A couple of months before the pandemic hit, my son–who had always sported a fairly neat haircut–suddenly decided he liked it longer. Well, he either liked it longer or he just really didn’t feel like sitting through a haircut. Regardless, I am now in isolation with a 9-year-old boy who has not had a haircut since December.
As his hair creeps closer and closer to his eyes every day, I have begun researching how to trim it on my own without making a bad situation worse. Although he has not yet relented that it’s time to set mum loose on his wild mane, I think we’re getting close. And you probably are, too. You might not want to make at-home trims a regular, ongoing thing (I certainly don’t). But a lot of us are going to have to get by with at least a little DIY snip-snip over the next few weeks or months.
If you like a step-by-step, graphical sort of guide, there are some good ones out there. This WikiHow guide to cutting a girl’s hair is particularly thorough and helpful. It covers the basic tools you’ll need (namely, a fine-toothed comb and a pair of sharp scissors), as well as instructions for how to do a basic trim, how to add layers and how to trim bangs. And this guide from Parents.com hits on most of those basics and dives into how to cut short hair and how to use clippers to cut hair to one length or to cut a fade.
I, however, need to see someone actually do it. And for that, one goes to YouTube. There are lots of videos on YouTube to choose from, depending on your child’s gender, age and hairstyle. If you dig in and watch a few, you’ll pick up a variety of tips and tricks.
For example, one little tip in this video seems worth repeating—for young kids, if you’re using a towel or cape of some kind to catch the hair, put it on backwards. This keeps their hands free (to be on a device while you work!) and makes them feel less constricted and more like a haircut superhero.
Another good tip, from this video on trimming a toddler boy’s hair: If you’re using clippers, go with the “grain” of the hair (the way the hair grows), the same way you would go with the grain of a wood when sanding or staining it.
The videos above are both good for short haircuts, but here’s the one I need in my life—a how-to for cutting the long, shaggy look:
If you’ve got a child with longer hair that isn’t yet falling into their eyes and you really don’t want to become an in-home stylist, you can probably wait out a trim until the pandemic has subsided. But if your daughter is sporting a cute bob you want to keep up with, this video provides easy-to-follow steps to achieve that straight trim look:
Or maybe you just need a little help with bangs! This mum gives us an easy two-ponytail method for trimmings bangs—with the bonus idea of sticking the toddler in the high chair with lots of snacks to keep her contained and occupied during the process:
One last tip I picked up from watching several demonstrations: It’s ideal for your child’s head to be near eye level while you cut, but if you don’t have a chair high enough and they’re too little for the counter to serve as a safe alternative, you can sit them on a sheet on the floor and kneel behind them to get a better angle.
And remember: These are not normal times. We’ve all got a lot of extra everything on our plates right now. If you totally mess it up, it’s just hair. It will grow back.