“We are about three weeks away from knowing everyone’s true hair colour,” a meme making the rounds read last week.
It’s a fair point. Self isolation and social distancing mean salon visits need to be put on hold. Indefinitely. But that won’t stop those locks from growing and those roots and grey hairs from showing.
It’s not vanity to want to keep your hair in semi-decent shape, even if you aren’t really seeing anyone. Self-care and positivity are an important part of enduring the current crisis - so if it’ll make you feel better to have your locks in order, so be it. Here are some expert tips on tending to your hair on your own.
Firstly, keep calm, says Kate Darling, founder and chief executive of That Hair Tho. “We recommend that you do not panic with grown out roots. It is never worth using box dye on your hair, as it will be a nightmare later for you and your stylist to get back to your desired results.”
Maria Dowling, founder and creative director of Mariadowling Salon, agrees. "Obviously I would always say don’t go for a box dye or try to colour your hair at home if at all possible. If you are used to having it coloured in a salon, don’t even attempt to DIY. Try to live with those roots until you’re able to get into a salon.”
Instead, Dowling recommends that you start by switching your parting to conceal root regrowth. “You will often find that your roots aren’t as prominent if you switch from a centre to a side parting, or vice versa,” she says.
A change of style may also make those roots less prominent. “Try waving your hair instead of straightening. When the hair is tousled, it’s a lot harder to spot the roots," adds Dowling.
Next port of call: a root powder. “I love Color Wow Root Cover Up, which costs Dh221," says Dowling. "It’s a non-sticky, eyeshadow style palette which is simply applied as close to the parting as possible. Make sure you match it to your hair colour to give a super natural look.”
Other cover-up options include L’Oreal’s Magic Root Cover Up, Garnier’s Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer and Clairol Root Touch-Up powder. Because these are all temporary solutions, if you don’t get the colour quite right, you can always just wash it out and try again.
Alternatively, try a tinted dry shampoo. Dowling recommends Label.m Dry Shampoo “to blur those contrasting lines between your dyed and natural colour”.
Darling suggests using a coloured conditioner instead of trying to dye your hair yourself. “This will help sustain the hair colour for longer while also conditioning your hair,” she maintains.
If you are set on dyeing your hair yourself, and it’s your first attempt, try to speak to your colourist first. They will be able to advise on colour selection and brand types, as they should be familiar with your hair type, condition and needs.
When you are selecting your colour, don’t rely on the picture on the front of the box. This is often misleading. Pay attention to the detailing on the side of the box, as this will give you a better idea of the actual shade you’re likely to get. Now is not the time to make any dramatic changes - undoing them could take an age - so opt for a shade that is half to one shade lighter than your current hue.
When it comes to application, make sure you are wearing old clothes (however careful you are, we guarantee it’ll go everywhere), read the directions extremely carefully, protect your hairline with a layer of Vaseline and, if at all possible, try to get someone to help.
Finally, make sure to condition your hair once you are done. Otherwise, the hair cuticles will remain open and the dye will keep working.
When it comes to cutting your own hair, we’d proceed with extreme caution, however bored and dissatisfied you are. “Please don’t do it,” Darling says simply.
At a push, Dowling says it’s okay to cut your fringe or bangs yourself, if you are desperate. “But anything more than this, I wouldn’t advise. Unlike a bad colour, a bad haircut isn’t a quick fix. You have to wait for it to grow and depending on how badly you’ve cut it, it could take quite a while.
“Instead, why don’t you take the time to practice new hair styling and at-home treatments. Get onto YouTube and learn how to wand your waves, practice a few updos or learn how to do a really professional blowdry.”
Instead of fixating on cutting and colouring your hair, Dowling and Darling both recommend that you take this time to care for it instead. “The best way to manage your hair over this time is through hair masks and oil treatments," says Darling.
"This is a great time to experiment with 100 per cent natural treatments, some key ingredients we would recommend are: coconut oil, aloe vera, castor oil and avocado. Apply, leave on, Netflix and chill...the longer the better. This will help prevent any split ends until you are reunited with your hairstylist again.”