A question for guys who cut their own hair

How do you do the back of the neck?

For many years now, I’ve either had my wife cut my hair or I do it myself. Running a clipper with a #1 or #2 guard over my head is a no-brainer. But when I do it myself, I have a hard time getting a clean line across the back of my neck. I pretty much have to do it by feel, running a trimmer up my neck and guessing where I need to stop. I’ve got a hand mirror that I can use to see the back of my neck in the bathroom mirror, but the lighting isn’t so great and with the hair on the back of my neck being gray, it’s sometimes hard to see if I got it straight or missed a spot.

So, how do you do-it-yourselfers do it?

Same as you, apparently. Trying to “feel” the line on the back of my neck and stopping as close to that as I can. My wife will generally point out if I’ve done something disastrous, as she is likely to be seen with me in public. So I must not be too far off too often.

I use a hand mirror. I have gotten pretty good at it as I have always cut my own hair but I still get it a little higher on the right side than the left. I use a 1-2-3-4 and hold them on slight angle to blend between them.

For a few years before I started dating my wife, I took care of my own neck using mirrors to see what was happening. Ever since then my wife has taken care of my neck.

The haircut at the back of my neck is like the holes in my underwear - by the time they see it, they have already formed their opinion of me. So I just give it my best shot, and don’t worry about it unless my wife says “you missed a whole big spot there” .

Then every few months I splurge and spend $15 at Great Clips.

I could never be described as a slave to fashion.


Turn a baseball cap around and use the bill as a template. You still need to use a mirror to position the bill for each segment.

There’s also these on Amazon.

Mirror and lots of odd angles. Then my wife sees the end result and fixes it. :smack:

Rinse and repeat every three weeks.

Much to my shame, I gave up on that clean line years ago and just basically go GI on what hair I have. The top/middle is pretty much bald so it looks pretty good that way.

A hand held mirror is a necessary tool. But really, all you need is a ton of practice. It took me ten years to get the knack of it.

I still have oopsies, though. I just rub a touch up stick on the mistake to cover it up.

OK, so I guess it’s a common problem and don’t feel like such an idiot.

Thanks for the link running coach. I’ve wondered if there was some kind of flexible straightedge you could wrap around your neck to help get a clean straight line.

And now, “true confessions” time. I used to have an old Norelco electric shaver that I would run over my neck every couple of days to try to keep my neck reasonably clean between haircuts. When that shaver finally died, it was a while before I found a suitable replacement, so my neck was getting kind of hairy between haircuts. During one self-haircut, it seemed like my little trimmer was having to do an awful lot of work, so I decided to run the clippers over the neck area again to try to cut the hair down a little shorter. Unfortunately, I had taken the guard off the clippers to clean it, and forgot to put it back on before starting up again. So I wound up with some horrible gouges in the hairline on the back of my neck before I realized what was happening. My wife tried to fix it, but ultimately I had to wait a couple weeks for it to grow out before I was back to normal.

<Nelson laugh>

I typically do a #2 all over during the cold months and a #1 all over during the hot months (mainly because I wear a moto and/or bicycle helmet nearly everyday and with a #1, you don’t get the sweaty “helmet hair” as bad). There have been a few times I’ve forgotten to put a guard on at all and I always start front and center. So, a few times I go “no guard” all over. Man I have an ugly head! :smack::smiley:

No hand mirror here. I use a “normal” #1 clipper guard for the sides, back, and top, then go over the back and sides with a “close” #1 guard, and then finally a beard trimmer with the guard flush against the blades for the final pass-over. That way there is a line of demarcation between the (very short) length on top and the (very very) short sides and back. And I don’t need a mirror to run that beard trimmer up and down and across the back enough times to be certain I haven’t missed any patches. One final run over with the clipper to smooth out the line of demarcation, and I’m good to go.

(I do leave the front rather longer–combination of like a 2 or 3 guard and scissors. And thinning shears for the front. It I don’t crop my hair close up top and use thinning shears on the front, my head ends up looking like a dandelion puffball).

I do the number four guard over the entire head, and trim the neck the best I can. If the old lady is around, I ask her to trim the back, but if she isn’t, I don’t worry about it. I don’t have anyone to impress.

It’s not something I’ve ever tried, but could a swim cap be used as a guide?

Hand mirror and patience. I do it in small steps, carefully double-checking that I’m getting the right placement and angle on the trimmer, and not being fooled by the mirror image.

I do it in good lighting; if your lighting is poor it may be an uphill battle. Get a new light or brighter bulb?

I shave my head (and have for decades). I don’t even use a hand-mirror, I just shave until I can’t feel any hair.

I don’t worry about a clean line at the bottom. By the time I am running a #1 blade over the back and sides the tapered natural hairline is fine with me. (The summer no attachment is even easier. :D) My challenge is tapering the sides into the longer top. At the back of the head that can be a bit difficult. I used to use the mirror more but now mostly do it be feel with mirror checks when I am near done.

Handheld mirror is key, but do it in front of another much larger wall mirror. Pretty easy to see when doing it that way. A single mirror means difficult angles, double mirror is easy.

Been cutting my own for a while (12+ years) now. I use a hand mirror in company with a vanity/medicine cabinet mirror. Cut your hair as normal, fade etc… then when it comes to the neck line practice with the clipper off to get a good idea with hand direction in the mirror. I also use a Schick Slim Twin razor to precisely round off the rest on the neck line. This only works if nearing the line your hair is 1/4 inch or less though. Comes out perfect every time.