Skip the Salon, and Trim Your Layers at Home

Published in: Hair

Written by Sophie

Today Sophie of Soof the Geek shares a fast, easy and affordable way to trim your hair’s layers at home.

I wanted to show you guys how to thin your hair out and soften your layers at home –- all with a simple disposable razor blade! First of all, I’d not recommend this to you girls with curly or thin hair. Slicing thin hair or hair that isn’t straight can be tricky. It will take too much off, so please don’t try this yourself, and go to a hair salon instead.

How did I come up with this trick? The last time I went to a hair salon they unfortunately took a very “creative” route, and I ended up having choppy layers that needed a lot of styling… That’s something I don’t have time for, and later when I was browsing YouTube a video caught my eye. In it this guy was styling his hair with a razor blade he got at a hair salon, and I figured that if he could do it, so could I. So let’s begin!

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What you’ll need:

  • A *new* disposable razor
  • A hairbrush

First, brush your hair through very, very thoroughly. You don’t want any knots or kinks, or the razor will take off that entire section! If your hair isn’t straight yet, you should straighten it now.

Next, stand in front of a mirror, and take about a 1-2 inch section of hair in your hand, keeping it apart from the rest of your hair.

Depending on the length of your hair, start at the lower end, and gently slide the razor blade downward without pushing in the blade. Just gently hold it against the strands. You want to create or soften your layers, and not take off all of the ends. I start about 4-5 inches up from the ends, but it all depends on how long your hair is and where your layers start.

You’ll notice that it won’t take a lot of hair off at all -– just a few ends per section. I go over the same piece once or twice and then take another piece of hair and continue. The whole process takes about 5 minutes; if you want, you can always go over your hair again. But start out slow and be careful! You don’t want take off too much. This technique isn’t meant to cut your hair, just to soften harsh/choppy layers or create layers in longer hair.

In this picture I’ve finished the left side (right side of the picture) of my hair, and as you can see it looks much smoother and more polished than the other side does. The razor took out some of the dead ends and weight from my thick hair.

After you’re finished, use a styling cream (I use Frederic Fekkai Glossing cream), and I think you’ll notice how soft your hair looks and how beautifully your layers are blended! I razor my hair about every two months, and it really keeps my hair looking pretty :)

Written by Sophie

This post was written by Sophie, a writer, blogger and makeup enthusiast since the age of 11. When she isn’t working as a writer for a leading electronics company’s website, she’s blogging over at Soof the Geek, a tech blog she writes just for girls. When it comes to makeup, she’s got a soft spot for anything by Too Faced, Urban Decay, Sephora and MAC.

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  1. Reese says:

    All I have to say is Wow. I’m impressed by anyone who can do this,but since I’m a curly haired gal,and my hair is pretty thick as well I would be petrified to do this.

  2. This tutorial sounds great, I’d love to try it, but I’m wary of using blades like those on my hair though, I heard they can lead to split ends. I always like my hair cut with scissors. What do you think? x
    .-= Princesa Livia’s last blog post… Princesa Livia’s Bronzed Babe and Smokey Siren Summer Giveaway! =-.

    • Shannon says:

      IMO: If the blade is sharp, it should give the hairs a clean cut (which would prevent split ends). I think as long as you’re not hacking at your hair with a blade and are simply slicing a few hairs off, it should be fine.

  3. sam says:

    wow Iv been thinking of getting layers/thinning out my hair for awhile now but I have curly hair and Im always wary of the salons I have around my house do you think if I straightened my hair and did this it would still work fine?

  4. Marce says:

    This looks really simple to do, thanks for sharing! Though I’m a bit skeptical as to actually razoring my ends off. I may try it though. If it turns out bad, I’ll just use scissors :D
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… Experiments, Part IV – Purple Grapes & Limes + Tagged! + Lillith’s Giveaway =-.

  5. Debbie says:

    Wow, I never thought of this! Great timing too, my hair’s been looking a bit too blunt after my last cut

  6. Redspiralz says:

    can you do this with curly hair?

    • Sophie says:

      No I wouldn’t try this with curly hair! You will take too much off or the blade will get stuck in your curls I don’t think the result will be too pretty… :(

  7. Fiona says:

    Haha, I actually do this at home with my bangs and did a little video on my Facebook page about it. My friends taught this trick to me years ago.
    .-= Fiona’s last blog post… Quick Tip: Fixing Dried Up Cream Shadows =-.

