A fight scene from a flop 90’s movie blaring on the television set, the familiar buzz of the clipper and fragrance of aftershave was monthly pre-Covid-19 salon salvation. Therapeutic as it has always been, the lightness of a good haircut and the exhilaration of looking good was a gift we thought could never be snatched away. Today, the hairdresser’s deftness is much craved-for as we let our locks down.
While women are habituated to long hair, the male folk endure nightmares with toughened-up tufts. Although salons have opened up in many parts of India, doctors strongly advise avoiding a clip trip as the hairdresser comes in contact with multitudes and increases the risk of infection.
Dedicating the Urdu adage “himmat e marda, toh madad e khuda” ( if there be an effort by man, there shall be divine help) to all the DIY mavericks sweating-out self-haircuts, here’s a take on how you can make it happen minus the mess.
“Kim Jong-un, the name of North Korea’s leader, is my new Zoom nick! I tried shaving the sides of my head for my usual military buzz cut and voila! I look just like him with, of course, an untidy shock atop my skull and bald sides,” laughs 33-year-old A Jonah, recounting his hilarious nightmare. His self-haircut was, he believes, the depressing lockdown’s funniest moment.
Although cutting your own hair can be a daunting and messy task, an adept family member can work wonders, like Mumbai-based IT professional Kavitha Vardarajan who groomed her engineer husband Karthik’s hair with near-to-professional finesse. “I have some experience cutting my mother’s hair. With guidance from YouTube, I sectioned Karthik’s hair, meticulously employing the scissor on comb technique to give him the perfect cut,” she shares.
A self-haircut is truly a feat of patience. Many men even prefer to clean shave their heads with a handy electric clipper to beat the heat and avoid the horrors of clumsy grooming.
Trimming up techniques
Necessity is the mother of invention. The viral video of a homely Gujarati gent demonstrating a cost-effective comb and blade hair trimming technique has made waves across India. After a cute warning “bahu badha nikli na jay” (make sure you don’t lose too much hair) from his apprehensive wife, he clips a blade over a comb which he glides around his head, successfully shortening his salt and pepper crop.
“I pioneered that technique,” gushes celebrated hairstylist Jawed Habib. He believes that bending a grey, old-style shaving blade to fit into a comb works better than fixing it with a clip. “Though it doesn’t shave off the hair, it reduces the overall heaviness by trimming it. All you got to do is comb,” he explains, adding that while using shaving razors on the head can be annoying and time-consuming, clippers work better.
Despite hotting up hair clipper online sales, many cannot afford their exorbitant costs, the cheaper ones often being defective. Many even mistake affordable beard trimmers for heavy-duty professional hair clippers.
A simple scissor on comb technique can do the trick. One can even grab some strands of wet hair between the fingers of a cupped hand over the head, and cut. “People do not have the right combs or clips, they utilise blunt kitchen scissors,” Jawed explains.
For both men and women, he believes, sectioning is essential with four sections on all four sides of the head.
“That handles the legendary density of Indian hair. You can even get all your hair in the front and trim it proportionately,” he adds, recommending his recent, highly popular online demonstration videos with over a million views, that have guided many.