How to Cut Men’s Hair Using Scissors

by Lauren Gilmore
[ Hair Stylist and Educator ]

Haven’t got the time to visit the salon?

Want to save money?

Stuck in another lockdown?

Don’t like clippers being used on your hair?

Is this you?

Men’s haircuts are definitely hard to do with no previous hair cutting experience, they take a great deal of skill and a lot of practice.

Although clipper cuts are among the most popular at the minute, the traditional scissor cut is still very much on trend.

Where clippers give a more tailored finish, scissors give a softer, natural result.

I would always recommend visiting a salon or barber for your haircuts especially for shorter hair, as any mistakes can easily be noticed.

You can follow the steps below to cut your hair at home using scissors

The first step is to decide how much hair you are taking off.

Are you taking off 2 inches or is it just a tidy up?

Are you taking off more at the back and sides?

Do you want the top longer?

Once you have discussed this, next you need to make sure you have the right tools to carry this out.

The tools you need:

  • Scissors

It is important that you have a sharp pair of scissors, don’t use the kitchen ones!

Having the correct pair of scissors will determine how successful your haircut is. They vary in price; professionals can spend anything from $100, but if you just want them as a temporary fix these scissors are great.

  • Thinning Scissors

You may also want some thinning scissors to remove any weight in the hair and to add texture.

Be careful when using thinning scissors that you don’t take too much weight out; as it can leave the hair looking very wispy.

  • Trimmers

You will need some trimmers to tidy up any  unwanted hair around the neckline and to neaten the sideburns.

You may also want a comb, water spray, and a gown or towel to protect the clothes getting covered in hair.

Now onto the technique for cutting men's hair with scissor

A key tip in cutting men’s hair is to split the head into 4 parts; the top, back, left side and right side.

    1. Start by washing the hair, the hair needs to be clean and damp before you start cutting. Any products need to be completely removed from the hair prior to cutting also.

      Keep a water spray close by in case the hair starts to dry up while you're cutting.

    2. Next give the hair a good comb through to make sure you remove any tangles.
    3. Start by deciding what length you want on top, then take a section through the middle and cut to the length you want it. See the diagram below
  1. Repeat this technique taking sections vertically across the head, following the line you just cut, until you run out of hair.
  2. To cut the back and sides, start by taking small vertical sections, starting at the middle of the neck and working your way round to the front of the face. Start by taking small amounts first and you can take more off if you need too.
  3. Once you have completed all the steps dry the hair and review it to make sure you haven’t missed any areas.
  4. With the trimmers you can tidy up any unwanted hair from the neckline and neaten up the sideburns. This should be done visually.


A great product for removing hair from the hair is the Redken Hair Cleansing Cream.

If you do struggle getting the back right and balanced, you can use clippers on a longer guard (#6-#8) to go over the hair.

If you find that the hair is sitting too heavy in some areas, you can go back through with thinning scissors.

The best way to use thinning scissors is to look visually at the hair, and find the areas that look heavier.

Simply put the scissors in at the root and close the blades one.

It is best to only remove a small amount, as you can take more off, but you can’t add it back on.

Once finished you can then apply the product and style as normal. One of my favourite styling products is Label.M Mesh Styling.

It has a fine-medium hold with a slight shine, it adds volume, and gives the hair texture.

To use:

  • Rub a small amount of product into the palms of your hands.
  • Press together to create web fibres.
  • Run through the hair.

If you don’t like the product on your hair, simply spray a small amount of hairspray over the hair to give hold.

A great hair spray is Bedhead Masterpiece Hairspray, it gives the hair great hold and shine for a more natural finish.

Remember practice, practice, practice! Cutting hair isn’t an easy task and you will make some mistakes along the way.

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