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How to Cut Your Own Hair: A Barber’s Guide to a Buzz Cut

How to Cut Your Own Hair: A Barber’s Guide

A sharp haircut is one of the key factors that helps many guys feel their best. Depending on hair type and hairstyle, some men will get their hair cut as often as once a week. But when this isn’t possible, what can guys do? Danny Silvestri, a professional barber based in Winchester, gave us his advice on how guys should approach cutting their own hair at home.  

Danny recommends a buzz cut as a good low-maintenance home haircut; there are many variations to choose from, including crew cuts, flat tops and fades. If you’re new to home haircuts, Danny recommends starting with an induction buzz cut, which is a uniform grade all over, leaving a natural or tapered neckline. 

The buzz cut first emerged with the invention of hair clippers in the 19th century, getting its name from the sound of the clippers.  

When we spoke to Danny, he also discussed the importance of what he calls #barbertherapy – barbers aren’t just skilled at cutting hair, they’re amazing listeners too. Discover Danny’s tips for cutting your own hair, maintaining a buzz cut, and using your barber as a support to keep you feeling like the best version of yourself beyond the hair on your head. Here’s what he had to say: 

Your Home Haircut Toolkit

If you’re looking to give yourself a haircut, you’ll need:

Note: if you’re going to use scissors, make sure they’re hairdressing or barber scissors – no kitchen scissors or nail sets please!

When you’re using hair clippers for the first time, start with the highest numbered setting, as that will be the longest option. Then, work down through the lower numbers until you get to your preferred length.

It’s also a good idea to check in with your usual barber – send them a photo of the tools you’ve got, and they may be able to help you to find the right setting and provide you with some top tips.

Top Tips for Your Home Haircut

My number one piece of advice to anyone thinking about cutting their own hair would be not to worry or panic if it goes badly wrong.

Secondly, I’d recommend going as short as possible; a buzz cut is probably your best bet for an at-home haircut. The buzz cut is classically masculine but also low-maintenance and provides very little room for error.

If cutting your own hair at home isn’t for you, consider using styling products to tame longer locks for the short term. Styling products are a great way to try out different looks and to add extra weight to your hair to keep any flyaways at bay.

Should I Give Myself a Whole New Hairstyle?

Even a buzz cut can be quite challenging, especially if it’s totally different to your usual look.

Any other whole new hairstyle will require scissor work, so I’d recommend avoiding trying that yourself and waiting to visit a professional barber instead.

In the meantime, check out Pinterest and Instagram to find images of new hairstyles you fancy trying out; save the images in a folder on your phone and your barber will be grateful to have a strong visual to work from when you next visit them.

How Often Should I Cut My Own Hair?

How often you need to cut your hair really depends on your hairstyle. A buzz cut can grow out in 1-2 weeks, so you’ll have to cut your hair fairly regularly to keep yourself looking sharp.

In contrast, longer styles and those created with a scissor cut can last 4-6 weeks between cuts depending on your hair type.

Can I Cut My Hair Completely By Myself?

As getting a professional haircut is currently out of the question, I’d always recommended getting someone to assist where possible.

If you are cutting your own hair without assistance, the hardest part will be in the detail. For me, the persistent refining of detail in a haircut is the main focus of my work – it’s where I spend most of my time and get a chance to be really creative. If you’re giving yourself a haircut, you’ll have to accept that you’ll have to go without this level of finesse for the time being.

How to Give Yourself a Buzz Cut in 7 Easy Steps

Follow these seven steps to achieve the perfect buzz cut at home:

1. Prepare

Clear some space in your day to make sure your haircut isn’t rushed. Gather all of your equipment and lay everything out in front of you – this will save you wasting time later.

2. Find Your Length

Start by placing a longer guard on your hair clippers and begin trimming one side of your head, taking note of how much hair this is removing. If you want a shorter length, drop down to the smaller guard, keeping going until you find the length for your buzz cut that suits you best.

3. Try Every Direction

Once you’ve found your preferred hair trimmer length, use the clippers in every direction across your head, going with and against your natural hair growth.

When you feel as though you’ve removed all of the hair that you want to, it’s very handy if you have someone to check you haven’t missed any sections. Alternatively, try to angle two mirrors so you can see the back of your head.

If you need to do any touching up, take your time and be as thorough as you can.

4. Brush, Brush, Brush

Brushing allows you to get all of the trimmed hair off your head so you can see exactly what’s left. It’s a good idea to brush as you go – try not to worry about the mess you’re creating, it can be cleaned up when you’re properly finished!

5. Revisit Step 3

When you’ve removed excess hair with your brush or comb, go back over your head once more with the clippers. Keep working over and over your head until your buzz cut looks uniform and sharp.

6. It’s All in the Detail

Use a detailer or precision trimmer to make your haircut look extra sharp. Lots of guys skip this step when they’re cutting their own hair, but it can make a big difference to the final look.

The main areas to focus on are around your ears and your neckline. When it comes to shaping the neckline, I always opt for a tapered finish, as this grows out much better than a squared-off or boxy look, and it prevents you from taking your neckline too high. However, the perfect taper can take practice and you might need an extra helping hand.

Make sure you’ve shaved away any wispy bits of hair beneath your natural neckline before you finish.

7. Shower

Finally, take a good look at your new, super-clean, self-cut buzz cut and let yourself feel proud of your handiwork. Reward yourself with a nice long shower and wash your hair thoroughly.

If you feel as though you need any extra tips, don’t be afraid to reach out to your barber. I, along with many others, got into this career to help people, so I always have time for my clients if they need any advice.

Connect with Danny on Instagram, and keep your eyes peeled for his latest venture at and @farsideproject, launching soon. 

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Danny Silvestri

Danny Silvestri

Danny Silvestri

Danny is a professional barber, based in Winchester. He's passionate about helping people, which is why he got into cutting hair in the first place. He's also a firm believer in the power of #barbertherapy, and using your barber as someone to open up to, helping you to feel your best inside and out.