A Barber’s Tips for Cutting Short Hair During Quarantine


The tools you need and techniques to keep in mind

Looking to tame short hair that’s grown out during the pandemic? Or trying to help out a friend, partner or family member with their messy mane? You’re in luck: Since many barber shops and hair stylists closed right now, our Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!) turned to Oswald Wiggan — a Master Barber at the Art of Shaving affectionately known as Ozzie. He shared some tips on how to give yourself, or someone you’re isolating with, the best quarantine cut out there.

Wake-Up Call: The majority of us are unable to visit barbers or hair stylists at this time (unless we live with one, of course!). So the reality facing many people with short hair: A huge need for a haircut. What are some tools we need to properly cut our hair?

Oswald Wiggan: I recommend a clipper, like the Braun BT7020 for the sides for fading and blending. You can also use a clipper up top, depending on your style. If you want to do shears, you can order a shear or use something like a sewing shear at home. Regular scissors can be an option, but chances are they are not sharp enough to create a clean cut. You can also use a scissor-over-comb technique so you don’t risk snipping your fingers. For the neck line you can use a clipper or a cartridge razor to complete the line.

Now, for actually cutting, trimming, or cleaning up our hair… help! What are some easy tips you could give someone doing this alone at home?

First, I would make sure you are comfortable. Get all your tools together, and your mirror set-up. That is really important. Make sure you can easily see all angles of your head. A hand held mirror here can help. If you decide to use a clipper, then always start with the highest clip so you can work your way down to your desired length and avoid mistakes. Keep in mind that you are just trying to maintain your appearance. If you haven’t done this before, now is not a great time to try a brand new look on yourself. I would suggest focusing on the back of the neck, sideburns and facial hair. Another tip a lot of people don’t consider is cutting wet hair. I would actually suggest cutting your hair when it’s dry because you’ll have a better sense of true length. Wet hair will dry shorter and you might cut too much length.

And for those with someone in their house who can help them… what advice do you have for that person when grooming this short hair?

Many of the same rules apply. First things first, take your time and have patience. It’s a process. If you have someone else using clippers on you, make sure they start with the highest setting. Some people may not realize that the largest clip cuts the least amount of hair length. Depending on the person’s hair type and style, you might want to even start with shears first. For example, guys with longer length at the top (4 inches+), you can have a partner use the simple scissor over comb technique to trim that section.

If someone makes a mistake when cutting their hair (a non-serious one, but perhaps it looks messy), how could they fix this? Or should they just wait until they’re able to see a barber again?

Of all the times you can get away with a small mistake, now is the best time because you’re home! Most things are fixable — even an accidental bald spot will grow back. My best advice is to style to cover. If you have longer length, you can use products to style the problem away. And if you happen to take off too much, then just go with it; try a length or two lower than what you’re used to. It probably doesn’t look as bad as you think!

What other tips do you have for grooming at home?

Now we have time, so enjoy the entire grooming experience. There are some great Art of Shaving products, like our four step process for an enjoyable shave…Throw on a facial mask after a shave or shower to help revitalize your skin (The Art of Shaving has a great rose clay mask for tightening pores, and extracting dirt.) Overall, just slow down and pamper yourself.

This originally appeared on Medium.com