At-Home Pixie Cut Using Clippers
What started as a pandemic necessity has now become a thing I love. I started cutting my own pixie cut.
In March 2020, I was desperately in need of a haircut, but the whole world was shut down. Salons in my state wouldn’t open again for another four months. And some of them shut down for good.
It was time to take matters into my own hands. I reasoned that, even if cutting my own hair turned out to be a disaster, the pandemic lockdown had given me the grace (and social isolation) to handle a wonky cut.
It wasn’t my first foray into home hair care. I have been dyeing my hair with henna for years. And I feel confident with my hair routine overall.
So, I purchased secondhand clippers on Ebay, watched some YouTube videos, and got to work. And the result was better than I expected!
With a few products and skills, you can cut your own pixie at home, too.
How I Cut My Own Pixie Cut with Clippers and Scissors
What You’ll Need:
I suggest Wahl Clippers, because they’re specifically made for haircuts and are better quality than a lot of other trimmers. This one comes with guards.
Mine are secondhand Super Taper II (similar linked), a professional grade variety that is suitable on textured hair. Since clippers were sold out everywhere earlier in the pandemic, I bought mine on Ebay. If you go that route, try to find some under $60, preferably with clipper guards.
Hair Shears and Thinning Shears
Like these. Some clipper kits come with scissors so you won’t need to purchase separately.
My clipper kit came with guards, but if you purchase separately, make sure to get an 8 (1″) Guard that is compatible with your clippers. You can go bigger or smaller depending on your preference.
You’ll want a comb with a fine tooth that is easy to hold and has a straight edge. I use it to make sure my hair is placed where it should be before trimming, and to aid in trimming clean, consistent edges and bangs.
While you don’t absolutely need a salon mirror, it is extremely helpful for checking the back of your head when paired with a bathroom mirror.
Plastic bag or easy-clean mat and Broom
For easier cleanup after cutting. I sometimes take a kitchen garbage bag and cut it down the side and base to make a long plastic sheet, then bundle the clippings and throw it away. Not eco-friendly, but good in a pinch, especially if you’re working in a small space that’s hard to clean effectively.
You will also want a broom or vacuum cleaner to sweep up stray hair clippings.
Optional: Feather Razor with Blades
After cutting my hair for about six months, I discovered this feather razor, which does a great job of adding texture. I also use it to transition the line between the lower part of my head that I cut with clippers and the top of my head that I cut with scissors.
You can use the feather razor all over for a piece-y cut if you desire.
I used this very simple tutorial for the cut, with some adjustments for cutting the top, which I’ll share below.
I used this video to get a better idea of how to section off the top of my hair, which I wanted to leave longer.
After I use clippers on the sides and back, I start trimming the top section of hair. Unlike the tutorial above, I want to cut quite a bit of length off the top. So, I start with blunt shears all over the top section of my head, using my fingers to pull the hair up in sections and check for uniform length as I go.
Then, I blend the longer hair on the top of my head into the clippered sections with the thinning shears or feather razor. For mid-cut touch-ups, I use just the feather razor to take some weight off the longer sections of hair. There are many feather razor tutorials on YouTube and Instagram.
As I’ve gotten more comfortable cutting my own hair over the past few months, I have started to use a shorter guard, often a 3/4″ instead of a 1″.
Even with access to tutorials, cutting your own hair will always carry risk and involve some experimentation. You need to prepare yourself for imperfection, and commit to going with the flow. After all, your hair will always grow back.
If you live with someone who is willing to take it on, you can ask them to help you trim your edges in the back, or even trim your whole head. But it’s good to know that is IS possible to do this yourself with a bit of preparation.
If anything was unclear or you have your own suggestions, let me know in the comments!
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.
Sunday 1st of November 2020
Never thought we can get this done at home as well with such ease. I feel pixy cut is easy to maintain and with this great explanation of how to do at home we are all in peace now :) Great job.
Carmen S Thompson
Sunday 2nd of August 2020
Hello. I do my own pixie cuts as well, thanks to the 'rona. Have since March. I've come up with a way to get the back done properly. I take blue painter's tape, use my ears as a guide and place the strip across the back of my neck. After checking to ensure it is indeed straight (and where I want the nape line to be) with a hand mirror in front of the bathroom mirror, I use a beard trimmer to trim the back of my neck. It won't cut the tape, but gets the neck beautifully clean and straight. The painter's tape will not pull your hair out either.
Sunday 2nd of August 2020
Thanks for this tip! I love painter's tape because it's so versatile, but I hadn't thought of doing this!
Wednesday 3rd of June 2020
Your haircut looks amazing! You did a fantastic job, especially doing it yourself.
This post inspired me to get some clippers and do mine. I've had a pixie cut for years, but my hair is extremely curly (and I keep it unprocessed/natural), so I've always been a little intimidated to try anything myself. However, with quarantine hair and having gone since February without a cut (I was supposed to go in the week everything locked down), I was getting a little desperate - but not feeling like I could go get it cut quite yet for a number of reasons.
Happy to report that with your directions and the linked videos, I was able to get it trimmed down to a point where I'm quite pleased with the outcome. It is - thankfully - no longer all over my neck and irritating me (and I think it looks pretty decent too). I didn't touch the longest top section, but will probably get some 1.5 to 2-inch clipper guards and be able to trim that up at some point with those. For now, though, I feel like it's infinitely better and this will get me through until things start to improve with the virus. Thanks for the tutorial - and the courage booster to go ahead.
Saturday 6th of June 2020
Hooray! Thank you so much for sharing about your experience taking the plunge!
Wednesday 27th of May 2020
You did a GREAT job! Seriously, on yourself--it's awesome. I have a pixie, too, but I'm very lucky that my husband has been cutting it for me. He does his own, and our boys', hair with the Walh clippers all over, just longer on top than the sides. For me, he used the 1 inch guard on the back, and then did the top and sides with scissors, the way the salon stylist does--by pulling the hair between the fingers a certain length and cutting what remains above the fingers. He did a short trim at the beginning of quarantine, but after 8 more weeks, I was way overdue. So Monday he did a real cut on me and it's amazing--I feel so much more like myself with a pixie (as opposed to overgrown, flat waves).
Saturday 30th of May 2020
That's helpful that your husband does it. My husband, understandably, is afraid of messing up and then feeling responsible for it, but he helped me clean up the back a bit. I tried to do my own salon trim on the top, but it is really difficult to do on yourself! I think with practice it will get easier. I might just do my own hair from here on out. I did my husband's when I did mine, and his turned out really well.
Wednesday 27th of May 2020
You did a great job with the cut! If I was 20 years younger, I probably would've done this because I did it back then. I took clippers to my head and didn't think twice about it for trimming my hair. Technically, I still could since I'm WFH all the time. However, there's a chance I might have to start going back into the office in July and if I screw up a cut, I'd rather not look like I threw my head in a blender, which is a possibility knowing how clumsy I am. I normally keep my hair as short as yours and it's gotten SO LONG right now. I said that to my MIL over the weekend and she looked at me funny because my hair is still considered very short by most people's standards. I think the worst part is the back starting to annoy my neck. I may have my husband at least trim that up.
Saturday 30th of May 2020
Thank you! Yeah, the first few minutes before I starting clipping away were nerve-wracking, but since I wear a mask all day, I reasoned that somehow it would be less embarrassing than if my face were showing. It definitely isn't perfect, but I have made a few additional snips and now it's really not that bad. I just like my hair and face better when it's short, but I have definitely gotten disapproving comments from nosy people in the past, and I hate having to prepare myself for that.