There's the "Stop staring at the mirror and pick up the scissors" phase. Now that I've done it a couple of time I spend a very short moment there, compared to the agonizing first time.
Then comes the "Maybe I should've planned this before I started" phase. Unless you're an organized, sensible person, and not like me who, in the case of haircutting, is all enthusiasm and no thought.
Closely after this comes the "Oh but this works, this is kinda fun and easy" phase. This is the point you want to get to. If you chicken out before this, then you didn't give it a proper chance. This is also where your grand plans completely take over your head and you start cutting like Edward Scissorhands, and your sensible self clasps its hands and pray to preferred divinity that the result will be something you want.
The funny thing is that after this point, you kinda stop looking at yourself and what you're doing until you're done. When you think you're done, you reach the "Hey this is alright... oh my god what have I done I'm ugly forever"-phase. Depending on how dramatic your haircut is, this phase's graveness varies, and don't worry it's just a reaction to the change. I cut seldom but a lot, so I tend to have a big inner psychotic break over what I think is the disaster of a lifetime, before I pull myself together into the "I can fix this" phase.
In this phase you poke things, cut maybe a hair here or there, and take the time you spend on silly pointless minor adjustments to get used to your new look. It works as a transition into the best phase of all, the "Oh hey, I'm fucking hawt... dude I'm so awesome"-phase. For some reason, between the panic phase and this phase, although you haven't really changed anything, suddenly it's your vision come to life that's staring at you from the mirror. Now enjoy this phase. For a little, precious while you're the catwalk queen, the rock star, the southern prince or oriental princess.
Then you realize that it's just hair, and you look just like usual, with shorter hair. Congratulations. You're done.
If anyone's a bit more serious, here's a couple of tips that work for me:
- Think of it like a sculpture. The shapes and lines you want. And remember there's some limitations like where your hair likes to part of itself, respect those. Hair has a tendency to fall in the same places, so if you want a v shape, just cut a v shape.
- If you want something done in the back that requires any form of precision, don't do it. Ask a brave friend or pay up.
- Don't cut your hair while it's wet. I don't know if cutting it wet might be better for the hair or something, but I leave the whole "let's guess what happens when it dries" up to professionals. I actually like to fix the hair up before I cut it, because then I see exactly how it'll be.
- Remember that it's easier to cut a little at a time, than try to paste it back on! :) Let it take some time.
- Don't be a nitpick. Hair consists of a myriad of straws, it's not a piece of wood you can carve. It'll move, it'll grow. You can definitively make it look good, and shape it as you want, but chill. If you wanted perfectionism you should've gone to hairdresser school. Or opened that fat wallet.
- Give it a week. For some reason, it takes a few days for the hair to settle (or maybe it's your head that needs to settle) and you'll fine some straws here and there that you missed, and even if you were initially disappointed you might look at it a different way.