Whether your fringe is in desperate need of a trim (and you can’t get to the salon) or you have an unmistakably urge to experiment, it can be tempting to immediately reach for the scissors and start cutting your own hair. Before you do though, stop – pause and listen to what the experts have to say about the right way to give you fringe a restyle at home.
STEP ONE: BREATHE
Speaking of pausing, the celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin advocates doing just that before attempting anything permanent for your tresses, whether it’s a little trim or (if you are very brave) a new fringe.
First, consider why you are making the decision. Is it because your existing fringe is in desperate need of a cut? Have you been considering a change of style for a while? Or, are you simply bored, with a little bit of extra time on your hands?
If it’s the latter, know this. “We are all definitely suffering from cabin fever at the moment,” says Atkin. “So my advice is, enter with caution. Don’t do anything crazy or dramatic. Take little bits at a time and start with giving yourself little face-framing pieces. I don’t want anyone chopping all of their own hair off.”
STEP TWO: THE TOOLS YOU NEED
- • A rat-tail or fine-tooth comb for sectioning – this provides more control than the fingers
- • Sharp, clean scissors or cuticle nippers if you have them
- • Hair clips and ties
While stylists in your salon might also utilise thinning shears or a razor, these are not essential for an at-home cut and are probably best left to those who know exactly what they are doing. Step away from thinning shears especially if you have fine hair: “stick to blunt lines” says Atkin – and only use them to “nimble the ends” if you feel brave and want to take weight out of thicker textures.
STEP THREE: FOLLOW A VIDEO
Luckily, we still have contact with many of our favourite hairstylists over social media and it’s there you can find helpful videos that offer a visual guide to cutting your own fringe at-home.
For example, in the video below, Atkin demonstrates how to properly section your hair before trimming.
To do so, ensure your hair is clean and wet and use your normal parting as your starting point. Then, keeping the rest of your hair back behind your ears, comb forward, using a fine-tooth comb, a section starting less than an inch back from your hairline.
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“A good trick is to use your eyebrows as your guide,” says Atkin. “For the first section, as you divide the hair, the fringe section you create should be no thicker than the highest point of your brow. For a fuller fringe or layers, go back and take more hair, so the section ends level with the end of your brow.”
But, never go further than that. “That starts to get the side hair involved and your fringe will become too wide,” warns the Larry King hairstylist Rob Scott Ade, who also schooled his followers on how-to do a fringe trim on Instagram. He recommends tying the rest of your hair back off your face to keep it out of the way too.
STEP FOUR: THE COMBING ‘BOX’ TECHNIQUE
The next step is to comb your hair down in front of your face, which sounds simple enough, except don’t be tempted to brush it out at an angle away from your eyes.
“When you are combing the hair down, you want to imagine that you are working in a box that is from the corners of your section, straight down,” says Scott. “The minute you start moving hair outside of the box”, as you do if you flick it either side of your eyes, “you will make the outer edges of your fringe shorter, which is not good.”
STEP FIVE: CUT WITH CARE
Now, from the sectioned part, “take a small section (roughly an inch) of the hair in the middle”, advises the celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow ambassador James Johnson. “One inch is roughly the measurement from the top knuckle on your thumb to your thumb tip.”
“Trim this inch section with scissors using a point cut method –cutting the hair in small movements keeping the blade pointing up, as opposed to one blunt slice across.” This will then act as your guide for the rest of your fringe.
Also remember that, because you are cutting your hair wet, “when it dries, it is going to jump up a little bit,” warns Ross. That’s why it is always better to cut slightly less off than you think you want. You can always go back and cut more.
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STEP SIX: MATCH IT UP
“For a full fringe, match either side to the middle (the piece you just cut) so they’re even horizontally”, continues Johnson. “For a more graduated fringe, pull the sides out with your index fingers, rotate your fingers towards you and cut at an 180 angle (pointing towards your head). You should be left with a softer triangle, being shorter in the middle and elongating either side from the parting.” (Atkin’s video above should also help you).
If you already have a full fringe and want to trim it to ensure it doesn’t fall into your eyes, “you basically want to comb it onto the bridge of the nose and then use that as your guide and cut across along that line,” explains Scott. For longer fringes (and a more subtle face-framing finish), “comb it down until the end of the nose” and use that as your point of reference instead.
STEP SEVEN: CHECK IT’S EVEN
“Hold each side of your new fringe in your fingers at the root. Pull each side down simultaneously to check they’re the same,” says Johnson. “If one side finishes first, this means it is slightly shorter one side. If so, don’t panic. Visually trim the longer side more to match them up until symmetrical.”
A great tip to check symmetry is actually to close your eyes. “This will help you ensure both sides are even, as your eyesight can fool you,” Johnson reveals. “You’ll often see hairdressers check a haircut looking in another direction.”
STEP 8: DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR HAIRSTYLIST
While being able to trim your hair at-home certainly has its benefits, “no one will ever be able to replace the skill and training of hairstylists”, warns Atkin, so we’d recommend booking in for a professional cut whenever possible. But, if you follow the steps above you should at least be able to spare them having to fix your mistakes once lockdown is over.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.
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