Way back when I was a wee lass my mum used to cut my hair. She used to sit me on the edge of the vanity and trim my fringe and it always, always turned out crooked. So the thought of going through another home haircut in isolation makes me sweat. Enter Nina Ratsaphong, owner of the Sydney-based salon, Extra Silky.
Extra Silky voluntarily shut up shop last month amid the pandemic, but has since adapted to life in isolation. Nina has been posting a handful of DIY videos, teaching followers how to do things like curl your hair using a straightener and how to do a simple fringe trim in three minutes.
The tutorials are Nina’s way of staying connected to everyone. “It’s a super strange time so I understand a lot of people are going to reach for the scissors or practise styles while we have time on our hands at home. I just want to show off how to do it in my way as a hairdresser, so that people don’t have to do it blindly.”
So considering we’ll be in isolation for a little while longer, we asked Nina for her top tips on how to cut your roommates’ hair. For the record, hairdressers and barbers are still open for business, but they must adhere to the physical-distancing rule of one person per four square metres. This is obviously difficult though, considering how close in contact a hairdresser has to be with a client. So for that reason, a lot of us are considering a dilly-dally down the DIY route.
“Firstly, I would like to recommend to not usually be cutting your hair at home and to be seeing your favourite hairdresser on the regular,” Nina said. Yeah, Mum. “But let’s make the best of a bad situation and have a bit of fun with it.”
On the top of Nina’s list of tips is to have a plan – ask yourself how you want to look. Crack out the inspo / mood board, really think about what you want.
“Get yourself a few tools from around the house. Scissors, comb, hair clips, scrunchies, and a hairdryer.” Re: scissors, make sure they’re sharp. “The job at hand will be so difficult and frustrating if your scissors are blunt.”
If you don’t have any sharp hairdressing scissors about, you can order some super basic and affordable ones on places like Priceline, Shaver Shop or eBay.
“I wouldn’t spend too much on a pair,” Nina said. “Ask any person you know with clippers if they still have the scissors that came in the box.”
Next up, the cape. “Use a garbage bag or towel to act as a hair dressers’ cape” so your roommate’s neck doesn’t itch too much. Absolutely do not try and cut your mate’s hair on carpet or even near carpet. “Do it outside, in the bathroom, or on any hard flooring so cleaning is easy.” I struggle trying to get my hair off the shower mat so I feel this deeply.
Before beginning, make sure your roommate’s hair is clean. It doesn’t matter if it’s wet or dry, Nina said.
“Cut in small neat sections,” she instructed. “Go super slow and steady, there’s no rush.” You shouldn’t cut big chunks or hack at the hair, that’s a big bloody no-no. Don’t be a cocky little shit.
“When cutting, less is more. You can always cut more off, but you can’t put it back on.”
You 14/10 don’t want this to happen.
You know what else is a big no-no? Going at your roommate’s hair after a couple of wines or as a spur of the moment thing. “You don’t know how long it will be before you can see your hairdresser.” And don’t cut too close to your fingers, especially if this is your first time.
With all of this noted, Nina just wants you and your roommate to have fun.
“I definitely started out by cutting my own hair and all my friends’ hair in high school, with no training and no YouTube, and I loved every minute.”
But if you are a visual person, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube and IG that you can follow along with.