Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

How to cut hair coverHow to cut your own or anybody else’s hair

Submitter: I submit to you this truly awful library book I found in our small public library here in New Hampshire.  As we were shifting the books on our non-fiction shelves, I noticed this thing stuck out like a sore thumb — or a bad haircut.  It was sideways-oversized paperback, with a ring binding.  Based on the Farrah-esque feathery cuts on cover, this book screamed 70s.

Open this informative guide to hair cutting and you find it is printed on what can only be described as off-white construction paper.  The hilarious table of contents begins with the existential in Chapter 1:  “What is Hair?”  (If you don’t know what hair is, methinks you’ve got bigger problems than this book can solve.)  And Chapter 2 poses a deep philosophical question: “What Should Hair Do?”  (As Napoleon Dynamite would say: “Whatever it wants, GOSH!”)  I’m actually sorry I tossed this without reading these chapters, because now I’m pretty curious about the answers!

But it’s in the depictions of the various hair cutting techniques that the real gold in this book lies.  The illustrations are “credited” to a Jack Bozzi.  We can only hope for his sake that this is not his real name.  On page 28, the would-be hairstylist is introduced to the concept of the “Electrified Image,” i.e., imagine the hair standing straight out and it is supposedly easier to cut.  Bozzi’s depiction of this concept looks like something out of Star Trek or Hellraiser, depending on the angle.  On page 60, he depicts a young woman cutting her own hair the way I can only assume all women do — topless!

I had to resist the impulse to save this book from weeding for its kitsch value alone.  Because of the poor paper quality, I put it in in the recycling bin!

Holly: This book was actually posted three years ago. I am sorry to report that it still exists in library land, for all the reasons Submitter has listed.

How to cut hair contents

Before you start to cut

Cut upper half of hair first


  1. I love reading old beauty/ styling books, they’re usually pretty amusing.

    I do have to say that when I cut my own hair I do usually do so topless, other wise hair clippings get all over my clothes and stuffed in my bra. It’s very difficult to do your own hair while wearing a cape so I just take my top off then rinse off in the shower.

  2. Though the image is funny, haircutting is based on angles to make the layers. A cut with short layers you are taught about the hair standing straight out from the head. I can’t read the pages on my phone-can’t zoom in on the images on your site for some reason-but I’m betting that the techniques for cutting are accurate, just the styles would be out of date.

  3. Spiral bindings can be nice if you’re reading with occupied hands, as when cooking or knitting. Still, I’d rather not have my hair cut by someone who needs to refer to the manual mid-cut.

    I guess this was before the Flowbee?

  4. Actually I thought the style they were going for WAS the ‘electrified’ look. That’s how I used to go out to the punk clubs. Maybe that was the next book in the series, how to make your hair stand up.

  5. I kid you not, my parents used to cut my hair (c.1986) using this exact book for instruction!

  6. “Why tip someone for a job I’m capable of doing myself? I can deliver food, I can drive a taxi, I can (and do) cut my own hair.” — Dwight K. Schrute

  7. Oh…my…God!! One of my sisters actually used this book to give me a haircut when I was in middle school. – Same sister who gave me the perm that made a big strip of my hair fall out! Where the heck were my parents?

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