At 10:30 am on Sunday morning the scissors came out — nail scissors, that is. Yes, I use nail scissors to trim my hair, because they are pretty sharp and I don’t have proper shears, nor do I have any inclination to shell out any cash for some good ones.

I know I don’t really have time to properly trim my whole head, but I keep trimming here and there. I started snipping out of pure frustration with my dry chemically texturized ends. This kind of thing runs in my family. My mom and one of my sisters are known for their impromptu, self-trimming sessions. You might think it’s crazy, but somehow it always turns out well, to the point that we get compliments on our new cuts.

My TWA Hair Trimming Tips

Maybe you’ve stayed up too late with your hands in your hair, wishing there was 24-hr hair salon somewhere or maybe you’d just like some tips on how to self-trim your TWA. If you’ve ever been there, here are some tips that could save you from the frustration of a self-trimming disaster.

  1. Nail scissors: If you have legitimate shears, that’s great, but since I don’t and many of you might not, you might have a pair of tiny, razor sharp nail scissors that came with that nail care kit of yours. If not, you can easily purchase some without breaking the bank or doing any the kind of research that would make investing in some good shears worth it.
  2. How much to cut: First, start out with dry hair. If you need to, you can go back and wet it some later in the cut to make the straighter, drier ends stand out from healthier, curly roots. Because I had dry, stringy, chemically texturized ends, it was easier to tell what I wanted to cut off. If you have dry or damaged ends you may be able to feel the difference and know where you want to cut. When in doubt, trim off less because you can always go back and trim more off. FYI: I did not stretch or blow out my hair prior to trimming.
  3. Gather twist and cut: I’m obviously not a professional, just a coily who believes that desperate times call for desperate measures. You can modify it, but this is the technique I used. I would gather a small section of coils, no more than half an inch wide, slide my fingers down to the tips of the hair, twist the ends once in my hand and clip the hair just below my fingers. The twisting was a method I developed to help ensure that I was trimming all the hair I had gathered. If your hair is longer or less coily and more curly, if it tends to hang a little more than it sticks out, then I think this method might produce an interesting effect, like maybe increased volume (but I can’t be sure”>. I’m pretty sure, though, that it will keep you from having blunt, unnatural looking cuts. For my 4c TWA, I can’t really see any visual effects created by this method.
  4. Keep trimming: I would be playing in my hair even weeks later and find more hair to trim off. This is totally fine. Just grab your nail scissors and keep trimming to perfect your cut.
  5. Use shrinkage to your advantage: I find that shrinkage can be a self-trimmer’s best friend. Just remember, less is more when you are trimming because if you wear your hair in an un-streched state, it will of course look even shorter when it shrinks. How is this a good thing? Well, if you have a TWA that you can pat into place, shrinkage can help to conceal some unevenness in your cut. I know that when I finished my cut it was NOT even by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, one of the first compliments I got was about how smooth and even it looked! If your TWA is uneven when you finish, try this method to fake a smooth flawless cut. Wet, or for better results, cowash your hair, then slather your TWA with as much slippery, curl-enhancing conditioner or leave-in your hair can take. It needs to be something you can leave in that won’t produce white residue. I used some USE Me Moisturizer and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab to moisturize and encourage my coils. With the pads of your fingers make small gentle circular motions in your hair starting at the roots and moving up till your fingertips are hovering over the ends. You can also smooth or rake — whatever you do to encourage curls and coils. For my 4c (1.5 inch stretched”> TWA I made small circular motions in my hair to help my coils clump.
  6. Encourage clumping: My coils have never really clumped, but since I don’t ever use a comb or brush, just conditioner and my fingers so it doesn’t get tangled, amazingly it has started to clump. In the shower or sink, sprinkle or splash cold water over your hair to help distribute the conditioner. You can pat with a microfiber towel, paper towel or tissue very gently or press some of the water out with your hands, but be careful not to disturb the coils. Get your favorite gel. I like to use Ampro Olive Oil Gel, but today, I’m digging the way Ouidad Climate Control Gel smooths over my coils. Spread the gel in your hands and smooth it gently over your hair like a glaze. If your hair is still dripping, pat, pat, pat very gently with a paper towel or tissue. Also, use that opportunity to pat your TWA into place. You can also pat it into place with just your conditioner coated hands.

If it works for you, you can use this method daily to care for your freshly cut TWA so that it looks as even as if you just stepped out of a salon! If you try out these tips, please share your results! Happy trimming!

Do you self-trim? Do you have any tried and true self-trimming methods?