By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Tribune Newspapers
February 8, 2012
Although it's best to leave the pixie cut or layered bob to the pros, amateurs can perform a basic trim if they need to save on a salon visit or cannot tolerate their split ends one moment longer. Elena De Vera, master stylist at Avant Garde Salon and Spa in Miami, offered tips for trimming your tresses.
Degree of difficulty: Medium. (If you've never done this, it requires a certain level of bravado. But remember: Your hair will grow back.)
Tools you'll need: Comb; sharp scissors; clean, dry hair — only the pros should cut hair when wet.
To trim dead ends or overall length: Part your hair down the middle, and bring each side forward as though you're making pigtails. Brush one side evenly and thoroughly with a comb, and stretch it until it's taut.
Slide your middle and index fingers to where you wish to cut, keeping all the hair from the back between your fingers, and cut straight across, just underneath your fingers. Then do the other side.
To trim front layers (for long layers — cutting short layers is too easy to mess up): With hair parted in the middle, comb the shortest layer out and hold it in front of your face between your middle and index finger. Following the line that already exists, snip toward the hair, so that the point of the scissors is facing the ends. Do half an inch to start; you can always cut more if it isn't enough. Do the next shortest layer, and so on.
Note: Cutting hair while it's parted in the middle gives you the most flexibility for styling, but you can cut it at your regular part if you know you'll always wear it that way.
To trim bangs: Comb bangs out, grasp them in your hand and twist them once or twice. With scissors pointing up, cut into the hairs vertically just under your eyebrow line for a soft, wispy bang.
To create side-swept bangs, angle bangs down, with the shortest bangs hitting the top of the outermost part of your eyebrow, and the longest bangs hitting where your cheekbone meets your hairline on the other side of your face. Start on the side where you want bangs to be shortest and cut vertically into the hairs; work your way down toward the longer side. Use a ruler as a visual guide before cutting, or place Scotch tape along your desired bang line to keep you in line.
To trim short hair: It's best to leave short hair to the pros, but if you want to just clean up around the ears: Lift and comb the hair out so that it's parallel to the floor, and cut into it (point of scissors toward the hair), following the existing lines.
About cutting directly into the ends:
--Yes, you'll miss some hairs cutting this way, but that's the point: When you do a blunt cut it can create an effect that's too heavy looking.
--Cutting into the hair is not recommended for very curly hair or for African-American hair. In those cases, it's best to cut straight across.