Male Dopers: Giving yourself a haircut?

I’m an avid follower of Glenn O’Brien, GQ’s Style Guy columnist, because I tend to agree with him a lot. I happen to wear my hair the same way he does - the good old Caesar or Roman Senator - and I’m getting frustrated with having to go back to the barber every week and a half or look shaggy because of how short it is.

Glenn, it seems, cuts his own hair. If I shelled out for a clipper with a guard, I’d be able to do my back and sides, but the task of doing the top seems daunting. Does anyone here cut his own hair? How do you do it, and would you advise this college senior to learn to do it over winter break?

I wouldn’t cut my own hair unless I was simply shaving my head. YMMV.

Shaved mine, but that’s all I’d do in the way of home hair care.

I’ll only cut my own hair if I’m going with a buzz (1/8" guard). If I want a “regular” cut then I’ll just go to the barber, pay the $9 not to have to take the time, and mess with several mirrors and clean up.

I’m curious, what is a “Roman cut”?

Still wear that old 90s “Skater Cut”. Can and will cut it by myself on occasion. Its reatively easy to cut by just feelling along the hairline and making sure your buzzer follows it. But I still get it cut at least twice monthly at some shop. My hair grows insanely fast.
I used to always do it when I was going thru college. Just have 2 big mirrors or a VERY TRUSTED friend to finish the back for you.

The Roman Senator/Caesar is the hairstyle George Clooney wore a few years ago… short on the back and sides, short on top, combed forward and worn as a fringe on the forehead.

I’ve been cutting my own hair for several years. I use a clipper on the sides and back, and scissors for the top and front, which I like a little longer than my clipper guards will permit.
Once you get good at it, it doesn’t take much longer than a typical shave-brush-and-floss session, although this will depend on your hairstyle.

I started out with trial-and-error, and my approach was simply to pick up some hair between my fingers and cut it shorter. You’ve probably seen your barber do this. The important thing is to be conservative… “measure twice, cut once” as the carpenters say.

Just watch yourself carefully in the mirror, and be sure to re-comb your hair often, to see what it would look like if you stopped there. If one area looks a little bushy, cut off some more. Wetting your hair makes it easier to handle, but gives a less-accurate picture of how it will look when dry. You get used to judging the difference.

With practice, your ability to judge where and how much to cut will improve, but it’s largely a matter of learning by doing.
(It was for me, anyway… a pro barber might have a more systematic training method.)

I can’t see the back, but that’s never been much of a problem. I can reach back there and feel it, and that’s always worked out just fine. The barber who used to cut my hair has complimented me on the quality of my results, so I think I’m doing pretty well.

Again, the important thing to remember is that this is more of an art than a science… you have to practice and learn from experience how to interpret what you’re seeing and how best to cut it.

If you’re a really busy guy, or naturally impatient, or can’t risk screwing up, then you probably shouldn’t try to learn this, but with practice, you’ll get to the point that you can confidently cut your hair the night before a job interview. I did, and I got the job!

Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend? Get them to cut it for you! Then when it turns out bad, you can mutter “My girlfriend/boyfriend MADE me do it!” and get sympathy from us guys.

Get a flowbee and cut your hair. Then report back to us with the results.

No 2 or No 3 all over. No problem at all.

I go to one of those trendy downtown places (in the “gay” part of downtown, actually, although I’m quite sure I’m straight) to get my hair cut, and spend around $20 a cut. I cut it a little less often than once a month, it’s within my budget, and the whole experience is calming and enjoyable since my hairdresser and I usually have interesting conversations while she cuts my hair. We’re both talky types, so it works out.

I wouldn’t trust myself to cut my own hair, although I remember trying once when I was little. Didn’t end up being too comical, as my mother stopped me before I got too far. If I were shaving it all off, I would do it myself or have a friend do it. Otherwise I would leave it to a trained professional (which could be a friend, if I ended up having any barber friends). I remember one of my friends let his brother (who was stoned at the time) cut his hair, just for kicks, and it was pretty hilarious. The guy ended up with a hideous curving hairline, but it gave him something to talk about for a while.

What Vlad Dracul said. Clippers on the side and back, finger depth on the top.

(See Vlad, what took you many took me one. :D)

I’ve been cutting my own hair for about 18 years now, since I was in college. It’s quite easy and always looks fine.
I used to use scissors alone and would get it slightly wet and then hack at it in the mirror. Sometimes my girlfriend and later wife would help clean things up in back. Back then, I wore it about 2" long all over, so I would just pull up sections of hair between my fingers and then cut whatever seemed to project beyond my fingers, imitating the technique I’ve seen barbers use. Incrementally work your way around your head, pulling up slightly overlapping sections and then cutting to meet the length of the ones you’ve just cut. It worked great.

Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve starting using a pair of electric clippers. These are even easier because you can be sure that you’re getting the same length everywhere. As my hair has thinned a bit on top, I’ve tended toward cutting it a bit shorter than I used to do. Now I generally use between 3/4" and 1" settings. Takes me about 10 minutes in front of the mirror, then I try to remember to shave back of my neck next time I take a shower.

I think I paid for a haircut one time since then, right before my brother’s wedding. It looked bad.

Caution: I have fairly curly hair, which seems to be ideal for cutting, in that it hides mistakes very well. Absolutely straight hair might be harder to turn out properly.

In summary:
It’s easy
It’s kind of fun
looks good
It’s quick
Think of all the money you’ll save
And, finally, if you do screw it up, well, it will grow back.

HeadBlade, every other day. Smooooth.

Oh you poor bastards.

Every two weeks I go to my barber, Mister Charles. He gives me a fantastic haircut ($11) and the best shave ever ($7). I can even get my boots shined ($5) while I’m getting my haircut/shave.

For $22 plus tip ($30) I’m a happening honcho.

One stop down the street is the local cigar store. Catty-corner with the barbershop is a hotel with an Expresso bar.

If I’m feeling particularly hedonistic, I can have a haircut, a wonderful shave, my boots shined, a $5 cigar AND an Expresso. All for under $50.

Can life get much better than that?

  • PW

Huh, sounds like Palewriter has somehow perfected time travel. When you get back to 1935, tell everyone that that Hitler is not a nice man! :wink:

Woohoo! Godwined!

Must own! Thanks caveman!