Okay, here's the tea. We're not necessarily condoning cutting your hair at home, and, quite honestly, we don't want you to cheat on your stylist. Not only will hair experts everywhere be incredibly dependent on your business once stay-at-home orders begin to relax, but there's also a large margin for error your stylist would really rather you avoid altogether. (There's a reason they're the experts, after all.)
That said, since no one seems entirely sure when, exactly, we'll be able to run back into the arms and chairs of our colorists and stylists, and since our hair has this annoying little habit of, well, growing, an at-home haircut might at some point become necessary. (Even if it's solely for the sake of preserving your sanity.)
We don't want you to walk into the abyss of at-home hair maintenance without ample support, so I reached out to my own hair hero (celeb hairstylist and co-founder of 454 North Salon Cervando Maldonado) to get all of his and a few fellow stylists' best at-home hair tips in one spot. Fear not—their easy-to-follow dos and don'ts totally have your back until you're able to come back in. So without further ado…
Don't: Starve Your Hair of Hydration
Do: Make Your Own Hair Mask
"One thing you can do at home that doesn’t cost a lot of money and will help keep your ends healthy is to do an organic coconut or organic avocado oil mask," suggests Maldonado.
"Apply a generous amount of the oil to dry hair, from ends to roots. You can leave it on for just 10 minutes or all day," he says. "Then, when it’s time to wash it out, do a double-shampoo with your favorite moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Your hair will feel so much softer and suppler!"
Don't: Let Scalp Residue Build Up
Do: Use an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
"Most people are waiting longer between washes during quarantine, so an apple cider vinegar rinse (which rids the hair of residue or buildup) is a great remedy to keep your hair and scalp as healthy as possible," shares Maldonado.
Once you’re in the shower with wet hair, Maldonado says to massage your ACV formula into your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before thoroughly shampooing. Your scalp will be left supremely clean and your hair ultra-shiny.
Don't: Over-Experiment With Hot Tools While You're Home
Do: Try Braiding & Embracing Your Natural Texture
"Since we have extra time on our hands, ditch the curling iron and flat iron, and try braiding or mastering how to air-dry your hair," says Maldonado. "Experimenting too much with hot tools while you're home is one of the worst things you can do in between salon visits. Too much heat is damaging to the hair. Braiding your hair while it's wet can give you great texture, and if you do want to experiment with a new hot tool, be patient and use a low heat setting."
To encourage your natural texture even more, try adding a body-enhancing wave spray or curl-enhancing cream.
Don't: Try Bleaching Your Own Hair
Do: Embrace Purple Shampoo
"One of the worst things you can do is put bleach on your hair without professional supervision—leave this to your colorist!" says Maldonado.
Lucky for you, I asked my colorist all of our burning at-home color questions, and if you're used to going in and getting your hair bleached professionally, try your best to stay calm, invest in a good purple shampoo to keep brass at bay, and spritz on a root touch-up spray until you're able to go back in to see your colorist.
Don't: Cut Your Bangs
Do: Invest in Chic Hair Accessories
"Do not cut your own bangs!" Maldonado warns. "Bangs frame your face and complement your bone structure, and it’s a fine line of where they need to be cut to best complement your features."
If You MUST Cut Your Hair at Home…
Don't: Give Yourself a Completely New Look
Do: Give Yourself a Micro-Trim
"If you desperately need a trim, keep it simple and don’t take on more than you can handle," says Maldonado. "For instance, a one-length trim with light face-framing is something that seems reachable. Don't trim too much hair, and just skim the smallest amount to hold you over."
"Don’t get adventurous and try to give yourself a new look," agrees 454 North hairstylist Hector Garcia. "If you absolutely feel like you can’t wait, keep it simple and give yourself a micro-trim. That will make you feel like you made changes without going drastic."
Don't: Start Cutting Without a Support System
Do: Seek a Professional Consultation
"If you don’t trust yourself or are nervous about cutting your own hair, put the scissors down and ask your stylist if they can give you a FaceTime consultation and tips on how you can give yourself a trim," Garcia advises.
On the same front, Maldonado recommends searching social media to seek advice from reputable hairdressers which can provide a visual for the process or look you're trying to achieve.
Don't: Ignore Your Natural Hair Texture
Do: Trim Your Hair Dry, Not Wet
"Hair length and texture play a huge role if you're considering cutting your own hair," explains Garcia. "The longer the hair is, the easier it will be, and the shorter the hair is, the more difficult it will be. Clients with curly hair have a bit more leeway for mistakes, as curls can act as great camouflage, but then if you cut too much, it can result in major shrinkage. Those with fine or straight hair have to be a bit more careful and precise."
Another important note? If you're going to attempt an at-home haircut, make sure you don't get snip happy on wet hair.
"It's always best to trim on dry hair," confirms 454 North hairstylist Jerrod Roberts. "If you cut on wet hair, you'll end up taking off more length than you think you are. Comb the hair straight off the head and then use the tips of your scissors to cut directly into the hair between your fingers to take off length."