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Cutting hair

What is cutting hair?

Changing hair style to a shorter length, often with the help of a hair stylist.

How do I get my hair cut by a stylist?

  1. Decide what you want

    The first step is to investigate what style you want your hair cut in. To get ideas, you could try:

    • use search engine to look for current styles (e.g. “nonbinary hair winter 2024”)
    • looking for short hair styles on Pinterest
    • looking at Instagram accounts of stylists (e.g. search ‘queer hair stylist UK’)

    If you’re still not sure what might suit you, you can always ask the stylist what styles might suit you, and they can provide you with some options they feel will work well with your face shape.

  2. Find a stylist

    Finding the right stylist can be anxiety provoking. You might find it easier to look specifically for an LGBT-friendly stylist - this can make it more likely that they will be happy to cut the hair of people of all genders, understand nonbinary gender identities, and charge you appropriately. If you’re looking for a queer-friendly stylist, there are ideas on how to do that in the next section.

    If you are particularly nervous about having your hair cut, you might want to have the stylist come to your home to cut your hair (a “home visit”) - some stylists will offer this and others will not.

    If you have particular sensory needs or a disability, you might find it useful to ask stylists about whether they would be able to help support you (for example, by cutting your hair at home, at a quiet time in the salon/barbers, etc).

  3. Explain what you want

    The easiest way to explain to a stylist exactly what you want is to bring a picture or video. It can also help to explain if you want your hair to be seen clearly as “feminine” or “masculine”, or if you want to be able to adapt how your gender is perceived by others by altering your hair.

    For shorter hair, stylists may ask you about how long you want your hair to be. Rather than measuring in millimetres or inches, barbers cutting hair short will normally use a special numbering system based on the guards used on hair clippers. You can read how to understand these numbers later in the page.

  4. What to expect during your cut

    You may be surprised to find that short hair cuts often don’t involve the hair being washed first. You can also expect that the stylist might shave some hair from your neck to neaten the edges.

    After you have had your hair cut, if clippers have been used you are likely to find lots of tiny pieces of hair everywhere. This means after a hair cut you are likely to need to wash your clothes and shower, particularly if you have sensory issues around tactile sensations.

  5. Look after your new hair

    Short hair can need washing a lot more frequently. You may find that instead of washing your hair once or twice a week you may need to wash it every two or three days. You will of course need much less shampoo, conditioner, and products - there’s less hair to need to clean!

    To keep your hair looking good, you may want to use products like gel, wax, clay, gum, or paste. These are used to hold the hair in place. These have lots of different names, which tend to refer to different consistencies, and how firm the hold is. Ask your hair stylist if you’re not sure which might be best for you.

How do I find a queer-friendly stylist?

Some places you can look to find a queer-friendly stylist are:

What do hair clipper guard size numbers mean?

The numbers used to identify hair clipper guards correspond to the following hair lengths:

0.5 1 1.5 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1.5mm 3mm 4.5mm 6mm 10mm 13mm 16mm 19mm 22mm 25mm


This page is illustrated using a photograph by RODNAE Productions available at Pexels.

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