Becoming a Stylist

The other night, we were about ten minutes away from finishing dinner when I heard M calling from upstairs as she finished her shower, asking couldn’t I please cut her hair?

No. No, I could not. I didn’t have any idea of how to cut hair. Plus we were in the middle of dinner preparations. I was not emotionally or practically prepared to trim M’s hair. Which I explained to her. But the conversation made me realize that yes, she’d been serious those last few times she’d casually suggested that she’d like a haircut soon, please. So I said I’d study up, just like when she wanted curls for prom, and I’d be ready soon.

Later, I watched YouTube videos like this one and this one and this one. And last night, when I saw her just-showered hair, I decided it was time to go for it. I was nervous, but if you are going to do your first-ever haircut on someone, it helps if it’s a person who has an abundant supply of hair and who once willingly shaved her head bald without regrets. Even a really bad trim wouldn’t be too traumatic.

I was also fortunate that we had proper tools around. Cute W has been cutting his own hair for years after going to one barber after another who would all create comb-overs rather than concede that his hair was thinning and that was okay. So I had a good pair of scissors and a comb from his kit, as well as clips I’d bought for the prom curls.

Here’s our “before” photo.

While M watched a show on her phone, I diligently sectioned off her hair and got started in the middle of her back. Those first few cuts were a bit scary. It began rather inauspiciously.

I mean, clearly, this hair has been cut in a variety of different lengths. At this point I was looking at her hair and thinking “Uh-oh” while my trusting daughter was just watching the TV drama, unaware of the real-life drama unfolding behind her. But, once you get started, you’ve just gotta keep going, one way or the other. . . .

And then, it started to look almost-okay. It seemed mostly pretty even. As I checked her out from the front, there were clearly some way-too-long strands happening in front of her ears, and I had zero intention of doing any of the more sophisticated layering techniques I’d seen in the instructional videos. But as her hair rapidly started to dry and appeared not-too-awful, I got a little bit more relaxed about winging it a bit and just cutting any hairs that looked longer than their companions. M ran to a mirror and didn’t find any hideous errors, plus she was happy to feel lighter with all that hair gone. She was psyched. I made her stop so I could take one last “after” photo.

And y’all, if you don’t look too, too closely, I’d say it looks pretty damn good!


  1. Claire

    Wow, you did awesome! Last week I broke down and cut my bangs, and they actually came out pretty good. I had my husband do the back. And then standing in the mirror I noticed some strays he had missed, so I attempted to do them myself, which obviously wasn’t easy cutting the back of my own hair! But nothing that a little product and styling can’t camouflage, and a huge improvement over hair that was two months overdue for a cut.

  2. Go, you! When I was looking through YouTube there were a bunch of cut-your-OWN-hair tutorials, and I was like, no, I don’t think I am up to that level.

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