Like many of us, the first time you ever gave thought to how to cut men's hair was probably due to the pandemic. However, even now that salons are back open and people are back out in the world, we've still found that there's high interest in how to trim men's hair at home. For most of us, our experience in the haircutting department is fairly limited — aside from giving our ends a little trim or that one time we snipped our own bangs, that is. Men's hair — and those electric trimmers barbers tend to use — is a whole new territory. That's why a how-to for cutting men's hair was so highly requested from celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton — and he delivered.
Appleton, who's the celebrity hairstylist behind stars like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Dua Lipa, shared a video on Instagram detailing the process from start to finish in under five minutes, making it look far easier than you might expect to cut men's hair. Once you have all of your tools (more on that later), you can get the job done in just seven simple steps. Ahead, we broke down Appleton's tutorial so you can follow along during your own DIY men's haircut session.
Step 1: Gather Your Haircutting Tools
To cut men's hair, all you'll need are clippers, scissors, a comb, and sectioning clips. For clippers, Amazon has a variety of options at every price point, including the Philips Norelco Multigroomer All-in-One Trimmer Series 3000 ($18, originally $20), Wahl Clipper Rechargeable Cord/Cordless Haircutting & Trimming Kit ($41), and the Surker Men's Hair Clippers Cord Cordless Hair Trimmer Professional Haircut Kit ($40, originally $46).
Step 2: Section the Hair
Start by sectioning the hair with the clips to mark the difference between the longest areas (the top of the head) and the shorter areas (the sides of the head). Appleton sectioned from the temple to the back of the head. You can get clips, like the Bantoye Duck Bill Clips ($7), online or at any beauty retailer.
Step 3: Select Your Clipper Length
With the clippers, use an attachment that's slightly longer than you would normally go for. This will allow room for some mistakes without botching the entire haircut. In the demo, Appleton said he usually uses a 3 but opted for a 4. You can always cut more hair off, but you can't put hair back.
Step 4: Buzz the Sides
Always start at the front of the head and work your way back. In front of the ear at the temple, lay the clippers flush against the head and move in an upward motion. When you reach the end of the path you're cutting, flick the wrist up. Continue doing that until you reach the back of the head. Then, switch to the other side and meet in the middle.
Step 5: Create the Fade
To fade the sides and back of the head, use a slightly shorter attachment than you used in step two. Follow the same cutting process from the front of the head, except this time, only trim about halfway up on the sectioned hair. Remember the flick — this will blend everything together.
Step 6: Blend at the Top of the Head
Once you've finished the sides of the head, the next step to finish your men's haircut is to take out the sectioning clips, grab the scissors, and wet the hair at the top of the head slightly. You can easily do this with a spray bottle. To blend the longer hair in with the fade, Appleton said to imagine a half-circle shape on the top of the head. You want to trim the hair shorter on the sides of the imaginary "circle" using the comb and scissors.
Step 7: Trim the Very Top
At the top of the head, cut to the desired length with a point cut — remember this is where you want to keep most of your length. A point cut is when you hold the scissors perpendicular to the hair to add texture and keep the ends more natural. If you just want to trim men's hair, you can skip straight to this step and use scissors over the entire head rather than using clippers.
Step 8: Cut the Front
Finally, trim the front piece of hair with a point cut by pulling it backward — this will keep a little length in the hair when you lay it flat again. Appleton's number one tip is to go a little bit longer when you cut hair at home so you can go back in and shorten it if needed.