Here’s how to cut a guy’s hair like an actual barber

He needs a haircut. You’ve got scissors. Now what?

As barber shops across the country remain closed, more guys by the day are hitting a breaking point with their hair. Early April showed an insane 166 percent jump in sales of hair clippers, according to Nielsen data, and now they’re largely out of stock both in stores and online. I know that because the second my boyfriend, Will, defeatedly agreed to let me cut his hair, I was already searching “clippers” on Amazon.

So, that brings us back to scissors. Not craft or kitchen scissors, of course — I snagged a respectable pair in the haircare section of CVS for less than $12. Now I just needed to figure out what, exactly, to do with them.

A quick YouTube search led me to Regal Gentleman, which has seen one of its videos go unexpectedly viral in recent weeks: Well over a million people around the world have watched London barber Dan Gregory demonstrate how to cut a man’s hair using just scissors and a comb.

“How many people are here because of the coronavirus closing barbershops and you’ve been tasked with cutting your friend’s or family’s hair,” reads the top comment, which has racked up more than 1,200 likes.

The video is pretty helpful, but what could be better than a 1-on-1 lesson? Regal Gentleman put me in touch with Dan himself, who agreed to guide me through the process via Zoom as I attempted to give Will a cut. No, not just a trim — Dan recommended taking off a significant length.

“The shorter you go, Jennifer, will probably be better for you in terms of mistakes,” Dan advised. “If it was longer, you’d notice the mistakes more.”

It sounded counterintuitive, but I trusted Dan because I’m instinctively deferential to British men, and also because he’s been doing Daniel Radcliffe’s hair for the past decade. If he’s good enough for an A-list star on the red carpet, he’s definitely good enough for me in my parents’ house in Pittsburgh.

Because Will’s hair is fine and straight, Dan first told me to dampen it with water. (If it were curly, he said, it would be better to cut dry.) He then showed me how to section the hair, parting it with a comb to clearly separate the top from the sides. Will normally gets a fade, so the sides are cropped short while the top stays much longer.

Most importantly, Dan showed me how to hold the scissors and use them alongside the comb to neatly cut around the whole head. It’s important to remember that you use your thumb — not your whole hand — to steadily open and close the blades. This keeps the scissors from going rogue and cutting uneven lines.

Dan also recommended that Will cover his ear with his hand when I cut anywhere near it. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but it put both of us more at ease throughout the entire process.

After the cut comes product. Dan usually uses Regal Gentleman’s matte clay, which he applies starting with the back of the head. He noted that if a guy tends to ruffle or scrunch his hair throughout the day, those actions should impact how the product goes in. In Will’s case, he often pushes his hair over to the right side, so I tried to balance the product accordingly.

Watch the video above if you’re ready for a crash course — or if you just love a great before-and-after comparison.

If you liked this article, you might want to learn how to maintain your highlights at home without messing up your hair.


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