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A shape-up haircut, often sported by African-American men, refers to a haircut that is trimmed all over the head. Some guys combine it with other hair styles, but others prefer to use it alone. After a short haircut, you might want to shape up your hairline yourself in between visits to the barber. With the right tools and a little practice, you can perfect the art of shape-up haircuts.

Stand in front of a mirror in a well-lit area, like a bathroom.

Use your dominant hand as you trim around your head. This helps keep your hair line straight.

Follow the hairline all the way around the head, including sideburns, by the ears and around the back of the head. You need to look in a mirror as you do this. Stretch your arm around your head as you trim.

Trim any stray or visible hairs around the lower neck, down into the shirt area as desired, for a clean-shaven look.


Use a sharp and well-oiled blade for shape-ups. Oil clippers by applying a drop of oil to the clipper blades and working the oil into the blade.

Apply shaving cream around the head for a smoother trim if desired.

Keep your hands steady as you trim.

While a shape-up cut is not as common on women, you can use the same procedure to shape up a woman's hair.

If you get stuck, ask someone to help you by trimming those hard-to-reach spots.


Avoid cutting too deeply into the hairline so you don't ruin it.

Some guys like to trim a design into a shape-up, but be careful when trying this on yourself. You don't want to end up with a crooked design in your hair.