crafty, have a good eye, and perhaps have someone to advise you in the art, and if your “cut-ee” is thoroughly willing, then why not try cutting your family’s hair at home?  It saves money, is rollicking fun, the tips are great, and it’s one more step to happy self-sufficiency.

There are lots of tutorials online.  This little video is sort of dorky, but it’s pretty much exactly how I cut Tom’s hair.

Thanks to Claire who took all the photos for this post!


  1. I’ve been cutting my husband’s hair for almost a year now. His mother used to cut his hair when he lived at home, so after he got tired of paying random people at supercut-type places, we invested in an inexpensive buzzer set. It’s taken me some experimenting to figure how exactly how to cut his hair the way he likes, but I’ve gotten the knack of it. Thanks for posting about this! It’s so nice to hear of like-minded people doing simple things like cutting hair in order to save a few bucks and become more self-sufficient.

  2. I’m a home-cutter too. Though my training all came about through a willing cut-ee. I gave approximately two “bad” haircuts before I got the knack. And it is fun to do. I’ve been cutting my own hair since, just a simple straight cut, with help getting the back straight. But I just got the bug to cut some bangs, must be early cabin fever, looking for indoor activites or something like that. Timely post cause I’ve been grabbing the scissors for a trim or shaping here and there every time I go past the mirror. It is addictive, and a new haircut does feel somewhat like a personality change!

  3. Jerry

    Your mother and I did the math–456 haircuts @ $15= $6,840 saved since she started cutting my hair in 1971! I have some advice/rules for all the male participants. Barberess’ have a reputation of being very “sneaky”. To make sure she is the
    “one you want”—before she starts to cut your hair, embrace her in a firm, intimate, long hug.
    If you are satisfied she is the “one”, let her begin.
    However, during the haircut, you should (at least 3-4 times), slip your hand from under the cape and do a touch test to make sure she is the
    same barberess you started with! If the touching
    becomes excessive, a slap of the comb will let
    you know. Always, always, tell your sweetheart
    that it’s the best haircut of all time. A short hug
    after the cape is removed is recommended.
    If these rules are followed, the haircut experience will be a joy for both of you for many years to come.

  4. Okay, I only gave Birch a haircut once. He immediately picked up the phone afterward and called a local barber, where the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m the victim of a home haircut…” He too has a sunscreen hole (oh, sweet Claire!), and I didn’t deal with it deftly enough, I guess.

    But, eerily, just Friday, I tried my hand at Fern’s hair. I’ve watched for a decade as others fretted over how to cut her straight-straight hair so that it came out straight. I just observed all the rules I’d noted as ending in the best cuts. I got it straight mostly, though it was wedged in the back instead of tapered under. I will have to bring one side up a bit more. Okay, it was far from perfect. But she didn’t pick up the phone afterward and call herself a victim…

    Thanks for blogging so beautifully, dear friend!

  5. Tim

    After dealing with the sunscreen hole issue for years I finally just shaved my head and I have not looked back since. That was about 4 years ago. I love it. I shave in the shower about every other morning, takes about as long as brushing your hair but I don’t have to worry about my hair getting messed up in the wind, rain, etc. It’s great and everyone told me I look younger.

    Give it a try!

Comments are closed.