Prepping: Self-Administered Haircuts

Long ago, while living on my sailboat, I came to the conclusion that I really hated going to the barber shop.  I was working ashore of course, and had to wear a suit and tie every day for that’s what people in management did.

Out of my (then) L.A. office, I got to bitching about it to a colleague (Michael Salv. we’ll call him) and he revealed something remarkable. He’d lived on a boat for a while, too.

“I cut my own hair, and have for almost 30-years now.  Never go to a barbershop.  Complete and utter waste of time.”

You would never know it from looking at him.  Handsome, of Italian extraction, he had thick, wiry dark hair and it was perfectly trimmed, all around.  Not a hair out of place.

Right then, and there, I decided “As busy as I am, I can’t take time out for a haircut every month to look sharp.”

It’s About Personal Economics

Even if you go to a “low-end” salon, a/k/a a “clip joint”, you’re still looking at somewhere on the order of $20-bucks for the haircut.  And let’s say you go every other month.  That’s still $120 bucks a year.

Since I’ve been (mostly) cutting my own hair for 15-years, now, I figure the savings is more like $1,800-bucks.

That money isn’t the only saving.  There the little matter of time.

See, out here in the woods, it’s an honest half-hour each way to get into the city to the area (near Wal-Mart) where the local “clip joint” is.  Got that?  One hour of driving.  Now, there’s still the matter of the haircut wait.  Invariably, even with an appointment, there’s “someone just finishing up” which pisses away 10-minutes of my life.  No thank-you!

What was the total return on my 2004 $20-buck hair-cutting rig?

$1,800 in cash (haircuts were cheaper then, but I tip, so that balances off about right).  PLUS 1.5 hours for each of those six clips per year.  That’s 135-HOURS of my life gained-back.

Money and time?  What the hell else could you ask for?

More honest accounting?  OK, toss in (somewhere) the $30 beard and mustasche trimmer.   Big deal.

One of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t latch onto this when I was 20.  The numbers get really big.  Started at age 20, I’d have been $6-thousand bucks up, less maybe a new hair cut rig about year 25.  Plus I’d have gained 450-hours of useful life – 11 work weeks screwing with your hair…can you believe it?  Numbers don’t lie, Unless you’re talking to someone in sales.

Elaine is equally practical.  She has always done her own hair, except for special occasions.  Two come to mind.

One was a local salon that did a great job.  She was gone 4-1/2 hours, though and it was a little north of a hunsky with tip.  Yee gods.

Other time on a cruise ship a few years back, their idea of what she ought to look like and mine were so far apart, I didn’t recognize her getting off the elevator.  No kidding.

Most times, a scissor trim around the bottom and that’s it.  Her “highlighting” color can be done for less than $10 bucks and she keeps one or two on hand.

Americans don’t think much about how “personal grooming” is  a huge monetization.  What’s laughable, though, is people get their hair cut and then put on…wait for it………sweats!  Or, something that looks like it was cranked out of Omar The Tent-Maker’s online shop.

I digress.  But just a few notes in passing:  I don’t piss away my life in lines and I try to do whatever I can for myself.  If there’s a line at a resaurant, I will grab a burger or go super-upscale.  Even when the upscale joints are full, Elaine and I have saved so much time by eating at the bar (and with no one smoking, the bar holds the food just as well as a table, right?).

One reason I don’t go to sports events (other than it’s a waste of time) is I don’t stand in line to pee, either.  See how this “gret aggressive with life and take no bullshit attitude works?  Hoo-rah, pup.

Back in 2004 when when I got into self-administered haircuts the clipper kit (with guides) was $19.95 at Amazon.  Today, the Wahl Clipper Self-Cut Personal Haircutting Kit – Compact Size for Clipping, Trimming & Grooming Kit – model 79467 is $40 bucks, or chump change less.

Still one hell of a deal.

I am not an accomplished “self-trimmer” yet.  Mike Salv. was expert at this and insisted that with an adjustable mirror behind him, it was only a matter of practice to get it right.

