TEXAS – At-home haircuts are becoming a trend among people unable to access the barbershop or salon due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, but stylists across the country are warning these cuts may not be the greatest idea. If you can’t resist though and insist on a DIY haircut, Spectrum News got advice from two Austin stylists about what to do.

Geoffrey Britt is a stylist at Wheelhouse Salon and Dayna Gust is a stylist and the co-director of operations at Birds Barbershop. Both have over 10 years of experience cutting hair and both have very strong opinions when asked if people should be partaking in at-home haircuts.

“Absolutely NOT! If not moving with caution, a huge mess could happen,” said Britt in an instant message.

“Leave it to the professionals. While cutting your own hair gives that instant gratification and something to do when you're bored, you're creating a bigger project for your stylist to fix when you get to see them next,” said Gust in an email. “If you have to do it, don't be overly ambitious and a small snip here or there should be all to get you through this time.”

What tools do you need?

Both stylists say the first tool you need for an at-home hair cut is patience.

“You have the time on your hands, so go slow,” said Gust.

Other than that, Gust says a beard trimmer or small scissors will work. Britt also recommends thinning shears, a comb clipper, and a neck trimmer if you can get your hands on them.

“Preferably not kitchen scissors, but if that’s all you have, ‘Make it work!’ as Tim Gunn would say,” said Britt.

Advice for Men’s Haircuts

Gust says most men start feeling like they need a haircut when their hair starts toughing their ears.

“If you have a beard trimmer at home, use a close guard, fold the top of your ear down and gently follow the outline of the hair around your ear. Try to take off no more than a 1/4 inch,” she said. “Seriously, don't take it much further than that and attempt a DIY fade. If you have a family member to do the back, follow the same principles: trim around the perimeter of the hairline, taking off a 1/4 inch at a time and remove any stray neck hair.  

Britt recommends men in particular focus on keeping it simple and just going for a cleanup—trimming sideburns and the neck line.

“Pro tip: when cleaning the neck line, start low. Never cut above the densest part of the hair when working in the nape of the neck,” he said.

Advice for Women’s Haircuts

“If you HAVE to cut your bangs, try small vertical snips into the fringe. Do not make horizontal cuts, as they will end up uneven without a doubt,” said Gust.

If you feel you need a little more than just a bang trim, Britt has a few more tips but warns that most people are going to have a fifty-fifty chance of success.

He says, again, keep it simple. If you have longer hair take shears and do your best to not take away length.

“If you are feeling a lack of volume, let’s refresh those layers! Imagine creating a ‘top knot,’ except brush/comb all the hair forward, holding it straight up above forehead and begin to twist it in one direction about five times, and start to cut into those ends by ‘point cutting,’ then brush out, twist opposite direction and repeat. VIOLA! Refreshed layers!” he said.

If you have shorter hair, Britt says adding texture should be your focus.

Using thinning shears, he recommends focusing on areas that feel bulky— grab a section of hair, comb it smooth, and then do two to four snips at varying lengths.

What if you’re cutting someone in your household’s hair?

Gust says you using a mirror can help you have a second pair of eyes.

“We see things differently up close than at a distance, so it's a great way to double-check your work,” she said.

Britt recommends just going slow and steady to get the job done.

Alternatives to cutting your own hair

If you’re starting to rethink that cut, both Britt and Gust have a few alternate routes you could take.

Britt says people with longer hair could try curling their hair and pulling out some bobby pins to create a faux bob.

“Once curled, roll the ends up to your desired length and pin underneath with those bobby pins,” he said.

An option for the fellas: “Be your best Matthew McConaughey! Grab a light gel or styling paste and slick it back— quick and easy," Britt says. 

And the easiest option from Gust: “Just let your hair grow out and show off those shaggy locks for a good cause. Birds has launched a social campaign as a way to give back to the dedicated medical staff on the front lines of this crisis."

Some of the quotes in this story were edited for style and brevity.