Additionally, Fitzsimons strongly suggests having a comb on hand (we like the Carbon Tail Comb by Harry Josh Pro Tools). “A comb is definitely a must when cutting layers in order to distribute the hair for an even cut,” he says. “We want feathered layers, not chunks!”
Speaking of which, working on damp hair can allow for a more “precise cut,” according to our experts, so spritz your strands with some water beforehand — or wait for your hair to dry roughly three-quarters of the way after washing it.
2. Part and section your hair.
Once you’re prepped and ready with your tools laid out in front of you, part your hair where it normally falls. Then, it’s time to section the hair, which is super important as it ultimately determines how much you cut.
“Always make sure to section your hair and clip away any pieces that you don’t want to cut,” says New York City-based hairstylist Erickson Arrunategui.
The hair you’ll want to work with should be at the “very front top of the head,” explains Fitzsimons. “It should make a triangle shape into your part — this will be the hair you use to create your layers or bangs.”
3. Start cutting slowly.
The speed in which you cut truly can’t be stressed enough. “You can always trim more if you want, but you can’t put it back once you make the cut,” says Fitzsimmons.
Now, when you’re ready, take the front triangle section of hair you created and divide it down the middle, as these will be the pieces used to create your layers. “Hold one section at a time, and cut at a diagonal parallel to the section’s part,” says Fitzsimons. “Then repeat this step with the other section, being careful to match the length of hair on the opposite side.”
As far as length is concerned, Brooklyn-based hairstylist Teddi Cranford says it can be helpful to use your own face as a guide. “When cutting your own hair, always go a little longer and use your facial features as reference points,” she says. “For example, the shortest pieces should be around your nose and the longest ones should be at the chin.”
Another tip from Cranford? “When creating your own face-framing bits, you want to slightly elevate and cut up and into the hair,” she says. “We call this point cutting.”