Friday, February 25, 2011

Hair Raising

I've been looking for ways to save more money. (This started before our furnace died Wednesday night and we had to shell out $400 to get it fixed. *Lamaze breathing*) Sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. And to avoid paying $10 for the privilege of watching your son receive half a haircut before the barber gives up. So I bought hair clippers, and scissors, and thinning shears. (Both Eli and I always have to have our crazy-thick hair thinned.)

I really need you home hair cutters to talk me through this. I'm going to start with the boy, and then maybe move on to everyone else. What am I doing?! (Thanks to Swistle and Christina for helping already.)

Feel free to tell me that I can color my hair at home, too, as I've stopped getting highlights and now my hair is all grown out in its "hair-colored hair" glory.


  1. I always felt a little embarrassed about doing "box colors" (as my former stylist referred to them, her voice dripping with scorn) (my current stylist doesn't do this) (but that's not to imply that this is why I left my first stylist: we just moved away, that's all), but my cousin went from salon colorings to box colors in a time of financial distress, and she said she liked the box colors just as much.

    Boy haircuts are the easiest, I think. I use the clippers for the whole thing. I work from longest-clipper-guard to shortest. I use the longest on the top of the head (1/2 inch to an inch, depending on the child) (for example, Edward has lovely wavy hair, so I do his longer on top; William has the kind that stands straight up, so I do his shorter on top so it's fuzzy), and then I use the next-size-down clipper-guard to do the sides.

    It's tricky to figure out what's a "side," since the sides curve into the top. What I do is start at the hairline and then attempt to run the clippers straight up the side of the head, so that the clippers leave the head right around the time the head curves away.

    I use no clip-guard to do the sideburns and back of the neck. I aim the cippers DOWN for this, ever since Paul told me that's how his barber does it. This feels SCRAPEY and the child might yelp or jump. I put Eucerin cream on that skin afterward, to soothe it.

    You can also use one clipper-guard length all over the entire head (and then no clip-guard for the sideburns/neck). This is a nice way to do it the first time while you're still getting used to it. I use a shorter clip-guard for that---1/2 inch or less.

    If you feel nervous and don't mind spending one more haircut's worth of money, you can ask the stylist to give Eli a clippers cut and then watch the stylist like a hawk to see how he/she does it, and you can ask which clip-guards he/she is using.

    Girl haircuts are the ones where it's easier to even it up and even it up and even it up until all the hair is gone. So I start by thinking "If I start doing a little more and a little more, I will take a break---and maybe take her to a stylist to fix it."

    Elizabeth has all-one-length hair except for the bangs. So I take a piece of hair, pull it straight down between two fingers, hold my breath, and cut straight right above my fingers. (A book I read said it was better to do it BELOW the fingers. I prefer above, and also that way I have the hair pinched and can throw it away.)

    Then I take the next piece of hair, and this is the key: I include part of the section I just cut. I pull straight down, and as soon as the already-cut hair is springing free, I know to cut the new piece. I do this all the way around the head, not worrying yet about getting it exactly even.

    Then, I go around the head again, picking up random pieces and snipping to even them up. This time I cut BELOW my fingers, because it's detailed trimming rather than bulk-removal. I also noticed that when my stylist is cutting my hair, at this point she pulls the hair straight and then flips the ends up and trims them THAT way, so I do that too. I think it makes it so the outer layer of hair is slightly longer than the inner layers, so you don't notice unevenness as much.

  2. You know what the problem is with REALLY LONG comments? They make the task seem HARDER and MORE COMPLICATED than it actually IS.

  3. Wait, no, flipping it up would make the inner layers longer, wouldn't it? Well, I am confused now, but WHATEVER the effect, that's what I do and it seems to work.

    Also, I forgot to mention that with girl hair, I often do little snips here and there over the next few days as each washing and/or combing rearranges it in a way that shows me a spot I didn't quite get.

  4. I have been cutting everyone's hair but my own for...3 years?

    With my husband, I use clippers for nearly the entire thing. He has curly hair I tend to do an inch on top and half an inch on the sides and back.

    Jelly Bean has a bowl cut so his hair is really long on top and I use clippers to do the undercut. I actually put half of his hair up in a pony tail and cut the other half, then take down the top to match it.

