Photography: Kate Stroud
We’re all struggling in these financially lean times, and things we don’t have to spend money on are being eradicated from our daily routines. Crack-house tours and World War II re-enactments are out. Tesco value beans are in. Truth is, the male haircut is also an expendable commodity. You can do without dishing out £10 a month to look the same as you did one month before. Instead, get some clippers and adopt the latest in credit crunch fashion: the skinhead. For £20 you’ve got all the kit you need for a lifetime of smart haircuts. Plus, people will fear you.
1/ Tool up
You will need:
– 1 pair of clippers with different length gradients
– 2 mirrors – one fixed, one portable
– Some moisturiser/aftershave (not essential, but recommended)
2/ Ease yourself in
If you’ve got short hair, no worries, move on to step two. But if your hair has any length to it you’ll need to hack it down to a manageable length for your clippers, with scissors. Otherwise, they’ll clog up and you’ll be on a one-way street to a world of pain.
3/ Work around your head logically
Don’t attack your hair willy nilly or you’ll miss bits and it’ll take longer because you’ll have to go over it again and again. Pick a start point (the middle of the back of your head, say), work your way round to the front, then round to the back again. Then the top. Then fill in the gaps.
4/ Don’t rush
Rushing equals cutting. And you’ll look much worse than if you waited for a nice slice of head-shaving time. Like you were going for ‘a Brian Harvey’. Seriously, people will think you look weirder if you’ve got cuts or tufts on your head than if you left your hair for one more day. Until you are prepped. And psyched.
5/ Be gentle with your facial hair
It’s crucial that the join of head and facial hair looks right. Both sides must be symmetrical. And unless you want to look like a metaller, the transition between hair lengths must be smooth. If you’ve got a beard, use different grades so you don’t get a weird beard undercut.
6/ Use a mirror
Unless you’re experienced, it’s nigh on impossible to shave your head without using a mirror. Get a view from every angle, because you just never know. Try and get some shots from distance too, because tricks of the light can hide patches of hair from you. The shits.
7/ Beware of blind spots and straggly bits
Your hairline, your temples and behind your ears are blind spots, either because they’re hidden or because the hairs are fine and hard to see. It’s also a ball-ache when you miss your neck fluff and end up looking like a bald bear. This matters most if you’re hairy, because your neck hair is thicker. Put a t-shirt on, and check that the back of your neck is clean.
8/ Don’t mix up your grades
It’s best to accept early on that you’re not a hairdresser (unless, of course, you are) and limit yourself to one length of hair all over. It’s better than going for two on the sides and four on top and ending up wonky. Sure it has the potential for ‘fuzziness’ when it grows out, but to stop yourself looking like a tennis ball just shave your head regularly.
9/ Be kind to your head
Use some aftershave or moisturising balm to sooth your freshly shaved, dry scalp. It will need some tender loving care after being relieved of its protective layer. No one will accuse you of being a nonce, because you’ve got a sodding skinhead, remember?