While we’ve been isolating ourselves from the outside world, many of us have had the urge to do something to our hair, whether it’s dying, bleaching or cutting it. It's gotten to the point that multiple articles have been written about people doing their hair at home. Even government officials have admitted to doing their hair at home, though they cautioned against it. But what else are you going to do if your hair is getting too long or if you’ve always wanted to try a hair colour and now have the time to, without worrying about who will see it?
Now I’m not usually one to give out chaotic advice; usually I’m overly cautious in giving advice. In this situation, however, I’m taking on the role of the “bad influence” friend, the chaotic older sister, the devil on your shoulder, or the old woman in Moana who turned out to be right all along. While in quarantine, I think you should indulge your hairstyling urges. If you’ve been waiting for a sign, here it is.
Especially now, it feels like so many things in our lives are out of our control. But your hair isn’t one of them. There’s a reason people often change their hair when they’re stressed, getting over a breakup or going through some sort of crisis. It can help you, even for a short time, feel a sense of control over your life. At the moment, that’s something that can be hard to find elsewhere.
Getting your hair cut or coloured can also be a time for you to relax and do something for yourself. Of course, there’s more to self-care and taking care of your mental health than doing your hair or putting on a face mask — don’t let the capitalist system convince you that consumerism is inherently good for you! But taking some time to do something that is purely for your own happiness or satisfaction, like dying your hair, is important. Usually going to a salon forces you to pause the rest of life and take some time to not be “productive”. Try to recreate that time for your brain to rest and relax while doing your own hair.
Now, I’m definitely not a hairstylist or anyone who should be giving professional advice. Most hairstylists I’ve heard are discouraging people from doing anything drastic to their hair at home. And I agree with that; maybe avoid drastic hair changes. That being said, I have dyed my own hair many times, given myself bangs, and made a few mistakes to learn from along the way.
So with that in mind, I do have some cautions:
I wouldn’t advise bleaching your hair at home unless it’s something you have experience doing, as it can really damage your hair and potentially cause hair loss if done wrong.
If you do try to go lighter, try to stick to only one or two shades lighter than your natural colour. Look for some kind of repairing and protecting treatment, like Olaplex, to help with some of the damage lightening causes.
Maybe don’t use this time to give yourself a pixie cut if you’ve always had long hair. Stick to minor changes and trims and leave major cuts to the pros.
If you’re doing something that will last longer than you expect your isolation to last, take more time to consider it.
If you’re a professional who has to be on video calls for work, you may have to consider that as well.
Bangs can take a long time to grow out (trust me, I know).
Consider how much it could cost you to have a hairdresser to fix your hair once salons are open again.
Finally, as much as it seems like a fun time to do it, please don’t cut your hair while drinking!
All these things considered, very few things are permanent when it comes to hair. You likely won’t be going out much or seeing many people for the next month, at least, so now is the time to try out something different or more daring than usual. Minor, less permanent changes are an easy way to get out your desire to switch things up. Here are some of my suggestions:
If you know any hairdressers or are close enough with your hairdresser to call/text them, ask them for tips and advice.
Look at Youtube or Instagram videos of professional hairdressers showing how to trim or dye your hair, and read articles or blog posts from professionals giving their tips and tricks.
If you’re dying your hair, read up on the dye reviews and tips for using it first.
Patch test any dye or other product you plan on using to ensure you don’t have any allergies to it.
With hair dyes, look for semi- or demi-permanent dyes, as they will wash out gradually (semi usually lasts under seven washes, while demi can usually last up to 30). I recommend Punky Color, Overtone or Manic Panic.
Even with non-permanent hair dyes, some darker colours can stain lighter hair; look for lighter or more pastel-type colours instead.
If you’re cutting your hair, don’t do it all at once. Especially if you’re trimming bangs, go longer than you want and trim it a little more later, if it feels necessary.
Use small, vertical snips when trimming your hair, especially your bangs. Don’t cut straight across your hair (there are a lot of videos on how to do this properly)!
Use hair scissors. In a pinch, small nail scissors can work for trims. Avoid your regular kitchen scissors.
Don’t spend a fortune on products, but beware that the cheapest products likely have more harmful ingredients or lower quality standards.
And lastly, of course, have fun!
So if you’ve always wanted to try out light green hair, or your bangs are getting long, consider this your time to give it a go! I’ve just ordered pink hair dye and keep finding myself watching “How to give yourself curtain bangs” videos… I’m holding off for now, but check back in a few weeks. Like all chaotic advisors, I won’t take all the responsibility if things go wrong (but I will if they go right — send me pics!) And if you’re my hairdresser reading this… I’m sorry.