Would you believe me if I told you I haven't gotten a haircut at a barbershop in 7 years? Well, it's true - since I graduated high school in 2010, I've been cutting my own hair myself, and it's saved me thousands of dollars.
Before I continue: This post is not intended to rid barbers of business whatsoever! Its whole purpose is simply to introduce to you to one way you can save if you're ever in a situation where money is tight. Please continue to support your local barbers and the great work that they do!
It all started during my first year of university. I moved away from home and experienced what it was like to live by myself for the first time. As fun as it was having all of that freedom, I quickly realized that the transition to independent life wasn't going to be as simple as I had initially thought.
Leaving all of the comforts I had back home and operating on a tight student budget often made it difficult to obtain even the simplest of necessities, like haircuts. Back home, I had a go-to barber or a friend who would cut my hair for me, but on campus I didn't know anyone that I trusted enough to do my hair (I'm picky when it comes to my grooming).
For a while, I would only get a haircut whenever I was back home, but that meant living for weeks with scraggly, untamed hair. It was an uncomfortable change for me because I'd usually get haircuts every two weeks, since my hair grows ridiculously fast (it could be an Asian thing). Plus, good haircuts cost like, $40 each nowadays. If I were to get a haircut every two weeks at that price, I'd be forking up around $1,000 year. At some point, I convinced myself that it was time to take matters into my own hands.
I did some deep diving on Google to see if any guys had ever tried cutting their own hair before. I read articles, watched videos and even paid close attention to my barber. After a few months, I decided to give it a whirl.
I bought a couple of things to get me started - a $30 Wahl clipper kit from Walmart, a pair of $10 Goodies scissors and a cheap straight edge. I even got my dad to build me a three-mirror apparatus with pull-out mirrors from IKEA:
The first time I tried cutting my hair, it turned out just okay. I spent three whole hours experimenting, and every move I made was nerve-wracking.
Luckily, I ended up with a sort of decent cut. It wasn't perfect, but I would say it was good enough for a first try. See my first attempt below:
But the next few times weren't so great. There were even a few instances where I had to shave my hair down to a crew cut because of a mistake. But I kept reminding myself that it was just hair and that it would grow back in time.
I kept revisiting videos on YouTube to see how I could improve my technique. Over time, I learned a lot of helpful things, from how to maneuver the clipper with better control to using different angles to my advantage. I even learned how to do a bit of a low fade the sides of my hair using scissors (yes, scissors). With lots and lots of practice, I cut down my haircut time to more than half, and started gaining more confidence in my skills.
Fast forward seven years later and I'm still cutting my hair, and every time I do it I learn something new. I know that the quality I can get from a barber will always be better than anything I can produce myself. But I like doing it on my own because I can customize my hair how I like it, and do it as often as I want.
There are some guys who can't even imagine having anyone other than their barber touch their hair. Some probably scoff at this whole idea of DIY haircuts and might even roast me for even trying. But unlike them, at least I'm able to say that I can do something semi-decent with a clipper and some scissors.
If there's any advice I can give to those looking to cut their own hair too, it's to keep practicing. You'll need to accept the fact that there are just some things only a barber can do for you, but if you're not looking for anything too fancy, it might not hurt you to give it a try.
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