I don’t have any such mirror set-up.  I simply use the guides that come with the kit.  That doesn’t finish off the edges pedrfectly, but…Elaine takes my mustasche and eyebrow trimmer for the “fine lines” around the neck, ears, and sideburns.

OK, the mechanics of this:

Step 1:  Get your gear out.

That will be the hair cutters with a straight guide on it.  And two side guides, like so:

Step 2.  Cut the Whole Head with the Even Guide

To do this, fine a place with an easy to clear floor (not in the house) for the cutting.  I sit in an old office chair in my shop.

Once seated, and leaning forward a good bit so your head can drop hair down to the floor, hair cutter buzzing and the even guide securely attached, run the rig over your head as follows:

  • Passes from front of head to back of head – as far as you can go.
  • Passes from back of neck, up, over the top, all the way to the front.
  • Passes from right to left.
  • Passess from left to right.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not.  Takes maybe five minutes.  When you’re done with Step 2, your head should be even all over.  No doubt, the sides will look odd, but we fix that in…

Step 3.  Put one of the guides on and do a side.

OK, which way, right?  Easy-pease.  Just remember, the SHORT side of the angled guides always goes DOWN.

Let’s pretend you put on the guide where DOWN would be  set for the right side of the head on the “front to back” pass.

Before going on to the other guide, use this one for the opposite side’s “back to front” pass.

As you are doing this, try to keep the guide’s lowest right at the hairline.  Nice and even-like.

Step 4.  Put on other guide and do the remaining passes.

If the first guide was right side “front to back” this one sure as hell ought to be LEFT side “front to back.”     And, on the other side, it’s the right “Back to Front” passes.

Remember, in both of these, keep the first tooth of the guide (the shortest. smallest one) just on the hairline.  Assuring an even taper all the way around.

Step 5.  Have a “helper” cut the finishing lines.

Elaine takes the beard trimmer, eyes the line she wants, and makes one or two passes down at the line.

This is fine for around the neckline and the ears (holding at an angle is fine here) but on the sideburns, you’ll want to crisp it up a bit with your razor when you shave.

This whole routine, including a quick shower and shave can be shoehorned into 30-minutes because that’s what I did this week on Wednesday between the end of breakfast and trading (from 9:15 AM) to paperwork prior to a phone call.  I was in my office read to rock at 9:47, shorn, showered, and shaved.  Obviously, I haven’t shaved today, but the hair is even, done, and off the table for another two months:

If you are looking for a “fashion” haircut, this may not be Ure ticket, but it is mine.

Short hair is not just for “old men.”  It is long enough to filter some of the sun, but being short almost means your head doesn’t sweat as fast working outside.

In the winter, if I have a LOT of work today, like in February/March when it’s still cold, but the hunting season is closed, I might go four months between haircuts.  Still, with short hair and an orange (“Don’t shoot me”) hat on, there’s no discerable difference, short hair or long, until well under 25- degrees..  In which case, wasn’t there something I needed to get done in the shop?

Write when you get rich,

31 thoughts on “Prepping: Self-Administered Haircuts”

  1. I was going to a stylist. Big debate how I wanted it. One day I talked to my Marine Father. He said he just got a great 4×2 at his new barber. I asked what a 4×2 was. A 4 comb on top and a 2 on the sides he said. Next time I was at the stylist I asked “All this time could I have just asked for a 2?”. “Yes”. Oh for Pete’s sake!

    I bought a Wahl clipper set on the way home at Walgreens.

    Been doing it at home for eight years now. I tell my wife to “give me a half”!

    Saved a lot of cash and its quick and easy. The hairdresser is still hot too!

  2. A Wakey Bakey from the Sultan of MorseCode..Dam dude that must pure fire U be smoking this AM…”more honest accounting” Puhlease! honest accounting from Ure ???

    Ure digital files and information regards Urban Survival and and the PN side are ALL WORTHLESS, in Ureland.
    Reader payment/contact info -worthless.

    Research info for articles and books -worthless, Phone numbers, email address’s, family pictures – ALL of Ure digital information on your personal life – Worthless..”who needs that crap”
    THAT is honest accounting – Ure dishonesty in this regards is the size of Texas and growing.