  8. Nina says:

    Hey Karen,
    I think that’s a really good trick, especially for someone who has thick and fast-growing hair like me and i can’t always find the time to pay a visit to my salon =( so thank you Sophie and you too Karen =)

  9. Rae says:

    Ack! I have to speak out against this, as someone who’s spent the last three years cutting, colouring, and styling hair. While it might be alright for really healthy hair, or hair that’ll be trimmed with a proper razor or scissors in the near future, it’s a major “avoid, avoid, avoid!” for anyone with hair that’s even the tiniest bit damaged!

    Razors for the hair on your head need to be ridiculously sharp in order to avoid split ends — we mean Sweeny-Todd sharp, and one cutting blade is really only good for about three cuts per side at that. The wrong blade angle, not enough “padding” (a handy trick is to use a silicone-based serum on the hair before cutting it,) or a razor that’s just the tiniest bit too dull will split those ends like there’s no tomorrow. :/

    With all that said, though? I think your hair looks brilliant, and this is a really nifty trick :) Mad props to you for being able to pull it off; I know I’d be too scared to do it! I’m stickin’ to my silicone-guard razor — it’s never let me down before ^^
    .-= Rae’s last blog post… Finding a hilighter: MAC Pearl vs. Hush =-.

    • Kate & Zena says:

      I totally agree with you Rae! I only let pros freshen my layers.

      I have insanely healthy hair; when I did this when I was 18, my stylist actually asked me if I used a disposable razor and then admonished me. She had to chop off 1.5 inches (!!!!!!!!!!) off EVERY SINGLE LAYER because the razor had done that much damage. It’s so bad for your hair. Never again, I tell ye, never ever again.

      • Rae says:

        Hey doll! I love that you’re signing things Kate “& Zena” now — you’re just too cute ^^

        (The stylist *always* knows! Mine has told me stories where clients have lied to her in the past, and I’m just like… what the heck?! If your stylist asks you if you’ve coloured your hair and you HAVE, you darn well better tell her you have! [facepalm] I do love razors, but the ones I love happen to be made just for your hair.)
        .-= Rae’s last blog post… Fragrance: the quick ‘n dirty beginners’ guide, part three =-.

        • Kate & Zena says:

          I’ve pretty much had “& Zena” on here. I was Katie until my name was snitched; the “& Zena” guarantees no one else takes me name.

          I don’t know what I hated worse–being caught of cutting by hair via razoe or getting a plastic comb to the head.. She “tsked tsked” me when I had like three inches of my natural hair color and I told her I colored it. Apparently a lot people look for my natural shade of brown and that color doesn’t come in a bottle. Let’s just say I haven’t colored my hair in years. I’ve learned to like it.

    • Sophie says:

      I agree it is a little tricky. You do have to be careful and I only recommend it for girls with “normal” thick, straight hair.. so far it really hasn’t done any damage to my hair, but I can see if you use the blade for too long you won’t get a sharp cut and you could end up getting split ends. But it works for me so I thought I’d share anyway because I’m sure it will work for others too :)
      .-= Sophie’s last blog post… Beauty bloggers for NYLON magazine =-.

      • Rae says:

        I hope so! I’m pretty sure I’d go nuts if I couldn’t trim my layers at home — since my stylist’s moved to a new salon, a cut’s $80. I’m NOT paying that kind of money for a trim! O.o

        (I do realize that in some cities, that’s not much. But I’m in the middle of the Canadian prairies, where most cuts are $30-50!)

        Have you ever thought about buying a cutting razor, Sophie? I know they can be pretty pricey, but you can find pretty decent ones for under $30 if you’re really looking! Just an idea :)
        .-= Rae’s last blog post… Finding a hilighter: MAC Pearl vs. Hush =-.

        • Sophie says:

          Yes that was actually my first idea when I saw the video on YouTube. I looked around but couldn’t find any – where I live (The Netherlands) we don’t have Sally’s or any beauty retailer like that – but maybe I will look online to see if I can find a cheap but good one :)
          .-= Sophie’s last blog post… Beauty bloggers for NYLON magazine =-.

          • Rae says:

            Aww, that’s too bad :( I didn’t think that we had a Sally’s in my area either, and put off getting a razor until I absolutely had to (for my course.) I’m quite glad that I bought one in the end, though! Ironically, after finding out we DO have a beauty supply store, I didn’t even end up finding my razor from there — I purchased my first razor through the cosmetology program (we all got the same razors to practice on mannequins with,) then bought my current one through them as well once I was done the program!

