Is it even possible to cut your own? What can you do about your roots? Does hair even matter these days? Experts on everything you need to know about home grooming

Given that we are housebound amid a global crisis, you may think that a short back and sides would be the last thing on anyones mind. But you would be wrong. Physical distancing has not stopped people around the world, from Phillip Schofield to Malala Yousafzai, reaching for the scissors with varying degrees of success.

Since the temptation to give yourself, or your loved ones and housemates, a quick cut appears matched only by the desire to bake banana bread, here are a few points to consider.

Should you cut your own hair?

Hairdressers advise regular appointments to keep your hair in good condition and your cuts looking fresh, so it is little wonder that so many of us are keen to keep this up. But most stylists have one word of advice: dont.

I feel sorry for all the stylists who, after this, will be dealing with a lot of DIY disasters, says Keri Daniel, the owner of Danique Hairdressing in Leicester. If you really have to, then its worth investing in the right tools even a professional would struggle to get a good result using the kitchen scissors. You can get cheap hairdressing scissors and cutting combs online even razors and theyll give you a better finish.

What about fringes?

Being poked in the eye by your own fringe is no fun. Many fringe-wearers will have already experimented with DIY trims, but, if you are new to this, the advice is to cut upwards, not across, using just the tips of the scissors. Daniel goes further: Id suggest using a wide-tooth comb, pulling the hair down to the eyebrows and then lifting it slightly [before cutting]. Any lifting of the fringe will give it a slight graduation and make it look softer. This way, even if you do make a mistake, its unlikely to look horrific.

Should you just shave it all off?

The Riz Ahmed look. Photograph: @rizahmed/Instagram

With hairdressers and barbers closed, some people Riz Ahmed and David Beckham among them have opted to simply lop off the lot. It is quite the lockdown look, but it is not as simple as you might hope.

You need to make sure that the guard you put on the clipper is secured properly otherwise you can go from a grade four to a grade zero by accident, and theres no fading that out, says the salon owner and celebrity stylist Jamie Stevens. You may think you can just do grade three all over, but the parietal bridge and the occipital bone [towards the back of the head] protrude slightly, and a few days later it will start to have a weird shape because these areas should be slightly tapered.

Should you do it yourself or hand the scissors to someone you live with?

Think about whats best for your household, because you have to live with these people, warns Daniel. Like most professionals, hairdressers have a knack of making their job look easier than it is.

If you cut your own hair, youll need one mirror in front and one behind you, says Stevens. Ive seen people using their phones, but it gets a bit tricky because you need to hold that, the comb, the scissors and the clippers. Get help if you can.

How do you cut kids hair?

The biggest challenge when cutting childrens hair is that they dont like to sit still, says Kelly V, the owner of Pixal-Rose Hair Design, a vegan salon in Swindon,who suggests keeping them occupied with a tablet or a book. For short hair, a simple cut with clippers is advised. For long hair, brush the hair down, have the head tilted forward and cut the very, very ends off, she says. Dont attempt anything too drastic.

You can do it, Dad! Photograph: Anchiy/Getty Images

What about your roots?

This can be the biggest giveaway that you are overdue a trip to the salon, but there are better solutions than home-dyeing.

A zigzag parting can help disguise that regrowth line and, depending on the colour of your hair, mascara can be a great way to cover up greys, says Stevens. Or just have a bit of fun we put a luminous green feather in one parting. It looked like Billie Eilishs green roots.

Kelly V says the biggest problem with DIY dyeing is when those with blond hair switch to brunette to avoid root regrowth. The trend is to go for ashy, cool, brunette colours, but this will simply leave your blond hair khaki, she says. Instead, youll need to select a dye that contains a lot of red tones [to get the colour you want]. Also, always do the patch test.

Daniel suggests visiting your salons website to find out which products they used and investing in those. You may be able to buy them through the salon, which can be a great way to support them while they are closed, she adds. Dyes that you might buy in the supermarket are not professional products, and it can make it a lot harder when it comes to colouring in the future.

The Billie Eilish roots-hiding technique. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic,

How should you care for afro hair?

An inch of growth in afro hair doesnt make as much difference, says Stevens, whose salon specialises in afro hair. Its easier to disguise that its overdue a cut. Relaxed hair will have curly roots, but I would never recommend using a home relaxant you will get snappage. You could go through it with straightening irons, but it would be very time-consuming. I would suggest just wearing your hair up.

What if you run out of shampoo and conditioner and cant get to the shops?

Join the no-poo movement and break free from the shackles of commercial haircare! Well, it is one option and the lockdown offers a chance to wait out the initial greasy period in relative privacy. Otherwise, shower gel can substitute for shampoo if you are desperate, according to Stevens, while mayonnaise, avocado or coconut oil can replace conditioner. If you look at what branded products use in their ingredients, you can get an idea of the kitchen cupboard alternatives, says Daniel. Of course, you are probably washing your hair far more than you need to anyway.

How often do you need to bother washing your hair when no one can see?

Realistically, you dont need to wash your hair more than once a week, unless you are doing a sport or have a job in a kitchen, says Daniel. For those of us who like to wash our hair daily, this may seem like a big ask. But she assures me it is possible. On the third day, you could spritz it with some water and blow-dry again to give it a bit of lift. Stay away from the straighteners if you can. On the fourth day, you can start to wear your hair up. Dry shampoo and texture sprays can also give unwashed hair a little bit more life. Youre with your family and loved ones, staying home its the best chance to give your hair a rest.

Go for shaving rather than attempting home waxing. Photograph: Image Source/Getty Images

What about body hair is it time to grow it out?

Removal of body hair particularly pubic hair is often best left to the professionals. While shaving your own legs may be straightforward, waxing your bikini line is another matter. So, is it time to go au naturel? Weve had lots of inquiries from clients who are midway through laser hair removal courses asking what they should do, says Dr Chlo Butler, the founder of the Chlo Edit clinic in Worcestershire. We advise not attempting DIY waxing, as it can be quite tricky unless you have the right equipment and patience. While trimming or shaving pubic hair may seem straightforward, Butler believes some people would be better off leaving well alone. You may even discover you prefer your new look.

Make the right choice based on the type of skin and hair you have, not on whatever style is trending, says Butler. If you have a thicker hair follicle, you may be more prone to ingrown hairs or a shaving rash. If youve got oily skin, you may get blocked pores and irritation. Dry skin tends to be thinner and more likely to tear. Ouch.

Is now a good time to experiment with hairstyles?

Rather than shaving your head, Stevens suggests men try growing their hair long or cultivating a beard. If you are tempted by a complete restyle, he suggests ordering a wig online: Walk around the house and see how you feel. What kind of reaction do you get when youre FaceTiming friends and family?

Daniel believes that, aside from the buzzcut, other hair trends are likely to emerge after the lockdown. Its exciting from a hairdressing point of view. People who wanted to grow out their grey hair, or go from being very blond to a more natural colour, have an opportunity to do that.

Ultimately, chill out, says Stevens. Embrace your new hair and, if youre really that bothered, put a hat or a scarf on.


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