The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very surreal, scary experience for obvious reasons. Pretty much everyone (I hope) has realized that social/physical distancing is our best solution for flattening the curve; however, this also means that we won’t have a trip to the hair salon planned for the foreseeable future.
I asked our Instagram followers to hit me with their most burning questions regarding hair care, and I passed them on to my hairstylist and all-around pal, Mo. Mo does the hair of pretty much every woman I know, and he is the best. Not only is he a wealth of knowledge of all things hair (and travel and restaurants and fashion), he is willing to give it to us straight. In short, NO, you should not give yourself bangs.
This segment was going to be an Instagram story, but Mo gave such thoughtful answers that I thought it needed to be a blog post instead. Enjoy!
1. I’m desperate for a hair cut-- my hair is so long that it is breaking. Should I try cutting it myself? Any tips?
“Cutting your hair yourself usually goes one of two ways. Not bad or really bad! I really don’t recommend it but…. Hair that is curly, wavy, layered, thick or any combination is more forgiving as it hides the boo-boos. Wearing your hair wavy is also a way to mask a choppy result also. Fine, straight hair is totally unforgiving, and I would not advise cutting it yourself. If truly desperate, you can do a “health” trim for dry ends and breakage, but it is a cautionary tale. Less is more. The less you cut, the more you’ll avoid an unfixable disaster.
Pro tip: Sharp scissors are a must. Cut your hair dry so you can see what is unveiling as you go. Stay away from blunt or one length cuts as they are difficult and show the unevenness you’re bound to achieve. If your hair is layered, bring your hair into a ponytail level with your eyes and higher if your hair is below shoulder length. Make sure you have it secure and in the centre of your head and then chip or snip only the dry ends and broken pieces. If you’re cutting pieces of more than 1/2 to 1inch
it’s too much. You may not get every piece the first time, but you can always do it again in a couple of weeks.”
2. What clean shampoo/conditioner do you recommend for coloured hair? Are there ingredients you should avoid? Does it matter?
“Here’s the deal with shampooing colour treated hair. Many shampoos contain artificial sulphates whose “job” is to make the shampoo lather. The problem is these sulphates are harsh and can strip the colour from your hair.
So yes, ingredients or, in this case, the absence of an ingredient, sulphates, does matter. Most brands will use terminology on the label to guide you, such as “colour conserving’, “no fade,” etc.
3. Should we attempt to colour our hair?
"There is an ongoing battle between salon colourists and their drug store counterparts. The truth is the quality and shade-range of drugstore colour has significantly improved over the years. That is not the challenge with colouring your hair at home.
The challenge is CHOOSING the correct shade and application. You’ll have a better result if your hair is a solid shade if you are matching or blending regrowth to ends when you choose fairly natural or neutral tone vs. a fashion shade such as aubergine, auburn, or in the red tones. The reason being that it can be difficult to match your colourist’s custom blend, and the results are often bright or “hot” roots with deeper ends. I also wouldn’t recommend drastic changes from dark to light and vice versa, as there are way too many variables that an experienced colourist will consider when formulating. We’ve all seen the blonde who tried to go dark and ended up green or the brunette who tried to go blonde and ended up pumpkin orange. Highlights are an absolute NO!!
Worth noting is the crop of online custom colour companies that will formulate a colour for you based on photos you submit as well as a questionnaire."
4. Okay, let's face it: I'm going to box dye my roots. Help?
"Okay, okay if you absolutely must:
First, consider a temporary colour gel such as Christophe Robin
, which blends grey and lasts 5-7 shampoos depending on your hair porosity. Or a powder or temporary colour spray which can temporarily cover grey until you wash it.
Pro tip: Color sprays are a great way to masque fine or thinning hairlines/temples when your hair is up
If you want something permanent:
-Look for low or now ammonia and or peroxide as these are more gentle on hair and scalp.
-Choose one level lighter than the shade you think you are. If the box says 5N and looks like a match, take the 6N. It will blend at the very least, and you can go down to the 5N if too light next time or right away over the top. Your colorist can easily apply your correct shade over top of too light, and you’re back to “you.” Too dark is potentially a colour correction that can turn your $10 quick fix into hundreds of dollars.
-If you have very thick hair, buy two boxes. Colour spread too thin won’t cover. Especially when trying to cover grey or white hair.
-Put petroleum jelly or conditioner on the skin around your hairline and on the top of your ears to avoid staining of the skin. Wipe up drips immediately!
-Many of the colour companies recommend pulling the colour through the ends for the last few minutes to refresh the colour. Avoid doing this unless your hair is extremely faded. Porous hair can grab the colour and get quite dark.
Pro-tip: Toning conditioners or glosses can also be a less permanent way to adjust your colour. Natural or not. Keep in mind they will not cover grey but will counteract brassiness in blonde hair, cool down a brunette that’s gotten a bit red, warm up a faded chestnut colour or add golden hues to dull highlighted hair.
5. How do I give volume to my roots naturally?
"A variety of reasons can cause a lack of volume: styling product buildup, overuse of oils, serums, creams, over-conditioned hair that is rendered too soft and/or heavy.
For finer hair, there is a litany of volumizing shampoos and products. I always recommend you steer towards a quality brand versus the cheapies as the lower end versions ofter work by aggressively scrubbing the hair and swelling the cuticle, which over time can be extremely drying and damaging. Christophe Robin Volumizing Shampoo
is a perfect option as it will protect your hair, maintain your colour and boost volume.
Once you’ve prepared your hair, blow-dry lifting the roots away from your head with your fingertips, hanging your head upside down makes this easier and make sure your hair is completely dry before you flip your head up.
Pro-tip: blast your roots with cold air before you flip up to set the volume. Also, pulling your hair into a high LOOSE pony, to avoid a dent, while you put your makeup on will set the volume."
6. Should I give myself bangs?
"NO! GET THEM, BUT DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!"
7. Bang trim tutorial?
"You have to get them out of your eyes, I understand. So, the same rules apply. Cut dry and don’t pull on them as you cut to avoid them bouncing up and being too short. Cut small amounts at a time. Chipping or cutting up into the ends will give you a softer edge unless you like them strong and blunt. Start in the centre and work your way out to the sides. Often just cutting in the centre over your eyes and leaving the sides longer look softer."
8. There are a lot of ponytails right now-- what is the best way to avoid damaging hair?
"It’s all in the fastener. Silicone elastic bands won’t grab the hairs and cause breakage as you remove the elastic. We’ve all seen the elastic on someone’s wrist wrapped in broken hair….
9. How long should I keep my hair unwashed for?
"As long as you can stand it."
10. Can you keep layers looking fresh in the long stretch between appointments?
See question 7.
"Layers lose their freshness simply because they get too long. To freshen them up, they need to be shorter, and I just don’t recommend trying to layer your hair at home. Lightening up your bangs will give you the boost you need.
Try curling your hair if you don’t already do so or letting it dry from damp in a bun to add bounce and wave to lift the layers up. A high pony can give you a lift when you’re feeling draggy."
Thank you, Mo! You're a legend
When this is all over, you can find Mo at A Salon in the Century Plaza Hotel on Burrard Street in Vancouver, Canada.
I hope both you and your hair stay happy and healthy!