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6 tips I wish I knew before cutting my hair during the Covid-19 pandemic

Cutting your own hair is hard. Here’s what not to do.

With hair salons and barbershops closing around the United States to slow the spread of Covid-19, it’s not a reach to say this strange new reality will force many of us to take personal grooming into our own hands.

This led me to the decision to learn how to cut my own hair, and I’ll give the TL;DR up top: it didn’t go well. My haircut sucks out loud — and of course it does, seeing as how I have no idea how to cut hair.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Meet my hair

My hair is thick and curly and requires a haircut every three weeks. The kind of hair that feels like a Brillo pad if you run your hand through it. It doesn’t always look like it needs cutting on the outside, but trust me, as a person who has to wear it every day, it does.

The supplies I had on hand for this venture were limited at best. I wielded a hair brush, a hand mirror and a small buzzer I normally use on the facial hair I pretend to have. My goal was to cut the sides short, leave the top long and fade the difference like my barber usually does.

Here’s where I went wrong.

1. I cut my hair too short

I wanted to cut my hair as short as possible because it grows quickly and I didn’t want to keep having to buzz it. This was a grave mistake.

I went with my buzzer’s 1mm blade option, and within two seconds I knew I was gonna be Going Through It online for a bit. I basically have stubble on the sides of my noggin; it’s so short you can even see the weird lines I’ve got on my head.

It’s bad. It’s uneven. And there is no fix.

My roommate tried to help me blend the difference between the top of my head and the sides but it was hopeless. “You look like you’re wearing a toupee,” she said, recording it all for her Snapchat. “Matt, it looks like you’re wearing a hat.”

Tip: Whatever buzzer number you think you should use, go higher. The lower the number, the more hair gets cut.

2. You need to let someone else help with the back of your head

I tried to buzz my way through the pain by doing the same unspeakable damage to the back of my head as I did to the sides and it was a disaster. Turns out it’s really difficult to hold a hand mirror with one hand and cut your hair with the other, so I sorta just did it blind.

Again, I discourage this.

My answer to this was to run the buzzer back and forth until I was left a head of uneven stubble.

My roommate offered to help, but I wanted to do this myself and live with my mistakes. I was adamant about this.

Until she showed me what the back of my head looked like.

I handed her the buzzer, but at that point it was too late.

Tip: Let your roommate/spouse/whomever help you with the back of your head. If you don’t have someone quarantining with you, I’m so sorry. But you’ll be OK. It’s just hair.

3. Let the hair on the top of your head stay long

This is probably the only part of my haircut I didn’t screw up.

Tip: Be extremely gentle with the top of your head.

4. Watch out for your ear

I didn’t think this would be a problem until I hit the 10-minute mark of my journey and swiped the inside of my ear with the buzzer. “We’ve got a bleeder,” I said to myself, having already buzzed my head to oblivion with nothing left to lose.

I was lucky. The ear-blood only persisted for a few minutes.


5. Don’t wear a sweater while cutting your own hair

This feels self-explanatory.

Tip: You’ll get roasted online if you do this.

6. Have fun

Your haircut is gonna suck ass. There’s just no way around it. I’ve given you my tips, you can watch every Chad and Brett show you how easy it is to cut their hair on YouTube. As long as you know you aren’t Chad or Brett. You’re probably like me, and that’s OK.

We live in scary times. Everything is frustrating, but cutting your hair shouldn’t be. Just do what you want. Only the people you live with have to see it. Zoom calls can be done without video. Hats can be worn. Just do it.

Tip: Buzz it off, homie. ‘Rona cuts. It’s the newest quarantine sport.

Please tweet all haircut pictures you wish to be included in this story to @mellentuck on Twitter.