Quarantine care for hair
As Missouri shifted into a social distancing order, and eventually, an April 6 stay-at-home order, nonessential businesses closed their doors to the public. This includes hair salons, nail salons and spas.
As COVID-19 continues to stretch on with no end in sight, the question is asked: How should people take beauty routines into their own hands?
Stylist and Southeast alumna Stephanie Bird advises getting in touch with your stylist before attempting a major hair change. As the stylist has worked with the client’s hair in the past, Bird said that person would be the best advisor to what would look best. She also recommends avoiding semi-permanent or permanent hair dye while experimenting at home.
“If you’re going to play around, play around with something that’s going to wash off,” Bird said.
If someone decided they must dye their hair at home, Bird suggested keeping close contact with a stylist who would know the best practices.
The Room. Hair Design Studio owner Kanaan Rhodes advises her clients to avoid DIY, if possible, and only attempt an at-home dye if necessary.
Rhodes said to avoid box dye color when possible. Inexpensive hair dye bought from grocery stores or pharmacies may strip or stain hair, making it even more difficult to correct in the future, she said. Color correction sessions at the Room cost up to $170 an hour, and may last multiple sessions.
Sticking to professional dye is a safer bet, Rhodes said; without correct mixing ratios, education and appropriate products, it may be difficult to determine exactly what’s best for the hair.
Sometimes, hair needs to be trimmed — searching for professional education videos may help, Rhodes said. She mentioned the Room also offers complimentary Zoom and FaceTime sessions to help walk clients through the process of trimming hair or bangs. Her coworker, Shauna Hilton, is creating a tutorial video for people who are cutting their own bangs, she said.
Men’s hair is easier to trim at home, Bird said, but she advised consulting a professional or waiting for a salon to reopen before cutting women’s hair.
If someone did experiment with their hair during quarantine and it didn’t go as planned, Rhodes said to simply be honest with the stylist when returning to the salon. Clients should be completely honest with their stylist to best correct the hair afterwards. Due to the nature of box dyes, honesty is needed to best work with hair afterward.
There’s no shame in admitting to a DIY — it tempts us all right now, Rhodes said. Bird believes younger individuals and those who don’t see a regular stylist may be more tempted to experiment. They may not realize the effect of at-home dye if they do not consistently see a stylist see a consistent stylist or invest time and money into their hair.
“I don’t recommend anyone doing any bleach services on themselves because that’s just a recipe for disaster,” Bird said.
Chemical relaxers and bleach should be handled carefully, Bird said. If the products aren’t neutralized or applied correctly, the hair may fall out, break or become permanently damaged, she said. In addition to hair products, Bird advises caution when using wax products, as the heat of the wax can easily cause burns.
In addition to the damaging effects, Rhodes said sometimes individuals switch bottles of dye in unsealed box dye packages at the store. While she has never had a client who experienced this, she said someone might switch blonde dye for black dye or vice versa, playing a cruel joke on whoever purchases it. As the dye color appears clear in the bottle until it oxidizes on the hair during color processing, the person wouldn’t know until it was too late.
If you must color your hair, she said, look for temporary solutions. To hide “natural highlights” — what Rhodes calls grey hair — look for a spray color or tinted powder until salons reopen, she said.
A stylist can recommend the best brand or product type for dye alternatives, Bird said, and a professional can be the greatest resource when working on your hair from home.
While they strongly advise against altering hair at home, both Bird and Rhodes said they understand the appeal behind DIY hair changes. It may just break down into a fun activity while quarantined, Bird and Rhodes agreed.
“I think we’re bored, and it’s just trying to find something to do and a way to express ourselves,” Rhods said. “Usually, we can go out and do things, but there’s really not much to do — you can only do so many puzzles and play so many games. It’s really just finding something fun to do and not go crazy.”
Pick up a new hobby, learn to cook, go for a walk — but unless you know what you’re doing, please don’t touch your hair.