Tips on how to handle lockdown hair

Use this as a time to have a hair detox

Use this as a time to have a hair detox - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many of us will be missing our regular salon appointments at the moment, but Zoology’s Mark Mountney explains that this is the ideal opportunity to have a hair detox

Let's hope our salons are open again soon, once it is safe to do so

Let's hope our salons are open again soon, once it is safe to do so - Credit: Getty Images

Other than the obvious answers like family and friends, what have you missed most during lockdown? Let’s be honest, for many of us, our local hair salon will be near the top of the list. There’s something about a trip to the hairdressers which is so relaxing and luxurious, and there’s no beating the feeling of freshly cut and coloured hair either. But after two and a half months since the start of quarantine, it’s safe to say that our hair is feeling the strain, with roots and split-ends well and truly on show.

There’s no doubt that this is an incredibly tough time for the salons themselves too, such as the much-loved Zoology in Wanstead. “We’ve had so many wonderful messages from clients, not to find out about when we’re opening, but to see how we are and to check up on us,” says the company director Mark Mountney. “We’ve had some lovely cards, and people have also kindly offered to pre-pay for haircuts because they’re worried about the business, which is really touching.”

Hopefully it won’t be too long before their doors are open again, but for now Mark has plenty of words of wisdom for keeping our hair in tip-top condition. First and foremost, he suggests that this is the perfect opportunity to give your hair a bit of a detox, especially if you’ve got long hair and usually go to a salon regularly. “No-one’s going out anywhere and you’re not doing anything, so don’t do anything to your hair either,” he advises. Many of us will wash, blow dry and straighten our hair every day for work and social events, but even with heat defence sprays, that’s sure to be taking its toll with repeated heat use having the effect of drying out hair so that it becomes brittle and permanently damaged. Now that after work drinks and nights out are off the cards (apart from those all-important Zoom calls), let your hair go natural. Take a break from using straighteners and curling tongs and let it air dry, and hopefully you will soon notice that it appears healthier.

Try to cut down how much you wash it, too, since this will help to reduce the amount of overall wear and tear. “I always advise clients to treat hair like a fabric,” Mark explains. “The more you wash it, the more you dry it and the more you iron it, over time it will damage it.” When you do wash it, consider using a hair mask or a leave-in conditioner to give it a bit of nourishment.

Split ends are unfortunately an inevitable at the moment, and the urge to grab the kitchen scissors and do our own home-haircut is becoming increasingly hard to resist. “If you have short hair, and especially for guys, I can understand that it is going to be quite tricky to go through this whole period without a haircut,” Mark adds. “There are a lot of people out there asking partners to do their hair, and it’s not going to be technically perfect, but I have seen some quite good haircuts actually.” So, perhaps letting your partner cut your hair isn’t such a bad idea after all, but it certainly requires a new level of trust and understanding – and if you are taking the plunge, Mark recommends investing in some proper equipment too. “I think the safest route is to use clippers and attachments,” he suggests.

However, when it comes to colouring your own hair during lockdown, Mark has one simple piece of advice: don’t do it! “There’s nothing I can recommend, I just wouldn’t go there,” he stresses. “If you put on an outfit and don’t feel comfy, you can just take it off. If you colour your hair and it goes terribly wrong, then you can’t go to a salon and get it fixed.” It can also take a lot of time, money and effort to repair a hair dye disaster, but Mark says that all-over box dyes are slightly less risky than more personalised styles such as balayage, babylights and root drag. These should definitely be left to the experts. “Also, if you’re not getting your hair coloured and your colour grows out, you’ve got more options for when you do return to the salon,” Mark adds. For your roots, though, Mark recommends trying a root spray, which should help to reduce their visibility. “All the major brands do them,” he explains.

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Although the general advice is to let your hair go au-naturel during lockdown, there’s no harm in styling it every now and then, especially if it’s something that you enjoy doing and it makes you feel good. “For Zoom parties and date nights, people are getting glammed up and really making the effort,” Mark says. “It’s good for your mental health and wellbeing.” Our fingers are firmly crossed in the hope that the likes of Zoology will be back up and running again soon, once it is safe for everyone involved.