    If and when U finally admit to these facts – U can begin to understand Mathematical Scarcity and more importantly Scarcity in the Digital Realm – until then – all Ure work and information – WORTHLESS. Have a nice day.

    Got Bitcoin?



    • Just because we really ARE ready for the hard grid down doesn’t mean we don’t make popcorn in the ~wave…

      We DO however make weekly backups that are AIR GAPPED so all that stuff (including tax records) are backed up and in the Faraday can there’s a laptop with fresh battery.
      Our biggest exposure is the 10-seconds the can is open…1:60,480, lol

      Let me know when BTC breaks 9,000….

      • Again – Why bather to Back Up ANY of that stuff?

        What the blazes are U talking bout ? Why the hell would U back up anything IF IT HAS NO VALUE? why ?

        No Value = WORTHLESS!

        Got some splaining to do – Worthless..



      • Depends on Ure vision of the future, doesn’t it?

        If, for example, the grid were down FOREVER but, say, postal service continued even on a minimal basis, I would still be able to send out (to PN subscribers who have their address in system (many don’t) a printed report (small print, lol) And, should the grid come back up…which it might over time…then we wouldn’t have any problem recoverying.

        Quite seriously, one of my projects for next year is to look into getting a rudimentary printing press and researching how long laser printer toner lasts and the paper? How much…???

        You would be shocked to know that I keep books of “forever” stamps, too…lol.

        Here’s the bottom line: The whole point of all these actions is to have Options in a future when there may not be a lot of choice. So while the lights are on, why not buy extra TP, extra freeze-dired, a rotation of fresh vegetable seeds…and so forth?

        Oh…and that includes backup off line…

        Maybe with a couple of silver rounds we could buy something, too. Even when the lights are down. Tractor will get me in to town in a pinch, and who knows – might even be some local ranchers willing to trade something for a quarter beef, and such. Remember, we’re power-independent to a point.

      • Isolated back-ups are required to defeat the current generation of ransomware. The newer ransomware can find a back-up if it is accessible by any communication path, hard wire or wireless. G____ has a lot more to back up than just boilerplate, like accounting info. I still think an occasional back-up to DVD, wrapped in a shielding bag, and stored offsite in a fire-resistant safe is best. Either that, or bury it on the back lot in one of those cache rigs. A couple of feet of dirt should take care of EMP and fire hazards.
        There are also BIOS hacks which can start and allow hacker access to older Intel computers from remote, even if you turn it off. Beware of refurbished computers for financial transactions, email or critical storage, unless you really know what you are doing. Most security software can’t see a BIOS hack.

      • WORTHLESS????? Is that a self description of your life? Take that fire extinguisher hanging on the garage wall (if you have one). It just hangs there, needs periodic maintenance, does absolutely NOTHING for you, until there is a FIRE. Then its WORTH its weight in gold! (or bitcon, misspelled intentionally)

  3. I decided in 1991 that I could make a mess of my hair for a lot less than I was paying the salon to mess it up. For years after that, I did my own cut and color. About fifteen years ago, I decided to stop wearing my hair in a ‘pageboy’ style and go shorter as it was thinning. I bought a Flowbee and love thing. Give it a look online as it can be used for any short hairstyle. Oh yeah, buy a good quality shears too.

  4. Been doing the same for about 15 years now…..a number one every couple of weeks keeps me looking on point!

  5. In 50 years of marriage I’ve had one haircut not given by my wife. Using the current local price of $25 or so x 50 years x 12 (one haircut per month) = $15,000 i.e. the price of an econobox car.
    I never attempted to cut my own hair as I have all of the artistic sense of spider on LSD.

    (Of course, summing up the cost of PCs I’ve bought starting with an Osborne 1 I could have bought a new Lexus. But at least the PCs were productivity tools.)

  6. My wife has cut my hair since we have been married…1971. She was a hairdresser at the time. George, you need a shave & hot towel.

