Stylists Offer DIY Hair Care Tips for a World Without Salons

A woman brushes her hair.
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As we stay safer at home, visits to the hair salon are on hold for at least a month and probably longer. Roots are showing, ends are frazzled and shapely styles are losing that coiffed look.

It’s not a huge problem, because we aren’t seeing anyone in person besides immediate family and those patient grocery store clerks. But we are signing onto visual meetings with colleagues and friends. Furthermore, seeing our reflection become grayer or more disheveled each day can be a downer even if it’s for our eyes only.

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“When we look good we feel good, it’s essential to our emotional and mental well being,”  said Frenchie Bradley, a hairstylist and Regional Educator for BASIC Hair Care Systems who owns  Frenchie at Salon Lofts in St. Petersburg. “We need to do everything we can to feel better in our new normal for now. Every client should receive some form of regimen from their stylist or barber even when they aren’t seeing them regularly. ”

DIY Haircare: Maintenance is Key

Rebecca Gregory, a stylist and vice president of education at Palm Harbor-based Simply Organic Beauty hair care products, said now is a time to maintain your hair, not make drastic changes. 

“It’s a good time to use color conditioners and color shampoos that will prolong the color you already have,” she said. It’s worth spending some of the money you are saving by not going to a salon to make your hair look the best it can, she added.

Gregory offers these tips for getting through the weeks ahead without a trip to the salon.

  • Brush eye shadow over your roots. It only lasts a day, but can’t damage hair.
  • Change your part, so the roots with the most new, uncolored growth don’t show.
  • Schedule a video chat with your stylist to work on a new hairstyle as your bangs grow out or roots become more exposed. 
  • Try wearing headwraps, headbands or turbans that can easily cover five inches of root growth from the hairline. These were already growing in popularity before the need to cover root growth. Etsy has thousands of styles, colors and patterns starting at $1 each.
  • There’s an array of products that mend split ends and give the look of a fresh cut without scissors. Ask your stylist to recommend something that can seal split ends and nourish hair.

Bradley, who caters largely to African-American clients, offers these suggestions. 

A woman with purple dreadlocks looks into the mirror.
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  • To extend the life of chemically relaxed hair: Use moisturizing shampoo and rinse out conditioners along with a leave-in conditioner, then comb through hair very gently.
  • For shorter hairstyles, mold using a setting foam and a scarf to hold hair in place until hair is completely dry. Air dry or use a hooded dryer. 
  • A blow dryer can be used as well as a curling iron. However, do not use excessive amounts of heat, by hot curling more than twice a week or high heat blow drying. This can cause permanent damage.  
  • Color sprays to touch up roots, such as one made by L’Oreal, are an easy temporary fix. Unlike chemical hair coloring, these sprays can be easily matched to your present color and shampooed out without any permanent damage. 
  • Naturalistas should purchase products that will keep their hair hydrated and moisturized. 
  • Now is a good time for a “shampoo and go” or a two-strand twist set. You can leave this technique in for the first week and the second week you can twist and fluff. This is a low- to no-maintenance style.  
  • Those who are wearing protective styles such as wigs, customized hair replacement pieces or extensions should be using products that treat the hair and scalp. You can get wigs serviced by a stylist to maintain them or create a new look. If you’ve been wondering about wigs, now is a time to try one. 
  • She urges people to wait on cutting their own hair, but said if you must, cut it in half-inch increments at a time. Better to cut too little than too much.
  • Men may use clippers or a razor to maintain their edge while the rest of their hair grows out. This will help maintain a fresh clean look. 
  • Men with beards should buy a beard wash that nourishes the hair and skin beneath. 

Don’t Try This at Home

Both Bradley and Gregory are quick to say people shouldn’t start trying over-the-counter chemical treatments to color or relax their hair at home because that will cost more in the long run. 

“If you mess up, then how do you correct it if you can’t go to a professional,” Bradley cautioned. “You could be walking around looking at yourself with blonde ends and orange roots for a while.”

Gregory added: “An overlap of chemical services can make hair color look like shoe polish.” 

Stylists create custom colors for each client, knowing what chemical combinations work best on their specific type of hair. Boxed, over-the-counter hair color can be way too strong for some people, producing an unwanted outcome.

“When this (sheltering at home) is over and you have to get a color correction it’s like starting over. We have to do multiple processes to lift the new color that bonded to the old color,” Gregory explained. “Then if we have to put in a full head of foils down the road to correct problems, that’s going to cost more money. It’s like putting the wrong fuel in your car to save money but later you have to repair your whole engine.”

Call Your Stylist for Products and Help 

Even though salons are closed, stylists can safely deliver products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and maintenance styling products to your doorstep. 

Simply Organic and BASIC Hair Care are encouraging their stylists to allow clients to order products from the company using the stylists’ access code. Clients get the products shipped right to their door, and the stylist gets a commission. 

Stylists are also offering FaceTime calls to talk to clients through different hairstyles or product applications. Purchasing professional products from a stylist with some of the money you are saving from not seeing them in person helps both the stylist and client. 

“It benefits our community of licensed hair care professionals,” Bradley pointed out, “all while helping you look good and feel better.”

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer and editor in St. Petersburg, Florida, and author of the book Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker.