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How to do a Pixie Cut at Home Using Clippers

pixie cut using clippers
pixie cut using clippers - at home
Various stages of growth over the past few months.
pixie cut using clippers

At-Home Pixie Cut Using Clippers

Well, I finally took the bait and cut my own hair.

It had been about nine weeks since my last hair cut, and that cut was really just to tide me over for a more substantial trim (it was days before my sister’s wedding and I didn’t want to do something drastic in case it went awry).

Of course, that substantial trim never happened, because hair salons around the country were forced to close as Covid-19 began to spread in earnest throughout the country. Salons were set to reopen on May 20th in Connecticut, but the governor ultimately decided to delay until June due to ongoing concerns about the risk. This recent NPR article goes into more detail about the various risk factors of public activities.

Even if they had reopened last week, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable going in. While many of my peers and family members have taken “re-openings” to mean that those activities are safe, it is clear from the articles I’ve read and the literally hours of seminars I sat in on during my first week at the hospital that we are not out of the woods yet. In most states, Covid-19 cases and corresponding deaths have merely leveled off rather than declined; in many states, they are still on the rise.

I will end my preaching shortly, but I just want to emphasize that 1. we are living in a country in which clear and universal instruction regarding best practices is simply not being delivered, 2. we are dealing with a virus that is still not entirely understood, and 3. collective safety means collective vigilance.

Alas, this post is about my hair cut. Let me tell you about how I managed to cut my own pixie cut at home, for less than the cost of two trips to the budget salon.

How I Cut My Own Pixie Cut with Clippers and Scissors

This post contains affiliate links

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, a professional grade variety that is suitable on textured hair, purchased on Ebay for $49. 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.

3/4″-1″ Guard
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.


Plastic bag or easy-clean mat
For easier cleanup after cutting. I took a kitchen garbage bag and cut it down the side and base to make a long plastic sheet, then bundled the clippings and threw 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.

To Cut:

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 used clippers on the sides and back, I started trimming. I wanted to cut quite a bit of length off the top, so I started with blunt shears all over the top section of my head, then blended into the clippered sections with the thinning shears.

This kit also includes a razor comb, which would be great for adding texture to the longer portion of the cut. 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″.

Final Thoughts

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!

Related: How I Dye My Hair with Henna

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Archana Dubey

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.

Leah Wise

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!

Renee C.

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.

Leah Wise

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).

Leah Wise

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.

Leah Wise

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.

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