  7. Dye the hair and the brows and you can pass for 47,,,, then Elaine will really get jealous or either wow you to death, lol

    Okay you going to have stopped taking that anti-aging formula or there going to refuse to renew your drivers license to that teenage boy.:-),, lol

  8. Mine’s a lot cheaper and simpler. Trim the stray hairs, sideburns, eye brows and split ends with a $2 pair of scissors, pony the rest. I’ve saved thousands and I am your age, George. Sure it looks a bit like George Washington but then rather that than Bruce Willis.

  9. The grandkids were over a while ago and playtime ended up down by the pond. One grandson is sporting a head full of curly blonde hair that looks just hideous. All the ladies in the fam seem to think it’s beautiful and refuse to let him get it cut.

    The boy sees dragonflies that kept buzzing his head and he asked what they were. I told them they were dragonflies and explained how they flew the way they do, I told him he should tell his mom he wanted to get a flat top haircut so they could land on his head. Naturally, he asked what’s a flat top. I then had to explain what that was and told him if he got one and walked around with dragonflies on his head he could tell everyone he was an aircraft carrier.

    I’ll get that mop trimmed one way or another. Not promising anything if the error is made to bring him over with a man bun.


    • You do realize that if his plumbing is normal and his hair gets cut, you’re limiting the general change choices iu the sales pitches being dished out in Marxists schools, right?

  10. During a period of unemployment during the mid 90’s, I asked a friend who cut her own hair to show me how to cut mine. I’ve been cutting my own ever since then. In the beginning, a hair-cutting session took forever because of the playing around with mirrors and the awkward angles of holding the scissors. I was also afraid of making a mistake, but I eventually learned to cover up the nearly bald patches with eyebrow pencil. The mistakes were usually on the back of my head, so I don’t know how successful my cover-up jobs were. Only the co-workers who passed by my cubicle would know that.

    When I was back to making money, I still kept doing my own hair because by then I knew that I eventually wanted to become a full-time RVer and would not want to waste money having my hair butchered by unknown small-town stylists when I could butcher it myself for nothing. Amazingly, I’ve actually had compliments on my handiwork over the years. The only downside is that my hairdo (or hair don’t, as I usually call it) hasn’t changed much in 35 years, which is a sacrilege for women. But I’m too old for a Miss America look, so I don’t care. The money I’ve saved has been spent on more pleasant things, such as powdered sugar donuts, watermelon, and freeze-dried food.

    If this inspires other women, I recommend the Peanut Clipper, which is smaller, lighter in weight, and easier to manipulate than the industrial-size clipper I formerly used.

    • I’ve only had about 10 haircuts in the last 20 years…I don’t cut it, I just let it grow. At almost 60, hardly any gray but that runs in the family. I trim my mate’s hair and beard…I love doing it…and he enjoys the attention….when, on the odd occasion, I trim one side of the mustache higher than the other….I giggle, he doesn’t, but it grows out again, yeah!!! I remember my Dad cutting all of his kids’ hair when we were young. On a Saturday, line us up, one by one, sit on the chair, bowl goes on the head and out comes his special hair scissors, which he kept his whole life, and we still have them…. When my Dad got sick, and was sick for many years, I trimmed his hair, sideburns, back of neck, mustache, and gave him a hot shave. He always told me I did a good job and don’t worry that it would grow out, even when I zoomed too close on one side over the ears, than the other. That was my Dad, always encouraging and supportive as I learned how to do new things. When we would go to his monthly heart doctor appointments at the VA, all the people who saw him were amazed out how clean, and well cared for he was as I do fingernails and toenails, too! We, all took pride in taking good care of him just like he did for ALL of us ALL those years….and you know, when you are a loving parent, those years begin and never end in the heart.

  11. FLOWBEE! Since the early 80s. And the vacuum sucks up the loose hair before it gets everywhere. Think: Wahl clipper with shop vac attached. I like to keep it short in this tropical heat and humidity, too. I have also learned in my ‘elder wisdom’ that grey hair does NOT block the sunlight as well as it does in my younger, darker years. One scalp burn is enough to remind me I need my sun hat outdoors.

