So You Want to Cut or Color Your Own Hair


As anyone who’s ever impulsively cut their own bangs can tell you, it’s risky business to color or cut your own hair. Normally, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. But these are not normal circumstances. In an effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, cities and states across the country are ordering nonessential workers to stay home, including hairstylists. Suddenly, coloring or cutting your own hair isn’t such an extreme decision.

Before we get into it, I first want to acknowledge that these public health measures, while necessary, can be financially devastating for workers in the beauty industry. As you stress about increasingly visible roots or unruly split ends, recognize how valuable beauty industry workers are to helping you feel like your best self. If you have the means, here are a few ways to support your local go-to salon right now. (And some of these tips don’t involve any money at all, for what it’s worth.)

Now back to you, standing in front of a mirror, wondering if you should color or cut your own hair. While nothing you can do for yourself at home will feel or look the same as what a professional can do, there are some basic do’s and don’ts if you’re looking for a hair tune-up to tide you over until your favorite hairstylist is back in business.

How to Color Your Hair at Home:

If you regularly get your hair colored in a salon, you should probably avoid box dyes.

If you plan to get back in with your stylist pronto following quarantine, there’s little upside to box-dyeing your hair now. “Don’t do it, unless your colorist makes you an at-home kit with your usual hair color,” says Amanda Lee, a hairstylist and owner of Amanda Lee Hair in Los Angeles. “Otherwise, try to wait it out to avoid having different-colored bands in your hair. If you’re not used to coloring with box dye, it’ll be hard to match your color perfectly.”

But call your stylist, especially if you go to a local salon, says Amber Han, a master colorist and owner of Park Avenue Salon in Dexter, Michigan. “Some stylists are delivering products, even offering to deliver clients their actual color formula for anyone who’s getting desperate enough,” she says. “Some stylists are really trying to help out.”

Opt for gloss instead.

If you miss the vibrancy of your color, Jenni Huse, hairstylist and owner of The Blossom Salon in Sebastopol, California, suggests opting for in-shower glossing instead. “It’s demi-permanent, so you are not penetrating the hair shaft; the color will sit on top,” she says.

She really likes Kristen Ess’s line of glosses, which are widely available at Target. “She formulated it for toning, so you can leave it for 30 seconds or 5 minutes, depending on how brassy your hair is feeling,” says Huse. “I love these rinses for maintaining healthy shine.” There’s a wide range of color, whether you’re looking for jet black, ashy, rich red, balayage blonde, or anything in between.

Care for your color with the appropriate shampoos.

Especially if you are formerly brunette blonde, make sure you are using the right shampoo to maintain your color as well. “They should already be using purple-toning shampoo at-home, but now it’s even more critical, because their stylist can’t refresh their color,” Han says. Use a purple shampoo, like Davines Alchemic Silver Shampoo and Conditioner, as often as needed to balance brassy tones.

Of course, toning shampoos are great for other hair colors too. “There are also ones for brunettes, redheads, pink tones, and more that will deposit the tone into hair,” says Han. “It will just refresh and revive the tone. The only thing you cannot really fix doing is your roots.”


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