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Hacks for home hair care from a local expert

Susan Jefferies, an instructor at the Academy of Cosmetology in Dartmouth.
Susan Jefferies, an instructor at the Academy of Cosmetology in Dartmouth. - Contributed

That internal voice pipes up when the Zoom call is about to begin and it’s asking an annoying question: will my roots show?

We’re deep into the fourth week of social distancing and making only essential trips into the outside world. Hair care is taking a beating.

Susan Jefferies, an instructor at Academy of Cosmetology in Dartmouth for 12 years, has plenty of advice, hair hacks and reassurance to offer. Right now the school is shut down and students are studying at home.

“Being a hairdresser myself, I have friends and family that are pretty desperate,” she said. “My cousin just sent me a picture of her roots and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen them. She’s like, 'oh my gosh it’s so bad, I’ve been wearing a baseball hat.'”

Many stylists are urging people to wait until salons reopen because most are small-business owners and count on their regulars to keep afloat.

“They need them not to do their roots (at home) so they can come to them when this is all over so they can keep them going,” Jefferies said.

But she acknowledges it’s tough when you’re constantly puffing your bangs out of your eyes and your colour is resembling skunk stripes.

Plus, there’s something to be said for the notion that looking good makes you feel good.

“For most women, you need that for your mental health and your own sake of feeling good about yourself. Most women colour their hair and it makes you feel good, it makes you feel pretty and you feel like new,” she said. “I just feel like even though we say wait because we need to help small businesses, it’s hard to when you’re feeling crappy, stuck in the house and you look in the mirror and you’re like ‘oh my God, I have grey showing.’”

It’s important to take care of yourself in days like this, she added.

Katie Manuel is a student at the Academy of Cosmetology in Dartmouth. She is practising on a mannequin at home.
Katie Manuel is a student at the Academy of Cosmetology in Dartmouth. She is practising on a mannequin at home.

Colour

If you’re going to grab a boxed colour off the shelf, Jefferies said your best bet is to opt for a lighter shade because it’s easier to fix than darker dyes if it goes south.

And if you mess up the colour, don’t keep applying more in an attempt to fix it.

“If you mess it up once, don’t try to fix it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Colour is fixable for the most part if there isn’t a multitude of things being done to it to try to fix the first mistake.”

Zoom

The bad news is yes, roots are likely visible in a video conference, especially if there’s good lighting.

“I think there are ways to get around it like a more severe part to the side. If you’re a centre-part kind of girl, it’s going to show more in a video but if you side part it, it will probably be less noticeable,” said Jeffries.

On the next grocery run, you can buy a can of washout root spray or use mascara for dark hair touch-ups.

Cuts

Women are more likely to be adventurous and cut their own hair (or the kids' hair) then men, Jefferies said, especially their bangs.

“Even if you watch the prime minister, he has hair hanging over his ears so everybody is not doing much because there’s not much they can do. Some people are fearful to attempt it on their own but I think women are a little more daring and they’ll cut their own bangs.”

And don’t worry if a bang trim goes horribly wrong. It will grow back.

“There will be some awkward stages, but keep reminding yourself it’s going to grow back, it’s no big deal.”

Scarlett Clark is a student at the Academy of Cosmetology. Students are now practicing on mannequins at home.
Scarlett Clark is a student at the Academy of Cosmetology. Students are now practicing on mannequins at home.

 

Men's cuts

Unless it’s short and they can buzz cut it themselves, men usually won’t bother cutting their own hair, Jefferies said. Men are more likely to just wait it out.

“It’s kind of a popular look lately for guys to have a longer style so I feel they could maybe trim their neck a little with a razor or something,”

Spring hair care

Spring in Nova Scotia typically brings plenty of rain and frizz. But Jefferies has a hack for that: “If you don’t have access to product because a lot of salons are closed, coconut oil is a good home remedy because it’s a natural oil. A lot of times if people have frizzy hair and it’s getting more humid, you can use a little of that in your hair.”

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