How to Cut Your Hair (or at Least Keep It Presentable) at Home

Let’s get real, one of the very real downsides to not being able to see your barber for the foreseeable future is not knowing when you’ll be able to get your next haircut. These tips will keep you looking fresh on those conference calls until you’re back in their chair.

Trim Your Sideburns

Use a trimmer or razor to keep your sideburns and beard cleaned up. You’d be surprised how quickly shaggy ‘burns can make you look haggard. “You can trim these sides by yourself,” says Rita Hazan, of the eponymous (and currently closed) NYC salon. “Just shape them up a little bit to get you through. Don’t give yourself a makeover—that’s never a good idea.”

Ask Someone to Trim Your Neck

Once the hair on the back of your neck gets shaggy, it can take even a crisp haircut into wolfman territory. But don’t try to do it yourself (very few of us are dextrous enough with a mirror to shave the back of our own neck). “Now is the perfect time to train your significant other—or whoever you’re staying home with—to trim your neck hair,” says barber Kevin Baker of Sposito in Brooklyn, NY. “Watch some YouTube videos on how to use a trimmer and let them do it for you.” It may take some trial and error, but it’s not like you’re going anywhere.

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Experiment With New Products

As your hair gets longer, the products you use regularly might not work quite as well anymore. Take the opportunity to try new ones (maybe the ones you bought from your barber’s online shop). “You may want to change from a product like pomade to a lighter grooming cream,” says hairstylist Ryan Austin of IGK Salon in New York City. Grooming cream will keep frizz down but still allow longer hair to have a more natural look. Another hack, according to Tony DeAngelis, owner of Blue & Black in Brooklyn, NY, is beard oil. “Beard oil works great in hair; just a few drops keeps frizz down,” he says.

Train Your Hair as It Grows

The good news about hair growing while social distancing is that “you don’t have that weird awkward phase where it’s halfway grown out” and can look embarrassing, says Chris Applegate, owner of Shed Barber & Supply in Austin, TX. Well, you still have it, just no one can see it. But as hair grows out, you still have to train it into the shape you want. “Push your hair where you want it to go and use product to hold it there,” he says. It can help make longer hair seem less shaggy and also make things easier on your barber when you can see them again. “If you used to part your hair a certain way and then you stop paying attention to it, it’s going to be harder to get that look when you jump back to it in six or eight weeks.”

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Give Your Hair a Break

If experimenting with products isn’t your thing, you could do a hair detox instead. “Go all natural and take a break from styling,” says Baker. “Let your hair have its own little reset. As long as your neck is groomed and your sideburns aren’t too out of control, embrace letting your hair do its natural thing for a while.” Taking a few days to let your hair breathe could be exactly what it needs.

Don’t Get Lazy

You should still shampoo and condition your hair, though (we’re not endorsing a shower-free existence here). “I find it’s way more helpful to get up and get ready for my day [than not],” says Austin. Washing and conditioning your hair regularly helps it stay healthy and can help you feel better, too.

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Resist Box Color

If you’re bored and looking for a change, the answer is not dyeing your hair. “If you don’t have access to someone who can help you professionally, at home color or bleaching your hair is such a bad idea,” says Hazan. “Then you’ll be stuck at home with terrible hair color.” Wait until you can get back to a salon for professional advice. If you get your hair colored regularly and are concerned about roots or grey showing, use a temporary root concealer for a few weeks instead.

Don’t Forget Your Beard

Keeping your beard in check is way easier than trying a DIY haircut and can make just as much of a difference on how put-together you look. “Use a beard conditioner and a beard oil to make sure you’re taking care of it,” says Applegate. Then make sure you trim it regularly. “It’s going to be shaggier than normal, but as long as you keep it clean and trimmed, your barber can jump right back in as soon as you can get there.”

A Buzz May Not Be the Worst Thing

If you can’t take it anymore, while we won’t outright endorse going full G.I.Jane out of boredom, it may not be the worst thing. “You could just chop it all off,” says DeAngelis, since the upkeep is way less with a buzz cut. Just make sure you get some good clippers and get someone to help you trim the back. (For the record, DeAngelis has a DIY buzz how-to video on the Blue & Black Instagram). “I think we’re going to see a lot of guys walking around with buzzed heads soon,” he says.

Garrett Munce Garrett Munce writes about men’s style and grooming.