Believe it or not, it is possible to do your own cute, professional-looking layered haircut at home. The obvious benefit is the money it saves from an expensive visit to the salon. But it also buys more time between salon visits and keeps hair healthier (regular trims get rid of damaged hair and encourage healthy growth).

In five easy steps, this technique adds body and movement (thanks to the layers). This method is ideal for people who have long hair that is at least shoulder length.

One comment about caution: Start off with a small trim. You can always repeat this process to remove more length, but cutting off too much can’t be fixed at home. That requires a salon visit and defeats the purpose of this do-it-at-home haircut! Do this at your own discression: KCL is not responsible for any undesired results! Remember to start off with a small, conservative trim!

  1. Start with clean, dry hair. Brush it until it is very smooth. Make sure there are no snarls or knots.
  2. Bend at the waist and brush hair forward until you can gather it into a ponytail over your forehead (think about being a unicorn: Your ponytail should be where your horn would be).
  3. Keep brushing until hair is smooth over the scalp, then gather it into a ponytail and secure with an elastic band.
  4. Here’s the trickiest part: Slide the elastic band toward the end of the ponytail. It is easiest to do this while bending over. Hair will be cut at the elastic band, so to do a trim pull the elastic all the way to an inch or two from the end of the hair. Adjust the ponytail from there to reach desired length. Remember: It is better to trim a little at a time!
  5. Stand up, holding the elastic in place. Move carefully and avoid shifting hair and ponytail. Using sharp scissors, cut your hair just behind the ponytail (you’ll have a tiny ponytail in your hand after cutting at the elastic band).

This technique works well for straight or wavy hair. It’s even easier to cut someone else’s hair this way and is a great way to keep a little girl’s long hair trimmed without spending money at a salon. Warning: Don’t cut too close to the scalp or you’ll end up with a mullet (I know this from personal experience)!

I’ve used this technique many times with great results. The only exception? When, on a whim, I decided to do an ear-length haircut at home and then had to have a professional fix my mistakes!

This is a guest post by Shaunta from Reno, NV
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22 thoughts on “How to Do a Layered Haircut at Home”

  1. 0TcgKv says:

    323262 469630I surely did not realize that. Learnt something new nowadays! Thanks for that. 540029

  2. Molly says:

    I have medium length hair I have been wanting to go get it layered but not spend the money! Tried this today and I love the results!!!! It took me a few minutes… I showed my sister in law and she couldn’t believe the results! I didn’t use fancy scissors either! Just sharp ones! Pay no attention to the hairdressers that are hating this “money saving” tip! Try a little at a time and follow the directions! :)

  3. How did it go to Locks of Love? Their program is completely separate, and goes to women with cancer, not children. And, Pantene has the wigs made, and donates them directly to the American Cancer Society for distribution at cancer centers. I dont see how Locks of Love could, or would, be involved in this. Even when Pantene sends you a thankyou note (if you included your address to receive one) there is no mention of them working with Locks of Love, or details about where in the country your hair is used, etc.

  4. alemap1mom says:

    I did this in highschool 30 some years ago. Read it in a glamor mag. It turned out pretty good.

  5. sanya blender says:

    My mother was a beautician went to school and then never used it on anyone but the family. she taught me how to cut hair at 14 years old and I started to cut my friends hair my own and later my children s and husband’s. before we were married he use to go to super cuts and pay 20.00 to get it cut. Now I cut it for free. I also cut my own. I usually let it grow out then change the style every couple of years I just dyed and cut it about a month ago. it needs another dye and trim but I love it now. the pic I have up right now was when I was growing it out and was just trimming off the very ends. and my hair cutting scissors I got at Sally beauty supply and they only cost me about 20.00. One of my co workers is a professional hairdresser she is 73 and still does hair and she told me that you do not have to spend over 20.00 on hair cutting scissors as long as you keep then sharpened and very clean you will be fine. So if you have a cheaper pair of scissors you will have to sharpen them every time.

  6. Paula says:

    As a professional hairstylist, all I can say is AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! It’s ok, though. I have gotten most of my clientele by fixing mistakes. The least I can say is PLEASE use proper sharp hairdressing shears if you insist on doing this, not kitchen shears or sewing shears or cheap hairdressing shears. Expect to pay around $50 to $75 for a decent pair that you can use for around 10 trims. My personal shears have cost up to $500, but with proper care and professional sharpening, around $45 a pop, they will last me up to 10 years. I had one lady who couldn’t find anything but her husband’s mustache scissors. Guess who had to fix it?