            If you do pick one up, I have one word (wellll, two words) of advice for you — “straight handle.” It is SO hard to get used to a folding razor, and they’re a pain in the butt to use if you’re doing your own hair! :P
            .-= Rae’s last blog post… Marcelle Minerals: the whole line =-.

  10. Citrine says:

    I agree with Rae about those blades (nothing against your cool idea though…I DIY-ed my hair trimming all the time but I am just doing the plain old blunt cut) because for what I know, those professional shears are pretty darn sharp, as I can hear the phoosh when they fly by…
    .-= Citrine’s last blog post… Spring is here, Haul-lelujah ! =-.

  11. interesting and cool idea! What a nice guest post, I’ll be checking out your blog!
    .-= Polish Earthgirl’s last blog post… What’s Your Polish, Peeps? =-.

  12. YJ says:

    I actually have to agree with Rae on this, my mom’s been a beautician for the past 30 years, and I’ve basically lived at her salon for a good 18 years of my life. Even getting a haircut by a professional with a razor is dangerous if it’s not done properly, you’re completely right. It may look good for a month or so, but you’ll definitely see the damage!

    Sophie’s hair does look good though =) And I know it’s a huuuuuuge problem to find a reliable hairdresser. Ha, and since my mom does my hair quite nicely, I guess I don’t really have a lot of room to talk! But if you can pull it off and don’t mind the risk of split ends, go for it! I’ve definitely snuck a pair of dull scissors to my overgrown bangs before =P
    .-= YJ’s last blog post… Busy Busy! =-.

  13. cool trick :D I might try this on bangs, they could use a little freshening up
    .-= makeup morsels’s last blog post… Miscellaneous Monday Morsels 5/3 =-.

  14. Jayme says:

    Ugh! maybe its just because i went to cosmetology school that this makes me cringe.

  15. Nina says:

    Awesome tip, Sophie. I just might give this a go! :)

  16. Scientific Housewife says:

    Great idea but I think my frizzy hair isn’t good to razor.

  17. Izzy says:

    I wouldn’t put a razor to my hair, if I wanted to get the look I’ll use one that’s made for hair. They are easier to use, in my opinion!

  18. Tango says:

    I’ve been wondering about something like this ever since I saw those weird TV adds for the ‘Split Ender’! I’m probably going to give it a shot– obviously it’s not for certain hair-types, or those who have a standing appointment with a pro, but for people like me who consider a $20 cut at the Aveda Training Salon an extravagance this is a major improvement over my old “cut the end off of a pony tail” method.

  19. Rosemary says:

    This is an awesome idea, but my hair is wavy and I don’t trust myself to try this. My stylist, though, uses a blade and I love the volume it gives. It makes my head feel lighter because she’s only thinning out the hair and it doesn’t cause any split ends. I think my hair looks awesome when it’s worn wavy/curly and when it’s flat ironed, it looks choppy and you can definitely see all the different layers. I love it cause it gives it an edge and not the traditional straight across layers (if that makes any sense).

  20. Haley says:

    I actually got my hair done at the salon probably a year ago, and wanted to thin it out. She took a razor to my hair, and it looked good at first.. until about a month later, my hair was split end city. Before the razor, i never had problems with split ends, but even now, after many, many cuts, I have major split ends. I switched to another salon, and when my hairdresser found out that they used a razor in my hair, she told me that the razor can be so damaging that nobody in her salon even OWNS a razor.

    I just wanted to warn people.. it can look really cool, but the damage it did to my hair wasn’t worth it. I’m still waiting for my healthy ends to come back :(

    • Kate & Zena says:

      Your hair is actually healed from the razor damage by now. If you’re still getting a boat load of split ends, you may need to try a different hair routine and get all the unhealthy and split ends cut off entirely. If it’s still splitting after you’ve done that, you may want to go to the doctor and get your blood tested for any mineral/vitamin deficiencies as those can do a huge number to hair (particularly Vitamin D and Calcium deficiencies).

  21. tappanga says:

    Easier way to freshen your layers: brush your hair onto a ponytail at the top of your head as close to the top of your forehead as possible, cut about an inch off your pony tail, take down and style asusual. The end! Your hair will be in perfect long layers. Read this tip in Seventeen magazine years ago and my sister and I both do it between appointments.

  22. Carly says:

    WEIRD! I just did this 2 days ago because I couldn’t afford a salon cut and didnt know where to get salon razors haha.
    It turned out amazing and everyone loves it! People keep thinking I got it done professionally!

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