  12. Mark you’re going to have to have more orientation reflectivity so that in the future you can learn from this along with everyone else reading this and watching this.
    If anyone who’s posting on this website has been influenced by the Obama regime.
    If you still do. And are living under Fire ,you will be remembered
    You will be as a fixing agent.
    Since the subject is very controversial and detrimental to all in the future this should be posted at George’s discretion, or if George wants you can just copy the link and paste it without regards to mark.
    Get your popcorn out and listen

  13. Y’all are missing out on free psychotherapy and gossip sessions! My mom was a cosmetology instructor for many years at a High School trade school. I had a chance to meet many top stylists who would come to demonstrate various techniques.

    One time in the early 70’s I was working at a department store ninety miles from home. This dude walks up to me and demands to know “Who cut your hair?” I told him my mother cut my hair and he demanded to know who she was. I told him and he said he knew her and would call her to learn how to do that styling. He owned several shoppes in that city. My mom told that story to her students for many years afterwards.

    I have been complimented (?) many times for having turned “cheap” into an art form, but the few bucks I spend on a stylist is money well spent. Hairdressers are the salt of the earth and by and large are worth way more than we give them credit for. Just sayin.

    …end of sermon…

  14. YouTube has some excellent tutorials on giving yourself a haircut and haircutting in general. Ive tried it but a little fearful of cutting too deep or jagged and having to look dorkish till it grows back..

  15. Neat George.
    In my small town in Montana, long time barber charges 9 bucks for a haircut, gossip and opinions are free he says and worth Every Penny….. LOL.
    I went to him for conversation and find out about community when we arrived here. Have not seen him for about a year but no lines at 5 or 6 AM when I usually saw him. Do my own half bald head with my electric shaver. Works well and sometimes I need to use my razor for special occassions. My shaver is about 20 to 25 years old. Still works well.Getting to know local folks, making contacts, finding out about community is helpful.

  16. I have used a Wahl clipper set for about 15 years now. Number 4 for the beard, and 2 for everything else….since I don’t have much on top, the haircut is very quick….and, this short, fat, bald, bearded guy looks good again.

    Also, other labor saving devices that we use (from Lehmans):

    For tomato juice and applesauce.

    For juicing our raspberries and our grapes.

  17. About 1977, my mother thought that my hair was to long and messy. I’m in my late 20’s. She bought me a gift certificate to a local hair syilist. The stylist wet my hair, pulled it between the fingers and cut it to about 2 inches long. I’ve cut my own hair ever since.
    40 + years of not spending my money or time at a barber.
    I now clear things out of the way in the bathroom, get a small shop vac out, strip naked, use a $ 2 auction set of Wall clippers to cut my hair, vacuum the bathroom, take a shower, and put everything away. About 20 minutes of my time.
    2 points. Controlling the mess is important. And, a pantograph extension mirror mounted on the wall opposite the bathroom mirror lets me see the back of my head.

  18. Whenever anyone asks about my haircut it’s “I just grab a machette it and chop it off.” 5 minutes every 3 or 4 months. Men can wear pony tails. Shaving bald is the next step but is a lot more work. I think of myself as more of a hippie than a skinhead but I don’t need to impress anyone. Dumb jerks willing to express disdain are likely to get it back double. I’m over 6′ and ugly so few express an opinion where I can hear or see it.

  19. I generally cut my hair with a pair of large scissors, usually by feel, but sometimes with a bathroom mirror. I’ve never been told that it’s a hack job, and sometimes I even get a compliment. Once every few years, I might get an “official” haircut by a stylist if I want to come on to her. I figure that women should know what they want to see, and I have no idea. I just make myself look as normal as possible.

    I have a female friend that keeps saying that I need to see a barber or stylist if I want to attract girls, but that’s never made one whit of a difference when I tried it, so I might as well save the money and time. Many are married anyway. I don’t care for gossip, and I get enough info here and elsewhere on the net. I also maintain everything I own(a fair amount), so I save a fortune on maintenance and improvement. There’s no point in buying much new other than consumables. Perhaps a computer and parts(build your own) or a cell phone. Most things can be bought much cheaper when they just “need a bit of work”. In fact, many folks will just give you stuff to get rid of it. The velocity of MY money is definitely a small part of the greater macroeconomic problem.

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