While many guys are opting for an at-home buzz cut, you still have a few other options if you’re not ready to commit to the style. One of the easiest ones to try right now at home: letting your hair grow out, and simply keeping it trim as it does. It’s possible that you could end up with a new style that you never realized you could pull off.
However, you can’t just let it grow without a bit of management; you need to clean up the edges with your trimmer or clipper, and strategically manicure it like a prized hedge in your front lawn. And the best news of all is that this is fairly easy to do.
How to Trim Your Own Haircut at Home
Believe it or not, you can make overgrown hair look much more tame and intentional by targeting a few specific spots: the sideburns, ears, and the back of the neck.
Gonzalez says that all you need are a basic pair of clippers that also include different guards. But a sturdy beard trimmer should tackle this job just fine. (However, if you ever opt for a full buzz, definitely use proper hair clippers.)
First, you’ll do the sideburns. “The goal is to trim that area down only slightly, so it’s about equal in length to the length of your eyebrows,” says Gonzalez. “Symmetrically speaking, people generally look better when their sideburns are about the same length (or shorter) than the hair directly beside it, which is why we note the eyebrow length.”
Next, put a clipper guard on the device. Start with a longer clip, if you want to create a “fade” or “taper,” with the trimmer, says Gonzalez. You can clip, say, on a 6, then decrease to a 5 or 4, and slowly trim more and more as you work your way down the sideburn so that it fades up into the longer, growing hair. Or, you can opt for a uniform length that matches your beard length to keep a clear distinction from the hair up top and the facial hair.
Either route you choose, buzz upwards against the grain of the hair so that it cuts uniformly. You aren’t cutting a lot here—just the inch or more of the sideburn. “If you have a beard, fade the sideburn into your beard so it connects naturally at around the middle of the ear area,” Gonzalez says. “If you’re clean shaven, you’ll want to cut your sideburn off at about the top of your earhole. Remember, the goal isn’t to keep your entire sideburns; it’s to clean them up.”
After the sideburns, take the guard off the trimmer, and clip carefully around the ear. You can clean up any excess that falls over the ear, and can even comb the hair down to snip anything that might fall over it throughout the day. “For the most part, hair around the ear can be swept back behind the ear, so don’t go too crazy with the clippers here,” Gonzalez warns.
Like the sideburns, you’re only tidying things up a little, not actually cutting much.
“You’ll be cleaning up the hairs that are disconnected from the bottom of your haircut,” Gonzalez says. “Using a handheld mirror (or your phone camera in selfie mode), hold the mirror in front of your face with your back to the bigger mirror (typically your bathroom mirror). Then locate the disconnected ‘straggler’ hairs. Buzz those off using your clippers without a guard. The most difficult part here for most will be managing the mirrors and the clippers at the same time. With practice, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.”
You can draw a straight line with the clippers (or rounded edges, if your hair naturally does that instead of squaring off at the base). Then, clean up the stray hairs that trail into the upper back and you’re set.
Try New Styling Products
As you embrace the growth up top, it might be time to try a new hair product, too. For a lighter hold and natural shine, stick with a styling cream to preserve some movement. For something more texturized, you can opt for a clay, which leaves a matte finish and has medium-to-high hold. Church California sells both a styling cream and a texturizing clay.
(If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could even attempt a work-from-home businessman’s haircut using Church Barber’s video tutorial. But there is some degree of difficulty there, involving scissors and steady hands.)
How to Support Your Local Barber Shop During Quarantine
Because of the pandemic, our trusted barbers and stylists need support—they’re out of work until businesses start to reopen.
“Most barber shops don’t qualify for money that Congress has approved for COVID relief as most shops don’t have employees,” says Gonzalez. (The barbers typically rent their chair from the barbershop owners, as has long been the tradition.) “Employee payroll is the main criteria to meet in order to qualify for the PPP loan, which is where the majority of relief for small business has gone thus far,” Gonzalez says.
Here are his tips on how to support your local barbershop and favorite barber: “Leave a positive Yelp or Google review, follow your barbershop and barber on social media, and consider shouting them out to your social network. Many shops have GoFundMe campaigns (or similar), which you can contribute directly to. Others, like Church California, have products for sale, which you can buy. We even have an amazing natural hand sanitizer in stock.”
Once shelter-in-place orders are lifted, though, your barbers and barbershops will still need your help, even once business normalizes. “We’re expecting that services will be limited—no shaves, no beard trims, and only services that can be administered with a face mask on,” Gonzalez says. “Services will often take twice as long to account for additional sanitizing needs before and after each cut. This means barbers will make less money and work twice as hard, all while taking a health risk in order to provide service and earn money. So once shops do open, you can really help out by expecting to pay a higher cost for services, and also tipping a little extra if you can.”
Or, if you can find your barber on social media, write to him or her and ask for their Venmo or PayPal account—drop them a digital tip if you can.
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