Free Haircuts For All

Clippers and Guards

No, this isn’t the latest political campaign slogan.  Instead, it’s a DTG household slogan.  In fact, I haven’t paid for a haircut in over 12 years.  And no, I’m not bald!  I actually have a stylish hairstyle that I maintain myself.  Well, the “stylish” part may be debatable, but let me explain.

A consequence of joining ROTC in the fall of 2003 was complying with military grooming standards.  For the first few months, I continued seeing the same barber I had been going to for several years prior.  However, as my haircut frequency increased from once every 4-6 weeks to every other week, I knew I needed to make a change.

Spending $10-12 every two weeks was starting to add up so I decided to buy a pair of basic hair clippers for roughly the cost of two haircuts and give it a try.  How hard could it be?

We had clippers in the house growing up so I wasn’t completely new to this… or bad haircuts.  My first few attempts were a little choppy.  A couple other hack jobs were unsalvageable and resulted in a shaved head.

Over time though, I started getting really good at cutting my own hair.  I learned all the weird bumps on my head and how high I needed to go up with each guard to get a nice blend. I made fewer mistakes and even when I did, I could fix them without much trouble.

Now, cutting my own hair has become second nature.  I can’t even imagine going to a barber shop.  Since I bought my first pair of clippers, I would estimate that I’ve cut my own hair about 300 times, conservatively saving around $3,000 in the process.

Cutting Hair 1

Cutting Hair 2

Naturally, when my boys began needing haircuts, I cut theirs as well.  They each probably get about 10 haircuts a year and I would estimate that we’ve saved at least another $1,000 cutting their hair at home.  A few weeks ago, we were walking through a strip mall and passed by a barber shop.  The boys looked inside and asked what was going on in there.  We explained that some people don’t get their hair cut at home and instead go somewhere to get it cut.  Until that moment, I never realized that was a completely foreign idea to them!

A standard set of hair clippers generally comes with guards #1-8 (which leaves hair between 1/8″ – 1” long) as well as left and right ear tapered guards.  The #8 is a little on the short side, so if you’re thinking about cutting your own hair or prefer your hair to be slightly longer on the top, you can also purchase guards #10 and #12 on Amazon for about $5 each.  I did this last year and wish I would’ve bought them sooner.  These two guards add a ton of capability to your hair cutting arsenal without having to use scissors extensively.

Haircut After 1   Haircut After 2

Once you get good with clippers, any relatively short haircut becomes fairly simple.  Long female haircuts, well that’s a different story altogether.  So you can imagine my surprise when late last summer Mrs. DTG asked me to cut her hair, too!  I was like, “Are you serious?  You really want me to cut your hair?”  She was and she did.

V Before Haircut

Holy crap her hair was long!

I wasn’t sure if she was being brave or just plain cheap.  Either way, I needed to figure out how to do this.  She’d heard of the ponytail method so we decided to pull up some YouTube tutorials.  After watching several clips for about 20 minutes, we were ready to go!  After she got her hair pulled back, I cautiously grabbed about six inches on the end and asked again, “You really want to do this?”

Getting Ready for the Cut2

Anxious to get it over with, she exclaimed, “Just cut it already!”  With that, there was no going back and I cut off the end of her ponytail.

Making the Cut

Had I made the cut more vertical, there would’ve been less layers

The moment of truth…

My initial reaction, “Holy shit, that’s way more layered than I was expecting!”  But actually, it wasn’t too bad.  This taught me, however, to be extremely cognizant of the scissors’ angle during the initial cut.  Because of the way the hair is pulled over the front of the head using this method, the layers will become more exaggerated as you point the scissors toward the hand holding the end of the ponytail, as opposed to straight up.

Chunks of Hair

With her hair down, I evened up any stragglers in the back and angled the hair in front around her face.  After that, she styled it and it actually turned out pretty good.  She even requested I cut it again a few months later!

V Haircut After

This is just another example of a relatively easy way your family can save money.  With practice, anyone can become competent at basic haircuts using clippers and an assortment of guards.  Ladies, if you’re feeling adventurous, watch a few YouTube videos and give it a try.  You can do it yourself or have a friend or significant other help you.  What’s the worst that can happen, a trip to the hair stylist that you would’ve taken anyway?  On the plus side, you may learn a new skill that can save time and money for a lifetime.  I’d say that’s a good tradeoff.

Anyone else brave enough to cut their own hair?

