Is a DIY hairdo a shortcut to disaster As more women skip the salon to save money, one brave volunteer tries cutting her own hair
22:55 GMT, 16 May 2012
From wonky fringes to bleeding ears and pudding bowl cuts, the legacy of childhood DIY haircuts used to be enough to put most women off trimming their own locks for life. Yet increasing numbers of us are now picking up the scissors and cutting our hair — and even celebrities are getting in on the act.
Pop star Beyonce recently revealed that she cuts her own hair — a revelation only marginally more startling than the news that, after a lifetime in glamorous heels, she has taken to wearing flats. ‘I recently cut two inches myself,’ she said. ‘I just parted it in the middle and chh-chh-chh!’
While Beyonce says that being a new mother has left her too busy to visit a hair salon, many cash-strapped women are giving up trips to the hairdresser to avoid hefty bills, which can be anything from 35 to 100 for a cut and blow-dry.
It's a snip: Alice, before, left, and after, right, her DIY haircut
Driven by a surge in demand because of the recession, celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford has devised a DIY haircut specifically for busy, cash-strapped mums. It’s super-quick, stylish and supposed to suit anyone with medium-to-long hair who just needs graduated layers.
While over the past 25 years I’ve had my hair bobbed, fringed, layered, razored and all the rest, I have never cut my own hair. I prefer to leave the job to the professionals, but as my hairstylist has moved to New York and I don’t always catch him on his flying visits back to the UK, my barnet is looking desperately frayed at the ends.
So, I decide to try cutting it myself. Lee, who cuts the hair of TV star Billie Piper and model Agyness Deyn, claims it is so simple anyone can do it and will leave you with a shaggy, rock-chick style.
Can it really be that easy
The equipment you need is simple: an elastic hair tie, a pair of scissors, and a spare half hour.
‘Kitchen scissors will do as well as hairdressing scissors,’ says Lee Stafford. ‘With practice, you can do this cut in five minutes but when you’re learning, you will want to take your time, so allow half an hour.’
STEP ONE: Get your hair nice and smooth
LEE SAYS: ‘Get your hair as smooth as you can before you start, especially if you have frizzy or wavy hair. Then, it will fall nicely once it is cut. There’s no need to wash your hair — this is a dry cut.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘My hair is dry, straight but a bit coarse. Under Lee’s direction, I spritz it with heat- protecting spray and blow-dry it using a big round brush until it is a bit smoother.’
TIME TAKEN: Five minutes
Step-by-step guide: Alice cut her hair under the expert eye of celeb hairdresser Lee Stafford who says it's so easy, anyone can do it
STEP TWO: A ponytail on your forehead
LEE SAYS: ‘Tip your head upside down, brush your hair forward, then gather it into a nice, tight secure ponytail that starts right on your hairline, in the centre of your forehead.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘I tie a ponytail as tightly as I can, but it is a couple of centimetres back from my hairline. Unsupervised, I wouldn’t have noticed this (I’m already a bag of nerves), but once Lee points it out, I try again, until I have a unicorn-style ponytail sprouting from the front of my head.’
TIME TAKEN: two minutes
STEP THREE: Measure your length
LEE SAYS: ‘Work out how long you want your first layer of hair to be. Are you going for a fringe that ends at your eyebrows Or layers that start at your chin Measure the distance from where your ponytail starts on your forehead, to this point.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘I’m anxious about taking my layers too short, so, using Lee’s comb as a ruler, I measure what seems a moderate length, to the middle of my nose.’
TIME TAKEN: Two minutes
Carefully does it: Alice puts her hair into a ponytail, measures, left, and then cuts and snips her ends with a pair of scissors
STEP FOUR: Hack it all off
LEE SAYS: ‘Pick up your ponytail and hold it firmly. Get your scissors and then shear it all off at the length you measured.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘I measure the nose-length distance along my ponytail, then take a deep breath, grasp the scissors and chop straight across the hair. It’s easier said than done, as the ponytail is thick.
‘As I hack away, memories of disastrous haircuts from the past flit unbidden through my mind. I’m left with a blunt-cut stump of a ponytail and what seems an awful lot of hair in my other hand.’
TIME TAKEN: One sickening minute
STEP FIVE: Chop into the ends
Step five: Pointing the scissors into the hair and snip to ensure there are no hard lines
LEE SAYS: ‘Change your grip on the scissors and, pointing the scissors directly into the hair, snip into the blunt end until it looks like your grandad’s shaving brush, all graduated and fluffy and with no hard lines.
‘Take care to lean forward as you do this, so you don’t jab the scissors towards your eyes, or get bits of chopped-off hair falling into your eye.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘Feeling slightly panicky, I chop wildly into the ponytail stump.
‘I’m not at all sure I’m doing it right, and I can’t really see what I’m doing until I realise I can hold the sawn-off end up to the mirror — duh.
‘I would have stopped snipping after a couple of minutes, but Lee says this is the most important part of the cut since it will affect how smoothly the layers lie, so I keep at it for five minutes until I can’t see any hard lines left.’
TIME TAKEN: Five minutes
STEP SIX: The big reveal
LEE SAYS: ‘Pull off the hair elastic and shake your head.’
ALICE SAYS: ‘When I look in the mirror, relief is not a big enough word for what I feel. The fringe has come up miles shorter than I expected and it’s more Suzi Quattro than Chrissie Hynde, but it’s fine. In fact, I rather like it. And I can’t wait to tell people I did it myself . . .’