How not to look like Dumb and Dumber, and other tips from Norman Wells’ fly-in hairstylist

To everyone thinking about picking up clippers in quarantine, Inuvik, N.W.T.-born William Chicksi is here to save you from yourself.

“If you don’t have to cut it, please don’t,” said the Edmonton-based hairdresser, who, before the pandemic hit, would fly into Norman Wells, N.W.T., to ply his trade. The community hasn’t had a permanent hairstylist for years.

But if you do have to cut it, he said, “don’t get over ambitious. Take a little bit off at a time. Work your way through it slowly.” 

With hair salons and barber shops closed due to COVID-19, many of us, looking a little ragged around the edges, may be seriously contemplating taking a pair of kitchen shears to our own mops, or the manes of our kids or partners. 

Fair, but Chicksi, who has 30 years of hairstyling experience, warns against attempting complicated styles, as seen on Pinterest or Instagram. 

“Let’s let’s talk about functionality. Let’s talk about practicality. Let’s talk about efficiency,” he said.

Chicksi offered some tips for all the at-home, try-it-yourself hairdressers.

When cutting bangs, said William Chicksi, ‘do soft snips into it, that’ll create a softness to it, … so it won’t look like a Jim Carrey Dumb Dumber haircut.’ (submitted)

The clippers

“I strongly recommend keeping the guard on the clipper,” said Chicksi, and working from the largest guard, down to the shortest.

It’s also a good bet to keep the hair moist or wet, he said. Get sections of hair that you aren’t working on out of the way.

With clippers, “remember that it’s not in your arm, it’s in your wrist,” said Chicksi. “As you’re working that clipper, always [be] pulling away from the head. That’s going to save you a ton of bad commitments.”

The bangs

“Cut that with no tension, possibly hold [the hair] off a comb, as well,” said Chikisi, about trimming a fringe. 

He recommends cutting up, on a 45- to 90-degree angle.

“Do soft snips into it, that’ll create a softness to it,” he said, “so it won’t look like a Jim Carrey Dumb Dumber haircut.”

If the bangs don’t look great, continuing to cut probably won’t make it better. Chicksi said a key to DIY trimming is knowing when to cut, and when to stop cutting. 

The bunny

Look, mistakes are bound to happen. Not everyone is a scissor wiz, but having a good attitude can take you far.

Take it from Chicksi: his mother owned a salon in the town of Lamont, Alta., and over a lunch hour in Grade 9, Chicksi performed his first haircut (with his mother’s permission) on his younger brother.

Needless to say, Chicksi’s brother “ended up with this ridiculous looking skidmark on the side of his head.”

“He’s looking at me like, ‘Will, we have to go back to school.’ I said, ‘Dude, it’s not that bad. Trust me. We’re going to be OK.”

It’s not that bad. Trust me. We’re going to be OK.– William Chicksi, hairdresser

Chicksi’s mother had decals she used to shave designs into people’s heads.

“She had a really cool one of a Playboy bunny and it actually fit perfectly into the shape of that nick that I put at the back of his head,” said Chicksi.

That afternoon back at school, Chicksi promptly got requests for a half-dozen or so Playboy bunny styles. 

By that evening, his parents’ phone was ringing with other parents complaining that — gasp! — Chicksi had cut a Playboy bunny into the side of their son’s head. 

“At that point I realized, you know what this is? This is my calling,” said Chicksi. 

“I get … to create some beautiful work, piss a few people off, and, as well, make these kids look pretty cool.”

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