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Becoming an at-home hairstylist? Tips to avoid a hairy situation

A couple weeks ago it occurred to me that we probably weren’t going to be able to get anyone in this house a professional hair cut for a while. I can get by just fine without a haircut. But the men of the house like their hair trimmed regularly.My sister Treasa and my New England sister-in-law cut their boys’ hair even when they’re not in quarantine, so I knew it was possible. Treasa, who is always a voice of encouragement, assured me that I could handle it.

So, I ordered clippers off Amazon for about $40, and they arrived within a week. I set up my salon on our back deck and brought in my first customers.

Here are a few tips if you find yourself starting your own home salon.

  1. Watch haircutting videos. YouTube has everything, and I’m grateful to all the people who have made instructional videos. I learned to cut against the hair—not the technical term. And I saw how to use the clipper in different ways to give the hair a softer cut. I looked especially at how to cut boys’ hair. It was good to know how to use the clippers, which came without many instructions in the actual box.
  2. Be confident. When you have tweens, who think haircutting should only be done by professionals, you have to act as if you know what you are doing. Besides, hair grows back. Confidence is essential. Never ever pause and say, “Oops.” Just keep smiling and talk about the weather.
  3. Be prepared. I used a silky tablecloth and a chip-bag clip to wrap around each of the boys to try to limit mess. We worked on the deck so we could wash the clippings away easily afterward. I had my comb and scissors there, too. I didn’t damp down the hair beforehand, but if you decide to do that, you might want to bring a little spray bottle of water, too. My impression—even with children the age of mine (10 and 12)—is that you only get one shot at your customer while he’s in the chair. Have everything with you, including your phone so you can get the requisite stylist-customer selfie afterward.
  4. Remember that you can’t put hair back on—but you can always take more off. Next time around I might use my scissors more on the top before getting out the clippers. Our boys’ hair turned out well, but my younger son wishes his were a little longer. It will grow back well before he ever leaves the house.
  5. Don’t expect a tip. My customers were content with the outcome, but they didn’t seem overly grateful. I haven’t checked my Yelp reviews yet.

When our younger son climbed into the chair, he wanted to get his hair cut, but he seemed nervous. He wasn’t particularly excited that I was going to be the one doing the cutting.

“I trust you, but I don’t really trust you,” he said to me.

He sounds like me talking to God sometimes. I trust you, God, but this is how I’d really like things to go instead. I trust you, God, but I think maybe you’re forgetting that what I really want is something entirely different. Hair is so personal. Letting someone cut your hair is truly a lesson in trust.

Our first haircuts turned out fine—well enough that my husband is planning to let me cut his hair later this week. Or maybe we should acknowledge that he doesn’t have any other choice! I definitely have a monopoly on hair cutting in this household.