5 Minute DIY Easy Layered Haircut- A Review

In my entire 24 years of life, I've been to a hairdresser twice.
Every other time I got my hair cut and styled, it was by my mom or myself or a friend.
So I know that you don't need to spend a lot of money to have decent looking hair.
(Of course, it helps that my hair is pretty low maintenance.)

Most people who have been around the frugal/DIY bloggosphere long enough have probably heard about the "Easy, 5 minute, Do-it-yourself layered haircut" in which you just have to "make a high ponytail and chop it off to get a choppy, layered look".
I'd heard so many rave reviews about that haircut, that when I discovered that my kids had lice and I decided that I needed a haircut, because checking my own hair for lice was very difficult with long hair, I decided to try it out.

So, here's a video showing how to do it.

If you can't see the video, basically what you do is you put your hair in a very neat ponytail all the way at the top of your head, on your hairline, in the exact middle of your head. You then use another ponytail to mark off where you want to cut the ponytail, and then chop it off there.
It's supposed to give you beautiful lustrous locks, because the position that the hair is in makes it naturally be layered.

So I did that.
After hearing that my friend, Bobbie, loved her haircut, I was hoping I would too...

Well, first let me say that I contemplated cutting the ponytail pretty short, but then decided to cut the ponytail off 3-4 inches below the first ponytail holder...
Thank God for that....
If I hadn't, who knows what it would have been like...

I've had lots of layered haircuts in my life, and was expecting a standard layered cut, with layers framing my face.
Instead, I ended up with bangs for the first time since I was 3 years old.
I guess it's a good thing bangs are in style again.
I guess it's a good thing my husband thinks its cute.

Because I don't.

It looks like I have a mullet.
Short bangs that gradually get longer... but the shortest reaches the middle part of my forehead, a little too short than I'd do if I would decide to give myself bangs...
And the longest is still pretty long- longer than shoulder length.
I actually went and trimmed the back so my hair length wouldn't differ by at least a foot and a half...

So yea, semi mullet. Short, layered, bangy hair on top. Long straight hair in the back...
Definitely not the look I would have chosen!
At least hair grows out!

Another big issue with this haircut is if you actually want to put your hair up, it's near impossible! I used 3 ponytails, including one at the very top of my head, one towards the middle, and one at the nape of my neck to try to hold my hair away from my face, but it didn't work! Only 4 clips later (in addition to those 3 ponytaill holders) I am actually able to keep my hair out of my face...

I might have ruined the haircut because I didn't use the sharpest scissors, so the ponytail didn't cut straight across, but I am not sure that better scissors would have solved the issue...

A few pluses though- its very easy to take care of...
It gives my hair more body.
It was easy...
But I don't think I'll be doing it again.

If you want to cut your hair at home, and you're tempted to try this style, cut it much longer than you think you'll want. Because you can always cut hair shorter, but you can't cut it longer again. I think this haircut can work if you leave at least 8 inches of the ponytail before you cut it off...

But if you just want to cut your hair yourself, I recommend just giving yourself your own layered haircut by parting your hair in the back, bringing your hair to the sides, and cutting it layered. It's pretty forgiving when you cut layered hair- slight imperfections aren't obvious. Straight cut hair takes more expertise. Layered is pretty easy.

So, there you have it.

Sorry for the lack of pictures- my phone inadvertently got left at my mom's house the other day...

Have you heard of the ponytail DIY layered haircut? Did you ever do it for yourself or others? How did it come out? Mullet-like, or did I do something wrong?
Where do you usually cut your hair? At home? Barber/hairdresser? At home? What type of hairstyle do you usually sport?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I don't want a V-shape back, so i'm not even going to try this. Better is to cut it straight at the bottom, then pulling vertical sections of hair out to the side and trim for layers. Finally you can cut face framing layers at a downward slope from where you want them to start.

  2. I actually loved the way your haircut looked. I have hair to my waist and was thinking about trying this cut. You looked so happy with it in the video. I suppose, I would like to see more pictures before I really cut my hair. : ) I might do a conservative version of this cut. Thanks for the cool idea!

  3. I did this type of cut this evening (and a couple of times before) and to get it to work properly you have to comb your hair from the nape of you neck into the ponytail at the front really diligently, so that it is completely smooth, and then yes don't take too much off:
    hope you have better luck next time.

  4. I just did this tonight and it worked very well. I want to cut my hair ALL off but this will work in the meantime until I figure out how to do a presentable short cut! Really, this was awesome! And it literally took 5 minutes.

