7 Apr 2020

Thinking of a DIY haircut during lockdown? Here's some advice

3:26 pm on 7 April 2020

We're almost halfway through our four week lockdown, and as time goes on it's becoming increasingly difficult for some to resist the temptation of attempting a home haircut.

What should we know before hacking away at our own fringe? How can we avoid expensive mistakes while trying to touch up our regrowth?

We put these questions and more to expert hairstylists Mya and Mark Henare who own the Love Hair studio in Auckland's Newmarket.

What are your tips for people who might be considering cutting their own fringe?

MARK: You have to take a few things into account first. Do you have straight hair, or curly or wavy hair? If you have straight hair it's going to be a little bit easier for you. I recommend that you use the points of your scissors, the very tips of your scissors, use that to do the cutting or do some research on point cutting. That will help you out a lot. It will minimise the amount of mistakes you'll make.

If you have thicker hair, I don't recommend it. It's way too hard. There's way too many things that can go wrong. If I was going to give you any tips, just go longer. Go longer than what you think. Whatever you think you're gonna do, add maybe an inch and a half onto that. And then, live with the consequences.

MYA: Your hair is always likely to spring up. So if you're normally wearing your hair back or if you've never had a fringe before, cutting in a new fringe you've always got to allow an extra inch and a half just to allow for that bounce up. It's gonna happen. Especially if you have curly hair, you want to almost go 2.5 inches longer than you think, because of how it will sit on your face. You also don't want to pull all the way down on your fringe and then cut it, because all that will happen is it will spring up, and you're likely to have a real short fringe.

MARK: Go as natural as possible. Don't pull on it, it will spring back, guaranteed 100 percent of the time. Just leave it a bit longer, allow us some space to fix it. If it's an inch above your eyebrow, we can't do much about that.

MYA: Lots of people have a glass of wine, and they then think it's the best time to cut in their fringe. It isn't.

Most people are unlikely to have professional hairdressing scissors at home, I have paper scissors and nail scissors. Which would you recommend using?

MARK: I'd probably use the smaller blade there, they're more controllable. You're gonna get less movement when you close the scissor. Because the blade is so small, you're less likely to make big mistakes.

I'm sure there are people who have already gone ahead and cut themselves a crisis fringe or an isolation fringe. We've got another couple of weeks before the professionals can help them. What are your tips for people who have already gone ahead and cut themselves a fringe?

MYA: Worst case scenario, you can pin them back, bobby pins are your saviour. You could get an iron and curl them softly, so they have a little bit of a bend in it so it looks more like a side fringe instead of trying to be straight down.

If you've cut your fringe really short, you're just going to have to wear a hat or a beanie. In your Zoom meeting, it's totally fine, people won't question it. They will question the fringe. Hat or beanie is the easiest solution.

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One of my colleagues has already been asked to cut her partner's hair and she's freaking out a bit. What are your tips for people who have short hair and fades?

MARK: Go longer. Going longer is one of the best tips. If he wants a number one at the sides, if he wants a fade or anything, start off at a number three. That's a way more manageable thing to negotiate. Once you get into a number one or zero, you're in big trouble.

I'd firstly go find some YouTube clips about barbering, there's heaps of them. Some of the main basics is go for the short one first, whatever you're using if it's a number one or two, establish a line through their hair - however high they want it - then go over it with a comb that's longer. So if you start with a two, go with a three, blend those in. Generally there's a little handle on the side of them, you can just adjust that and that gives you in between a two and a three. And that will blend the line.

Without being there with you, those are the best tips I can give. Watch a video online and make sure all the length on top is pinned away nice and clean, because you don't want to cut into the top. Trust me. Generally for guys they just want the sides touched up, so start off with a smaller comb, then the longer one and blend the two together. There's heaps of videos you can watch about that, it's not too stressful. But don't go short.

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Someone else has asked, how do you get your partner's trust to give them a fade?

MARK: It depends how good his barber is. What relationship has he got with his barber or hairdresser? If they have a thing going, and that's the guy, that's the dude that cuts my hair, you ain't going to get that [trust].

People do have access to the supermarkets still, so there will be supermarket dyes available. What are your tips for what people should be attempting in terms of regrowth cover, cover for your greys or a full colour change?

MYA: Colour changes can often lead to colour corrections for us. So it's best that you don't do a big colour change. It can be really expensive to fix, once you're out of isolation. You might need to spend triple the amount to fix the colour that you had been wanting to achieve.

If you're wanting to do a colour touch-up, if you have quite grey roots, again you can use a hat or a beanie to get you through. There are root cover sprays that go from black to quite light blonde.

If you have light coloured hair, if you're blonde, we would say that you don't attempt anything. It's best that we do that because you could break a lot of your hair off. You could end up with quite a lot of patches, could be orange or yellow, or red.

MARK: If you're going to do it and want a good application, try using a paint brush. An artist paintbrush, just to touch it up, it's easier to handle. Don't load up your brush, just use a little amount of colour and dab it on slightly. Work slowly.

MYA: Make sure you're not going too light, or too dark if you are going to get root coverage, because that can end up looking worse off.

MARK: Those root cover sprays are legit, they'll hold you down and will get you through until when a hairdresser is able to get to you. You don't want to be making expensive mistakes.

I'm hearing a lot of great tips from you both, but what I'm hearing mostly is, just wait if you can.

MARK: That's the best advice, whether people listen is another thing. It's human nature, people get bored.