How to cut your own fringe at home: Maria Dowling's five-step guide

With 30 years’ experience, the salon founder’s main piece of advice is don’t do it. But if you have to, she’s here to help...

A young blonde woman cuts her hair at home using a hand mirror. She sits on her bed with her pet cat sitting on her lap.
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When salon founder and creative director Maria Dowling was first approached about how people should go about cutting their own fringe at home, her answer was pretty straightforward. Don’t.

She has 30 years’ experience, and her own very popular, eponymous salon, in Dubai. This means she has witnessed every kind of DIY hair disaster, and maintains there is a very good reason why people seek out trained hairdressers to get a haircut.

Yet, with no clear end in sight for many in home isolation, Dowling is pragmatic enough to realise that some fringe wearers will be starting to be alarmed by the growing hairs now poking in their eyes, with any semblance of shape vanishing by the day. While a fringe may look straightforward, it is anything but, Dowling explains.

“Lots of factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to cutting your own fringe,” Dowling explains. “How wide, deep, heavy or light is your fringe? How much hair do you have around your temples?  Do you have any kinks in your hairline? All of these questions will impact the way it will be cut.”

Her first line of advice is to, if at all possible, try and ride this period out by wearing your hair in new styles so you don’t have to cut your own fringe. Perhaps clip it back, or even hide it all under a headscarf.

For those determined to give it a go, Dowling has some salient advice. “Before you begin, only trim your fringe if you already have one. The shape will already be mapped out for you by your hairdresser and there is less room for error.”

In other words, if you already have a fringe created by a professional, the best way is to try to create a slightly shorter version of what is already in place.

But under no circumstances should a fringe be ad-libbed if you don’t already have one. “Do not attempt to give yourself a new fringe during lockdown unless you are a professional,” she warns. “We are seeing so many social media videos of people who have done it horribly wrong and regret picking up those scissors”.

Still desperate to do this?

Then here are Dowling’s 5 steps to cutting a fringe at home.

If you already have a fringe created by a professional, try to create a slightly shorter version of what is already in place. Getty
If you already have a fringe created by a professional, try to create a slightly shorter version of what is already in place. Getty

Step 1

“Before you begin, wash and blow-dry your fringe into place. Make sure it is lying exactly how you like it, either super-straight, with volume, or slightly off-centre.”

Step 2 

“Separate the fringe and leave it out, clipping the rest of the hair back, including the sides, which you can leave longer.”

Step 3 

“Take the centre section between the middle and index fingers, slide your fingers down to the eyebrows and hold the fringe loosely in place.”

Step 4 

“With some small scissors, trim the hair in two to three snips. Cut less than you think you should, as the hair will bounce up automatically.”

Step 5

“Once you have the length right, turn the scissors vertically and nip into the ends of the hair, cutting tiny V-shapes into the fringe to soften the line and give texture.”

And there you have it: 30 years of hair-cutting experience condensed into five easy steps.

If the instructions sound confusing, then take that as a sign that home fringe maintenance is not for you and familiarise yourself with the trusty bobby pin.

For those still eager to give it a go – good luck.