Getting Started

All of the basics haircutting lessons are from my book, "How to Cut Children's Hair", available on It's much easier to follow the lessons in a book format and It's only $14.95 (plus tax, shipping & handling). Buy one for yourself and one for everyone you know. I have a teenager to put through college.

I highly suggest that before you try any haircutting, take the time to read through all of the basic lessons in the order they are presented. Of course, if you are like me, you will want to skip ahead to the actual haircutting and then wonder why your child's haircut looks like it was done with a weed-whacker.

So, take a deep breath and read through the basics first. You will be setting a good example for your kid and you will really, really impress your significant other.

Larry Dunlap, master stylist / author / editor of

What You Will Need

haircutting_scissors     hair cutting comb

You can't make an omelet with a monkey wrench. The proper tools can make any job a lot easier. Trying to give a haircut with your old household scissors is like trying to clean your driveway with a toothbrush. It can be done, but there must be an easier way. The haircuts in this book can all be done with a few, inexpensive tools. Make the investment now and you will be glad you did. Following is a short list of things you will need. The first four items can be found at the local beauty salon equipment and supply store. You probably already have everything else you will need in your home.

Haircutting Scissors

Beauty salon supply stores always carry an inexpensive line of scissors designed for beauty school students. You can buy a perfectly good pair for under $25 that will work well through hundreds of haircuts. I recommend 5-inch long scissors, either with or without a pinkie rest. These should be used only for cutting hair, so hide them from your kids. You remember what happened to the good sewing scissors you bought, don't you?

Most scissors are designed to work when held in your right hand. For the left-handed people of the world there are...


Look for a rigid, standard size, haircutting comb. Buy two or three in case you break one. If your child has dark hair, buy a light colored comb. If your child has light hair buy a dark colored comb. If you’re cutting more than one child’s hair and one is light, the other dark, buy a grey comb. The idea is to use a comb that is a contrasting color to your child’s hair color. This makes it easier to see the ends of the hair while cutting. Always use the wide spaced teeth when doing a haircut. This produces less tension on the hair and results in a more even cut.


It’s far easier to cut hair in small sections. Clips are necessary for all but the very shortest haircuts. You will need six four- inch alligator clips; four for the hair, two for the kids' toes (I'll explain later). These work fine for most heads of hair, but long, thick hair is easier with butterfly clips. If you are planning on doing boys and girls cuts, get six of each.

Haircutting Cape

This makes your job easier by keeping the hair off your child’s neck, resulting in less squirming, scratching, and whining, thus reducing your desire to choke them. Try to remember, choking your child is illegal, even if you just choke them a little bit.

Water Sprayer

You will need one for rewetting the hair as you work. anything that sprays water will do, even a water pistol. Come to think of it, especially a water pistol. You're dealing with kids remember?


Use any chair that will bring your child closest to your eye level. A bar stool works quite well. Very small children may need a person on that stool to hold them, a very patient person.