  7. Brunette83 says:

    Will this work if you already have layers??

  8. Mimikatz says:

    I am all for saving $ but doing a service that one is NOT trained for is CRAZY… Do you actually think that’s it, that’s all there is to this haircut? What about the sides, this is a setup for many LICENSED Hairstylists to make $ from you ”do it yourselfers” that HACK your own hair, crazy. Wait, let me go repair my furnace now, I saw an article that should be enough training for the job???

  9. tizi says:

    I’ve been cutting my own hair for the past 6 years,,,my husband cuts his own ,too and we have been cutting our kids’hair…I cannot believe how much money we have been saved!

  10. this is where I draw the line. no way in h*l I am cutting my own hair.

  11. Mary Capps Jasso says:

    Im very lucky that my husband cut my hair and Dyes it too. He ever does our daughter hair. I had lot of poeple tell how good our come out. I think he should of been an beatyiern. Last time i went to a salon, I ask for layers and the lady didnt do it right. The other good thing was its was free. I will never go to a salon again. Sorry im a bad speller.

  12. Skyesmom13 says:

    I’ve had nothing but horrible experiences at hair salons I use to cut my own hair in high school I’m thinking its time to start cutting my own hair again thanks for posting KCL

  13. Please, please… if you are going to donate, stop sending to Locks of Love. They sell the hair, throw a lot of it away, and then the wigs are NOT free. Consider donating to Pantene’s program, Beautiful Lengths. It is the only one who works with and is recognized by the American Cancer Society, and provides wigs, free of charge, to women who have lost their hair during cancer.

    • jlgunn says:

      “The hair prostheses provided are custom-made
      from donated ponytails and would retail between
      $3,500 and $6,000. Locks of Love provides them
      for free or on a sliding scale, based on financial
      need.” – That’s right off of their website. I think it would be awesome if everyone battling cancer, living with alopecia, etc. received a free wig from them, since I can only imagine what that must be like, but it certainly must be an expensive process for the company. Locks of Love sends an entire molding kit to the recipient and the wig is made especially for them – that can’t be cheap! If a family IS able to fund the wig production, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask them to pay for it, as it will allow the company the ability to continue donating wigs free of charge to those who otherwise could not afford it. It sounds like they have a great system going overall, I wouldn’t be too upset over it! :)

      • A sliding scale is fine… if they weren’t already having to afford all the medical treatments, transportation, etc., hoping they have insurance. If they go on income, that’s definitely not the whole picture.
        I understand that it can’t be cheap… that’s where donations come in. Pantene at least provides the wigs for women with cancer for free, no proof of income necessary.

  14. I just tried this.
    I went to youtube and watched a “How to cut layers into long hair” video to make sure I understood the directions. I cut 18 inches off my VERY long hair. I did it in two passes, first 12 inches then I combed it out and decided I wanted to take more off and took another 6 inches.
    It looks fabulous, I couldn’t be happier.
    I might even go a bit shorter but I am going to wear this length for awhile to make sure.
    It took 20 minutes and I was taking my time. I will never go to a salon for a trim again.

    • august says:

      If your hair is still in the pony tail and healthy, you can donate it. That’s a lot of hair to throw away!

  15. august says:

    My husband had me cut his hair (the only other time I’ve cut hair, I was in diapers) the other day. It came out amazing. Watch Youtube and take your time. It took 4 hours, but it’s better than the $12 hair cut he was getting, and it was free. I’ll get better in time, too!

  16. araisis says:

    this does work well for longer hair if you just want to trim have a layered cut. my hair is super curly; but i wash and blowdry mine super straight and then do this, comes out perfect and looks great when i wear it curly or straight : )……….thanks KCL

  17. i just went in the bathroom and cut my hair following your instructions and it came out perfect. I have been cutting my own hair for the last 6 years. My last hair cut was for locks for love donation. THANK YOU!

  18. Taylor says:

    Its true I haven’t been to the salon in over two years! They have a lot of videos on youtube also if you want to watch someone else do it first.