    Brother has long hair on top, too and won't let me use the clippers on him. So I use just the scissors on him. This is an acquired skill. I did the clippers for years before I was ready to try to cut like the big girls.

    You know what I found helpful? Youtube videos. And the promise that if I screwed up royally, we would go to the stylist to fix it. This has never happened. I have saved so much money with those scissors and clipper set.

  5. Oh! And I don't color my hair because I can't stand the upkeep and expense. So no advice on that one.

    Used to color my hair. For mortal years I believed I was a blond.

    I'm not a blond. Doh.

  6. This is great! So encouraging.

    I may not color my hair at all, but I want to know my options. Oh, and! I'm growing out my bangs. I'm going full out natural over here!

  7. Oh, I am reading all of these comments with such awe! Hub and I talked just last night about investing in a pair of clippers, because his and Bud's hair grows so fast. It's like one day it is perfectly fine and the next day out of nowhere, complete chaos. And I hate spending money to get it done every 4 I just don't, and they lok ragged for a while.

    I go to the cheapy place to get my own hair and the girls' hair cut maybe once every 6 months. None of us have bangs because I cannot deal with them. And I color my own hair. I'd go natural but it is so stinking grey now that I feel like I have no choice.

  8. Ahh our furnice was giving us problems last week not starting. I think I walked around nausaus for two days straight. That, and this "wedding budget" spreadsheet, will give me a heart attack. I'm not good at spending money, esp. money we don't have.

    When I was a teenager I used to buzz my brother's hair and now I buzz J's. I've even given J a "normal" haircut. What I do for the boys (men? questionable) is have them sit still. I'd suggest having Eli sit on the toilet and look at something or maybe play a Gameboy (or the equivalent latest fad) so he's focused. The cool thing about them is that they don't have to have that steely look-straight-ahead pose that women do.

    The clippers you got are awesome b/c they have the guard so it's pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to mess up. Watch some Youtube videos over and over and over until you feel comfortable w/ the process and it seems natural to copy it.

    For the girls, my mom always had me sit in the middle of the kitchen on a stool. This way I was up higher and there was tons of natural light and room for her to walk 360° around me, versus a cramped bathroom. I would wet my hair in the sink/tub first and then she'd comb it out and get started just like the hairdresser. Again, pick a style you want and youtube it. And I would suggest the first snips err on the cautious side. I find (even w/ professional hairdressers) that w/ girl cuts you usually ALWAYS end up w/ more cut off than you intended. So, start slow, even if you think you will want to cut off more later. Chances are through fixes here and there you WILL get to the desired shortness.

    And I have no issue w/ box colors. Although I've never done the permanent ones, I like the semi-permanent ones so I don't have to deal w/ roots and touch-ups. I always get compliments on my hair when I dye w/ a box color. Plus, if you have horrible roots or some funky patch of grey or something (not saying you do.. just .. IF) then a box color, even if noticeably worse than a stylist color, is STILL better than that!

  9. This adorably softspoken British girl CHANGED MY LIFE as far as cutting my hair at home is concerned! I've been layering my hair like this ever since and it's just- why did I ever bother with hairdressers? Anyway, these layers thin your hair out pretty well- I have ridicu-thick hair, also, and it did wonders for taking a lot of weight off. =)

    (Don't mean to spook you, I came across your blog by way of a post you left on Angry Chicken's blog!)

  10. I long for the day when mothers get back to using clippers on their son's hair. The rediculous Beiber and Efron haircuts are not only silly for young boys (constantly preening their bangs to the side), they cost a lot to maintain. We bought a $30 Wahl clipper 15 year ago for my husband, he clips his own hair and do the little guy. At first I was sad to buzz the baby's wispy curls, but now I'm glad. He looks like a boy now!

  11. I've cut my husband's hair since we've been married. He keeps it short, so I've just always used clippers. Simple. Zachariah likes his hair a bit longer. I try, but it never turns out great. In the last year I've taken him to a cheap hair place to have it done. The first time it was fantastic, just what we'd wanted. The second time was OK, and when I got him home I realized how bad it was. I fixed it myself, and I've cut his hair myself since then. I figured it wouldn't look as bad as that even if I did it. I've been right so far. Good luck!