Are home haircuts ever a good idea?
With salon visits out, you might be tempted to go crazy with your hair. Hairstylists tell us what to do if the impulse hits—and how to groom your facial hair
There has been a long list of things to worry about during the lockdown. And frivolous though it may seem, one of these might happen to be your hair. The salons are shut and your hair or beard has probably reached a length that’s beginning to annoy you, so much so that you are tempted to take the scissors and DIY.
Is that a good idea?
Social media is full of practical and adventurous examples— from actor and musician Riz Ahmed’s all-shaved #Stayhome haircut and images of spouses cutting each other’s hair to Insta-bloggers making a case for cutting your own bangs or fringes in an impulsive all-in attempt.
Before you take that pair of scissors, trimmer or razor in your hands, however, keep in mind what hairstylists have to say.
First things first
Don’t cut your own hair unless you are used to doing it and have enough practice or you are not conscious of your look. Mumbai-based hairstylist-to-the-stars Aalim Hakim says no professional hairstylist would recommend that you cut your own hair. “If you try to cut your hair at any place where you can’t see the length, it can be a major disaster. And it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is the time to let your hair take a break before life resumes normally."
“The chances of doing something wrong are far more than those of doing something right. It’s all right if your hair isn’t cut right now but a bad haircut right now won’t repair itself in the next few days after the lockdown is over. Would you rather risk looking bad at home or bad outside?" asks Dharmesh Hingorani, co-owner and men’s grooming specialist at Mumbai’s Zido salon. “Guided videos for haircuts at home might look simple and easy but there are also those videos where haircuts have failed, and that’s a usual goof-up that has happened with people who were directly inspired by them," says Jay Kishan Pawar, master barber and trainer at Truefitt and Hill, Mumbai.
Avani Yashwin, founder of Mumbai-based salon Happy in the Head, suggests taking a chance only if you think you won’t be terribly unhappy even if things go wrong. “If you are not confident about carrying a style off, you need to ask yourself if you can pull it off? For instance, short bangs on a pixie-cut or an asymmetrical cut—where one side is shorter than the other—are common hairstyles for women which can be pulled off if you are okay being spontaneous."
Hair is longer when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s dry, and a lot depends on the kind of hair you have. Yashwin’s advice is to practise some restraint unless you are able to foresee the resulting length. “Hair is springy and it has a natural body. It’s not going to sit where you intend it to if you don’t take those factors into account. That’s where most people go wrong. Cut less because you can always cut more but can’t attach hair back." Otherwise, she recommends waiting it out.
If you still insist on a particular length for your hair, then a major difference between short hair and long hair is that the former is usually more sculpted and sharper. Ergo, the former requires a more detailed cut than the latter.
For longer hair, Hakim suggests avoiding styles such as layering and going for a uniform-length hairstyle to remove the dead ends at the bottom. Yashwin says, “If you have shoulder-length or longer hair than that and want to cut off a couple of inches at the bottom, it’s fine because it has already been cut to suit your face."
That doesn’t guarantee things won’t go wrong, for it all depends on how you are cutting it. “If you cut it in a ponytail or in a braid or are holding it, it comes down to how tightly pulled back or braided your hair is, how even it is or how tensely you hold it, etc. That will result in an even or jagged cut," Yashwin says.
When it comes to shorter hair, Hingorani and Pawar don’t recommend cutting it at home—it needs meticulousness. If you do want to, use Yashwin’s tip on cutting less, like keeping double the gap between your trimmer and hair than your stylist does.
All the stylists recommend experimenting with styling rather than cutting. It’s easier and it will help you know which look works for you.
In your face
Facial hair is a different matter. Unlike hair on the head, a stubble grows back within a week. Men take pride in grooming it. And this could be the right time to grow it out if you want to.
Hingorani, whose beard reaches his chest, says, “(For a long beard) if you can’t trim your beard using a trimmer, groom it using a beard oil and a beard brush/comb. If you don’t have the oil, use a couple of drops of coconut oil on the beard—not skin—and brush it out. You can snip off any unruly bits using a scissor."
Pawar says, “If you can and want to trim your beard with a trimmer, keep a greater distance on the trimmer guide comb than you usually would. But do it slowly, bit by bit, instead of long glides, if you haven’t done it before."
The moustache can annoyingly grow long enough to come in contact with what you eat or drink. Hingorani has a simple trick for this. “Finely comb your moustache down and then smile. Then, cut your moustache from the centre along either side while you are still smiling. This elongates the upper lip and gives the moustache a natural curve at either end."
Maintaining sideburns can be tricky, especially trimming them evenly on either side. Hingorani says: “It’s a problem with the way you look at yourself. Depending on if you are right-handed or left-handed, you impart your vision in favour of your dominant side. For the recessive side, you will need to turn more to look at it better, thus not being able to measure it equally."
To trim bushy sideburns, Hingorani’s method is to finely comb wet sideburns downwards and then sideways, towards the face. Then cut out the excess hair along the vertical hairline. “The riskier part is to then comb out the hair towards the ear and cut the excess hair on that side, being careful of the ear. I would recommend avoiding it if you can or asking someone else do it for you," he says.
While shaving has its standard routine of trimming, applying a foam/gel and then gliding the razor, Pawar recommends a couple of changes. “A pre-shave oil helps soften the beard, a shaving cream is better than foams or gels because they moisturize the skin, and use an after-shave balm after the after-shave cologne. If you don’t have these products, some coconut or almond oil can greatly emulsify and soften the hair follicles there," he says.
FIRST PUBLISHED10.04.2020 | 01:37 PM IST