It started in a group chat. A friend’s husband was spamming her with memes about husbands having to rush their hairy, unkempt wives to the hairdresser when lockdown was lifted. Admittedly, some of them were funny, but coming from my husband in high quantity many of us believed that guy was playing with fire. It’s a fine line between a joke and really hitting a nerve when it comes to a woman’s hair.
Maybe the guys are just having fun these days because hair has been a spot (and I do mean a bald spot) of contention and fear with men for ages.
But then there was the other side of the coin. As I was scrolling through social media, I saw one of my high school besties post about her husband dying her hair for her. What?!? I showed my husband who recoiled and made some comment about that being a marriage-ender. He’s right, but he doesn’t have to worry, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell I am letting him near my hair with a vat of dye.
Since then, I have seen numerous posts of women I know letting their husbands help out with the highlights or trimming of the locks. I am simply in awe of the bravery of these women. No lie. Although to be honest, I have mulled letting my middle school daughter take a stab at cutting it for me.
The Don’t Do It Crowd
I started contacting different hair dressers I know to get advice on how to handle cutting and dying at home. Very few wanted to go on record about it, not because they don’t want to help out a sister who is struggling with an overdue do, but because they have seen the damage that can happen when things have gone wrong.
Advice from an Expert
Finally, “Magic” Michael Davids, owner of hair and makeup salon Bouffant Delacroix in Melbourne, Australia agreed to help us out with some tips and tricks.
His first piece of advice is for those who may think this is a frivolous topic in the COVID-19 world. On the contrary, he emphasizes how very important hair is in the current climate. “A large part of our happiness comes from grooming ourselves, and part of our personal grooming is our hair. We can easily rate this as a priority by evaluating how much we spend at the hairdressing salon… I bet you wouldn’t tell your husband!!!” (See, another way it’s a marriage tester?) Davids rightly points out that for many of us, hair is a big part of our identity.
As for coloring your own hair at home, Davids’ advice is to simplify what you have done at the salon.
Avoid Box Colors
“I would recommend not to go to the supermarket and get box color. These products are very different from professionals’ colors. They contain very strong artificial pigments that adhere to your hair like superglue and a wrong step is very hard to correct by yourself let alone a hairdresser.”
“It may seem daunting at first, but there are some professional colors you can purchase online with corresponding peroxides to help you achieve a similar result on your roots as what your hairdresser has been doing,” Davids’ advises. He gave us the following guidance on dye:
Know Your Colors
You can look at a color chart online that shows you the depth and results for a natural color you want to always go for a base color. This means any color that has a code ending in the number 0. For example, 1.0 is black 5.0 is brown 7.0 is dark blond. These colors mixed with 6% peroxide will cover any light hair, including grey.
If you have a fashion color such as copper or red you will have to combine a separate fashion color with a base color of the same level in Equal parts. For example, if you want a warm red, you would mix 6.0 with 6.6 and 6% peroxide. 6.0 is the base color to cover grey and the 6.6 is the fashion shade. The 6 after the decimal point is the code name for red.
If your hair is a medium brown, even with grey and you want to go a light caramel. Choose a color like 9.11 and 9% peroxide the 9 is a light blond and the 11 (after the decimal point is the reflect, which is an ash color) mixed with the 9% that is a stronger peroxide, the ash will counteract the yellow tones that your natural hair will throw, resulting in a caramel. Please note that colors in a tube will not get you a plain blond, and it is never recommended to try to use tube colors to lighten both natural dark colors and any hair color that has pre-existing artificial pigment in it.
“In conclusion, it is always safer to do a color at home that is on the same level as your own hair color or darker,” says Davids. “Going lighter is trickier than it seems, and your delightful seemingly dizzy hairdresser who chats to you about nail polish colors has a lot more scientific knowledge than you might think.”
Cutting Hair at Home
“Cutting your own hair can be both challenging and fun. But there is a lot of room for error,” warns Davids.
“If you are cutting your hair at home, ensure that it is wet and combed through. Find the longest part of your hair on each side of your face and snip a small section (we call this a guideline) and be aware that when your hair dries, it will be at least one inch shorter that when it is wet. “
“Carefully take 1-inch sections from the bottom of your hair and cut them matching up with the guidelines you created around the front of your hair. You may choose to cut your hair in a scooped shape around the back. This is a safe option as it ensures you don’t cut the back shorter than the front. Keep taking 1-inch sections and comb the wet hair down to meet the previous section you cut. You will easily be able to see the sharp line of the previous section through the longer wet hair. “
“Blow-dry your hair and then use your scissors to cut in finer details such as layers around the front of your face and your bangs. Never try to do this with wet hair, because the water in your hair weighs down the natural bounce and direction of your hair growth pattern.”
Finally, Davids’ recommends good sharp scissors, strong hair clips and a good quality comb, and staying within your comfort zone.
As author of this article, I feel compelled to remember to tip your hairdresser well when we return to normal.
Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.