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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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!
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?