How to cut your own hair at home: a barber’s guide to a DIY fade

Barber Oliver Zaituni talks a client through a home-made fade step-by-step

How to cut your own hair at home

How to cut your own hair at home
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We may be living under lockdown to help contain the spread of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean that life has ground to a halt entirely. In fact, as we all slowly adjust to this new normal, everyday issues are beginning to creep back into prominence, such as having a good work/life balance, making sure the dog is walked and needing a haircut.

While we cannot help with the first two, we can assist with the thing we have always been told to never, ever attempt at home: cutting your own hair.

Typically, this is a fast track to disaster, followed by a rapid trip to the nearest barber shop to rectify. But, as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

With so many of us now on the wrong side of hirsute, we asked Oliver Zaituni, a freelance barber with 18 years of experience, for his expert advice. To test his teaching skills, we asked him to talk Troy  – a chef and regular client – through a homemade fade using nothing more than Troy's clippers and the conference call app, Zoom.

“As a barber, I cannot recommend cutting your own hair, but these are exceptional times,” Zaituni says. "We are all in this strange situation, and I am getting so many calls from clients asking how they can tidy up their haircuts. I want to help them."

Here is what Zaituni suggests for home-grown hairdressers.

Don't use scissors

"It is too easy to get hurt, especially when cutting the back, unless you have someone who can help you. If you do, they can use their fingers like a comb to pull the hair straight, and cut using the top edge of the fingers as a guide. Go slowly, and carefully, but this way you can cut up to three centimetres off your hair.”

Use clippers where possible

“This is the best and easiest way to cut your own hair, as they are so adjustable. Wet the hair, then clip the area you do not want to cut – probably the top – out of the way.

“Set the blade to something medium, like five or six, and gently start cutting the sides, starting at the bottom. Keep the razor pressed to the skin, and when you get to the top, curve it away from your head in a smooth motion. Do small areas at a time, and only move on when finished, using your other hand as a guide to feel for areas you may have missed.”

Don't just leave it at that, either

“When you have done that, decrease the number of the blade by one, and do the same thing all over again. To help, you can put your hand against your head at the height you want your hair, and simply cut up to that point. It will stop you taking off too much by mistake.”

So what happens if you do take too much off by mistake?

“Then there is no option but to go with that length all over,” Zaituni laughs. “So don't make a mistake."

What if you have curly hair?

"Curly hair is the best hair to have at the moment as you can just let it grow and it will look better and better," he explains, brushing his own curls out of the way. "We are the lucky ones.

"When this is all over and we get back to normal life, I expect I am going to be very busy sorting out people’s hair disasters.”