21 thoughts on “Free Haircuts For All

  1. Encore Voyage says:

    Here’s your morning chuckle…My sister and I have an arrangement where we color each other’s hair. We call our setup the “Shut Up or You’ll Be Doin’ It Your Own Self” Salon! (You have to say that with sort of a down home southern drawl.) It is the phrase that gets repeated if either party complains about anything – and it’s usually accompanied by a whack with a rat-tailed comb!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. our next life says:

    This is on my list of things to do once we quit, but can’t quite bring myself there while I’m still working and clients might think, “I’m paying you HOW MUCH to look like THAT?!” Hahaha. I did cut my hair in high school a few times, but that was when having a choppy, uneven cut was kind of cool in a punk rock way. Or maybe I was fooling myself. But either way, all the hair pics here look great, so you’re clearly doing it right. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Claudia @ Two Cup House says:

    Mrs. DTG’s hair looks terrific! I love your description of your wife’s haircut, which I can relate to having long hair myself. 🙂 I tried to talk Garrett into cutting my hair, but he looked horrified by the idea. I will keep working on him, show him your post and what’s possible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      He should definitely do it!! It’s really not that hard, though I’ll admit it was slightly scary. For the first cut, have him do a little bit to see how it turns out. Make sure he’s careful with the angle of the scissors to control the severity of the layers. After the main cut, it should just be a few touch up snips.

      I was honestly surprised at how nice it turned out. Go for it!


      • Cheryl says:

        By all means, but don’t ask him to make any drastic changes by chopping off a lot of hair. Short hair requires a lot more styling products and tools to make it look somewhat presentable on a woman. Have him watch a few videos and then do a minimal trim. You may just find your husband does a better job at home as your stylist than the salon does. Here is a great video that details how to properly trim long hair to keep it looking great by a real pro, not a hacker.
        You might be so happy with the results, that you post pics.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mrs. DTG says:

      Thank you! Make him do it!! The worst that can happen is you go get it fixed or it’ll just grow back. Just do little bits at a time!


  4. Lisa says:

    Our son is 18 and has been to a hair salon maybe twice. He won’t let anyone else but me cut it. My husband soon followed. All courtesy of clippers we bought 17 years ago! Yes there have been a few bad haircuts, including needing to do a very short buzz cut, but not too many 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cheryl says:

    Good for you, I’m not very adept at the hair cutting but my husband is. He started cutting mine when we first started dating, and I trust no one else with shears near my hair but him. I managed to grow mine to my waist, and he does the full sectioning and trimming, no grab the ponytail and chop method. Layers leave my ends too scraggly for my braids to look neat. He does the haircuts on both of my children as well, a combination of the clippers with different attachments, scissors and a peanut razor for the neckline, sideburns etc. never a bad haircut. I cannot say the same about the salon and barbershop visits, some horrible haircuts. Some people have a natural talent for it, like you and my husband. My boys prefer his haircuts over what they got at the barbers. Can’t blame them, he is my favorite stylist as well.
    I figure between the cost of the haircuts, tip and transportation costs, we save over $1000 a year. My neighbor worked in a salon and has watched his work, she tells him he should get his license, he won’t though. Too big a pay cut, he makes over $100K a year.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Cheryl says:

        I actually look forward to my trims. He puts out a glass of wine for me, capes me, combs my hair for me, then sections it, pins up up then trims each successive layer as he lets it down. The combing is very relaxing, the comb feels like a massage on my back as he combs the full length. He never yanks my hair or jerks my head around like they did at the salon. I like him touching my hair and I get a braid before work, and a new one before bed. I am pampered. He colors my hair with henna and I get people stopping me to compliment the color and shine. One lady at church mentioned my husband must love my beautiful hair, I told her of course, he cuts, colors and braids it for me. She just smiled and said that is great.


  6. kalieb says:

    I learned to cut my husband’s hair with the clippers last year, and he cuts our son’s hair. Our girl hasn’t needed a haircut yet, and since my hair doesn’t look good in many styles (including all one length or long), I pay a cosmetologist friend $20 for a cut every 8 months or so. She is one of two stylists to ever give me a cut I like, so I’m not ready to leave her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      It’s awesome that you cut your husband’s and he cuts your son’s. I can definitely understand women wanting to see a stylist. We trimmed our daughter’s ends once and she’ll need another trim soon. I think we’re going to try it again.


  7. Cheryl says:

    Mrs DTG, you our husband doesn’t need to go far to try these, I see you have a head of head that would work great for your husband to learn to do braids on. Here is a great tutorial to teach your husband how to French braid your hair,
    Once he gets good, you will be spoiled getting them done for you. 😊
    Once he gets the hang of it, you can let him try the fishtail.

    Timeless classic looks for a long haired woman.


  8. Clearwing says:

    My husband has very curly hair and cuts his own. I couldn’t let him cut mine, because he has no idea what to do with straight hair and doesn’t know how to use a brush or comb. I go to a training school to save money on haircuts for me and sometimes revise the cut afterwards. Just watching the instructors coach the students has taught me a lot.


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