On the DIY scale, cutting your own hair has traditionally fallen somewhere between a manicure and a root canal: passable up to a point but best left to a professional. While I would never advocate at-home dental care, snipping my own dirty-blonde strands while impatiently waiting for a slot in my high-demand stylist’s schedule is not only something I’ve done but something I’d actually recommend.
Turns out I’m in good company. Blogger superstar Leandra “Man Repeller” Medine, Into the Gloss website founder Emily Weiss and Beyoncé are just a few women who have admitted to dabbling in cut-it-yourself, a.k.a. CIY. In fact, it seems CIY is growing into a small but kicky movement. Witness also Sienna Miller, the Brit pixie of eternal style-icon status, who recently revealed that her enviable choppy chin-length bob is self-made. The actress, who wanted a change after sporting long, drab brown locks for her role in American Sniper, hacked her blonde waves into a disparate version of an undercut, until her “friend took it over.” Miller recalled her foray into CIY on Live With Kelly and Michael earlier this year, calling her now-coveted cut “a disaster that has suddenly grown into something relatively manageable.”
Indeed, some of the most au courant hairstyles “come in many shapes, and sometimes a ‘non-exact’ look is what people are after,” says Danilo, Pantene’s global ambassador. The follicle guru, who has been Gwen Stefani’s mane man for years, isn’t a CIY advocate—he is a hairstylist, after all—but he does understand the appeal of the imperfect ’do. “There’s room for that look, but this also creates room for mistakes,” he warns. “You have to be careful!”
The spring runways were certainly rife with refreshingly messy, could-be-CIY locks: take Jamie Bochert opening Rodarte’s show in too-cool-for-school ivory stovepipes and perforated thigh-highs, mussed eyelash-skimming chunky bangs completing her rocker-chic look. The boots may be out of reach, but the hair seems…doable.
If you do go for the CIY chop, tame any wisps first (those can be deliberately mussed after the cutting is done). Danilo recommends prepping strands with Pantene Repair & Protect shampoo and conditioner to seal in moisture and reduce fly-aways. Then reach for the comb and haircutting scissors. (Rule No. 1: regular blades leave you with splintered ends.)
And if the thought of taking shears to your own mane sounds stressful, think again. Yvonne Lam, a Toronto graphic designer who first cut her own waist-length jet-black hair more than 10 years ago, says, “I think I continued to do it because it actually felt quite stress-relieving!”
Lam, who has cut as much as five inches without help from a hairdresser, says she wets her hair and cuts small chunks at a time, but trims bangs dry. That said, she cautions, “If I had shorter hair or a style that required more attention and maintenance, I would definitely go to a pro.”
Or maybe just swing by Sienna’s house.
Related: How to Get “Rich Girl” Beach Hair
Before you snip, smooth with follicle-flattening shampoo, then reach for extra-sharp stainless steel scissors.
Pixie: Saskia de Brauw
Short Mullet: Edie Campbell
Bob: Binx Walton
Multi-Length: Mica Arganaraz
Birkin Bangs: Jamie Bochert
Long: Anna Ewers