Be Your Own Barber – Mow Your Hair and Save Money

I haven’t been to a barber shop for over eight years. Before that time, I went at least once a month, and spent an average of $20 including the tip. In the last eight years, I’ve saved approximately $2000, and that does not include the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on my car. The greatest fear that men have about cutting their own hair is screwing it up badly and looking, for a week or more, like they had … well … cut their own hair. But don’t worry. It’s easy to get a nice looking haircut if you have the proper tools.

For a little under $40, I purchased a hair cutting kit with an electric cutter, combs, scissors, and a set of cutting guides of different lengths. The kit also included a cape to keep falling hair from lodging between me and my shirt. I also bought a hand mirror and a good hair brush. Finally, and most importantly, I purchased a trim comb, an inexpensive plastic gadget, available at most drug stores, that holds three double-edged razor blades, and is perfect for trimming hair at the neckline. Once you have all your equipment, and are standing intrepidly in front of a sink and a large bathroom mirror, you are ready to mow your hair.

When mowing your lawn, the height of the cutting blade is preset to cut the grass evenly. When mowing your hair that preset height is determined by the depth of the cutting guide that you attach to the electric cutter. I use the 1-inch guide. Rest assured, you cannot cut you hair to less than one inch long when using the 1-inch cutter guide. It’s impossible. When you complete the mowing operation, your hairs, all being the same length, will fall against your head in nicely feathered layers.

Attach the cutting guide to the electric cutter, and turn on the cutter. Begin mowing anywhere by pressing the guide against your scalp and moving the cutter through your hair. After each pass, shake the cutter lightly over the sink to dislodge any hair. Move from front to back, again from back to front, and again from side to side. To ensure that your hair is cut evenly, pull small clusters of hair up away from the scalp directly in front of the oncoming cutter. Continue in this manner until all hair looks to be the same length. When the cutter is no longer cutting, the mowing operation is complete and you can move on to final trimming.

Once the mowing operation is completed, brush your hair neatly. To trim sideburns, remove the cutting guide from the electric cutter, turn on the cutter, position the blade perpendicular to your face and trim the sideburns to whatever length you choose.

Trimming around the ears is a personal design decision. I don’t do it. I simply comb my hair back over the ears, and it looks fine, sort of Kennedyesque. If, however, you choose to trim around the ears, use scissors. Move slowly, cutting a little at a time until you achieve the desired look.

Trimming the neckline at the back is the most challenging hair cutting task. You could do it with the electric cutter, but it takes a steady hand and the ability to move in the correct direction while looking at the back of your head in two mirrors with the cutter running. It could be a disaster. I don’t advise it. This is where the trim comb proves its worth. It can be easily aligned to ensure a nice trim line at the neck exactly where you want it.

Before you begin, ensure that the trim comb has fresh blades, or that the existing blades have been flipped to expose the unused edges. Align the comb, press it into the hair, and move it downward to cut the hairline evenly. Repeat this process until you have the neckline that you want, and you are done. You hair is cut in a style that I call a Caesar Cut without the curls.

I’ll admit that if I ever win a Nobel Prize, or if the President of the United States wants to present me with a Medal of Freedom, I’ll get my hair cut and styled professionally. Barring either of those two situations, however, I plan to save money and time by mowing my own. Once you’ve done it successfully, you will as well.


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