By Raimi, with moral support from Lee
An anon recently wrote in, “Hi Qwear, what are your thoughts on cutting your own hair?”
I’m so glad you asked. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had recently that went something along the lines of this:
Friend/acquaintance/random person I’m talking to who finds out I cut hair: I hate getting my hair cut!
Me: Why’s that?
F/A/RPITTWFOICH: They never listen to me! They either don’t believe I actually want what I’m describing, or they think they know better!
Me: That’s really shitty.
F/A/RPITTWFOICH: Especially when I want a queer haircut. Somehow I always end up with more hair than I asked for/less hair than I asked for/soccer mom hair.
So you can imagine why I started cutting my own hair in the first place.
Sure, there’s something to be said for the experience of getting your hair cut by someone else — it can be a relaxing leisure activity (especially if you go to one of those fancy salons that gives you coffee and a massage while you get your cut), and it’s certainly easier than trying to see the back of your own head or getting your bangs even without accidentally hacking them all off (most people tell me this is almost impossible).
BUT. If you have what we call around these parts queer hair or have any kind of style that seems out of the norm, getting your hair professionally cut might not be your favourite activity. Professional beauticians and barbers see dozens of people every day, so I understand why their immediate reaction might be “this person is describing a haircut I have never given before or that I would never want. Maybe I’m misunderstanding and they really mean something else.” And that’s how you end up with whatever today’s version of The Rachel is, when all you wanted was an asymmetrical mullet. And this applies to people with perfectly symmetrical, non-”queer looking” (whatever that means) hair, too.
Ok, long story short: I think cutting your own hair is awesome. It lets you take charge of how you look. No one has to interpret (or misinterpret!) what you want because you do it yourself. You can give yourself exactly what excites you! And bonus- it’s free! Why pay the salon $40+ bucks every month to get your ‘do done? Think of all the glitter you could buy with that extra dough!
Before I send you all out willy-nilly to hack away at your locks, here’s a few suggestions:
- Find a three-panel mirror, like the kind over many of your bathroom sinks. Having the three panels means you can tilt the two outer panels so you can better see all angles of your hair , including the back of your head.
- Enlist a friend to help you out! This gives you someone who can see the back of your head for you, and who can give you a second opinion if you’re not sure how something is working out. They can also hold a mirror behind you if you don’t have a three-panel mirror.
- Try to get better equipment than your run-of-the-mill kitchen scissors. There are some pretty good hair cutting kits (containing electric clippers, attachments, a pair of hair-cutting scissors/shears, and probably a few other tools) available online and in some large pharmacies that are pretty cheap. You can also look at beauty supply stores (Sally Beauty has been my go-to and has tons of locations).
- Honestly, the scissors that come in the kits I mentioned above don’t tend to be the best, so I do recommend getting a nice pair of shears. This FAQ list will tell you everything you need to know about hair-cutting scissors!
- Get a cape! Not only does this make you feel like some kind of hairdressing super hero/queero, but it prevents all the itching from stray hairs stuck all over you and in your clothes. Or do what I do- cut your hair naked in the bathroom and step right into the shower afterward.
- Watch some tutorials online. There are literally thousands of videos on youtube specifically about cutting your own hair.
- Look up hairstyles online (or look at your friend’s heads!). Having an image or images to look at can give you a great frame of reference for what you’re trying to achieve. Fuck Yeah Queer Cuts is a great place to start.