  5. I have been cutting my hair this way for a little over a year. I have never cut as much off as you did since I was basically just trimming and restoring shape to my hair. Since I don't cut very much off, it doesn't actually trim the longest length of hair enough, so I definitely have to do additional trimming like you show by bringing the hair to the front; most videos I've seen of this cut don't include that part so I was not expecting to have to do that when I first tried it. I also do more trimming on the face framing hair sections. One thing I think makes it easier is to do it when your hair is wet.

  6. I never tried to cut my hair for my entire life. But I would like to try it now after watching your video, this can save me money going to the salon. Hoping it will work good for me for this going to be my first time.

  7. I tried it out… though the tutorial suggested a much lower ponytail… at the nape of the neck, so no mullet! It looked great and took like a minute. You can also do an asymetrical style by pulling it to one side. I want to try a little shorter now! This is the tutorial I used. Try it again once your hair grows out. I think if you keep the pony tail near the nape of your neck it should be pretty safe.

  8. I cut my hair like this 3 days ago, I had to trim the latest at the front as it was a bit uneven but I'm so happy with the cut I am going to trim it this way in 6 weeks instead of it costing me time and money to go to the hairdressers!!

  9. Ok so the thing to remember with this technique is that you...

    start the cut where you want your first layer to be.

    Into these layers of course are the fringe(UK)/bangs(USA) area. ;-)

    The method i prefer is the bunches pony tail method.
    Part your hair down the middle of your head, split your hair in two.
    One pony tail to the right, one to the left. You want to tie the ponytail right tight into the base of the hairline. And slightly over to the side, towards the ear. You want the ponytail to be completely vertical. Keep your hair as straight down from your head as possible.
    Make sure it is very neat, and very tight.
    Slide the hairband slowly and evenly down the length of the ponytail, till you reach about an inch and a half above where you want the finished length of your hair to be,
    Cut across in a straight line.
    Slice into the end until you have a softened end with no cut marks. Make sure to keep the scissors at exactly the same vertical-ness (yep it's a word i tell you!) as the hair. You will be shaving off minute amounts, but it is essential. As is a mirror - obviously!

    Repeat the hairband slide the other side.
    Pull the two ponytail ends together - evenly- at the front to make sure you cut the 2nd side at the right length.
    Repeat snipping action.

    Next, remove the hairbands. Keep the top and back center parting but take an inch or so from the nape of the neck from the right hand side, and tie it into the left ponytail. Again slide the hairband down - evenly - use both hands, keep it flat to your back. Do not pull it out at any kind of angle, keep it to your spine or you'll end up very dodgy looking! Looking down helps when you run out of arm ability! As does reaching up with one hand behind your back to pull the remainder down.
    Again we are going to be stopping about an inch or so above the final length.
    Here we are checking for the two sides being properly blended. So ... blend! Remember snipping into it vertically is your best friend with any ponytail method.
    Repeat with an inch or so of the back of the left side into the right ponytail.

    Your're done for length.

    The result is a soft slightly scooped neat cut on the length of your hair.

    You can fiddle around with layers to your hearts content after this, but for many, the main issue is how do you cut the base line of your hair yourself if you don't want a chopped about style. Or, if your hair is too thin to carry the many layers of the chopped about style.
    Well, here my friends is your answer ;-D

    Happy snipping xx

    1. OK so it sounds like you know what you're talking about.
      The thing i didn't understand properly is exactly where should both the ponytails be tied?
      Thanks !!

  10. I just did this and it worked perfectly! Thank you so much for making the video. xo

  11. Trick is to not make the ponytail on top-center of your head. Adjust the position per your preference. The farther forward the ponytail is positioned, the shorter will be the front/bangs. I position the ponytail pretty far back on my head.

    Another useful method is to do this, but in several layers. Make the first ponytail just from the upper layer of your hair all around; that will be the shortest/farthest forward ponytail. Then make another ponytail from the next layer of your hair all around. You can do 2-3 layers (or more if you are inclined).

    Also I wouldn't recommend this cut style to people who do not have noticeably wavy hair, as it is not precise enough. If you have wavy hair, and position the ponytail suitably, it is a surprisingly good method for achieving what we in Southern California refer to as a beach or surfer girl look.

  12. I love my short hair but sometimes wish I could wear it longer. I have very fine, thin hair and it just doesn’t grow much past my shoulders. So tones variants of bob like on newaylook for me.
    I I think most older women should wear their hair short. I’ve noticed most older women with long hair wear very dated styles and it looks terrible! I’m sure there are exceptions to every rule though!

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