Putting haircuts in perspective
I have cut my husband’s hair for about 95% of his haircuts over the course of our nearly 38 year marriage. I also cut my children’s hair almost all of the time while they were growing up. But I’m not trained and I don’t cut hair professionally.
Why did I do this? Mostly because it was more convenient that hauling everyone to appointments every few weeks. It took less time to pull out the hair trimming equipment, cut the hair, and clean up than it did to pack everyone up and drive to a shop.
Hair cuts are also relatively low risk. Hair grows. And it grows relatively quickly. Any awkward results will soon be but a memory.
What about style?
When I was just starting out I purchased a used book about hair cutting. Here is one that is similar: Haircut Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Trends & How-To’s I looked through the first few pages of this book I linked to and was impressed with how much information there is and it has good diagrams. It is the diagrams that helped me the most to get a sense of how to cut.
Some people are more style conscious than others, but I have observed over the years that style is more about how to make an individual’s hair look best, rather than mimicking the latest fad.
There are, of course, also personal preferences. My husband likes a basic, no-fuss, timeless men’s look. He likes to look well groomed and trimmed, but fashion trends aren’t important.
Tips for a good men’s haircut
- Begin by cutting less. You can always trim more, but you can’t put it back on.
- The closer to an edge, the shorter the area needs to be cut. This is what will give the taper to a neat edge.
- Clippers, with their variety of attachments, make it easier to cut an area the same length. This is the latest edition of the Wahl kit that I bought about 15 years ago. It only takes a few haircuts to break even on the cost.
- I always start with trimming the back of the head, but follow a straight line up from the widest part of the head. This makes a nice taper to the slightly longer cut of the upper sides and crown. The rest of the haircut proceeds from there.
- You can use the angled ear trimmer in the backward direction for the opposite ear to get a better trim all the way around the ear.
- If the hair is thinning, it usually looks better to cut that area as short or slightly shorter than the adjacent sections. Leaving it longer actually emphasizes the thinness.
Trimming the beard
Today was the first time I had ever trimmed a beard. I just wanted it shorter, less angular, and neater around the edges. Although the beard hairs are coarser, the same cutting tips above served me well in trimming the beard. The only thing I didn’t do was shave the front of his neck. He did that with a razor afterward.
Below is a progression of photos, in case you want to see how it all turned out.
And now the results!