With lockdown forcing the nation to spend more time at home than ever before, many of us have taken a DIY approach to maintaining our hair.
Thankfully, hair stylist and specialists have given their expert advice on what to avoid and which common mistakes to look out for when it comes to looking after our locks.
Ricky Walters, director of SALON64 in London, told how certain hairdos, like having a ponytail, could cause the hair to tear and fall, while Paul Bryan, salon owner and the man behind the haircare brand A Stylist’s Secret, warned of the danger of lightening your hair at home.
Elsewhere, signature colourist at Gielly Green salon Shona Bain also said that home dyes could cause a build up that’s hard to shake – causing your ends to be permanently lighter than your roots.
Hair specialists, including Ricky Walters from SALON64 in London, have revealed the everyday mistakes that can cause long-term damage to your hair (stock image)
‘Colouring your hair at home is a risky business and can do serious harm to your hair if not carried out correctly,’ Ricky said.
He warned to be particularly cautious when using bleach, and to stay away from any product promising to lighten hair.
‘We are not talking about your hair just being left feeling a little dry, but in a worst-case scenario feeling no hair at all,’ he added.
‘Bleach when used incorrectly can damage hair to the point of breakage and loosing hair.’
Ricky when on to add that boxed hair dye comes with its own set of issues, too.
‘Box dyes may appear as if they are fixing a problem when first applying, however box dyes are a hairdressers worst nightmare,’ he explained. ‘Box dyes are impossible to remove from the hair and hairdressers can be battling against them for over five years after application.’
Seven hair don’ts by Paul Bryan, founder of A Stylist’ Secret
1. Using any kind of bleach without professional supervision generally doesn’t end well. Orange and damaged hair is a frequent result.
2. Avoid trying to lighten your hair at home. If you must use a home colour then opt for something similar to your own base shade.
A word of warning on going darker – it’s extremely difficult to instantly correct.
If you don’t like it and involves processes that can lead to damage, many home colours that purport to be temporary in my experience are quite often not.
3. Hairdryers are now hotter than ever before – always use on medium heat settings. As well as being less damaging, it will stop you burning any product you have applied – especially volumising products
4. The brushes you use are important. Cheaper plastic brushes will tear at your hair, so opt for real bristle where possible and something that has some give so it moves with your hair.
5. Don’t spend too long blow-drying or straightening one piece of hair as this will cause damage.
Try gently rough drying until 70% dry first, then each section should take less drying.
6. Avoid split ends caused by the misuse of hair straighteners. They should be used to finish a blow-dry, not do a blow-dry. If they are necessary always use a heat protection spray first.
7. Using bands to tie hair back too tightly can cause the hair to snap. This is especially more prevalent now with gym and fitness classes so popular. So, for general day-to-day wear, tie more gently and use softer spiral bands or a scrunchie.
He added that the safest bet is to opt for temporary, non-permanent colours if attempting a DIY job at home.
‘Be warned you may want to be a dark brunette now, but will you still want to in 5 year’s time? The safest option when colouring hair at home is any temporary, non-permanent colour,’ he said.
‘Application is key to the overall end result. During lockdown I’ve seen some incredibly patchy results from a lack of clean sections and not working methodically. Take your time when applying the colour.’
Shona Bain agreed, explaining that home colours can really affect your roots.
‘Your mid lengths and ends will start to become darker and darker and there will be a noticeable difference from the colour around your roots,’ she said.
‘If you want to cover your roots at home try the temporary root sprays and powders.’
‘They cover amazingly well and wash out of the hair so there will be no permanent damage to remove when you can finally get back to the salon.’
PRODUCTS TO USE AND AVOID
Rather than taking a chance on a DIY ‘do, hair products such as masks, mousses and specific shampoos may well just be the safest way to look after your hair during lockdown.
However, Ava Holland, artistic director from Gielly Green salon, explained overusing such products has its downfalls.
‘Hair is like anything else if you over use anything or just constantly use the same products it will damage the hair and make it look dry and lifeless,’ she said.
‘If you do use a mousse, hair spray and/or dry shampoo every time you wash your hair, then you need to use make sure you use a good prep shampoo to remove the products properly from the hair and scalp to avoid a build-up,’ she advised. ‘They are called cleansing shampoos.’
The expert went on to say that using products too often can be nefarious for the scalp as well as the hair.
‘When the scalp has a layer of product on it constantly it is harder for the new hair to come out, which over time your hair will become thinner quicker,’ she said.
Ricky agreed, adding: ‘Less is more! Home care products are of course designed to make our lives easier, however over-using these products can have the opposite effect.’
‘Any products containing a vast amount of alcohol within the ingredients Is something to avoid and not use too regularly,’ Ricky explained.
‘Alcohol does help those with more fine hair achieve volume, however too much used too often will dry hair out to the point of no return.’
While these sound good in theory, Ricky warned that overusing such products could achieve the complete opposite.
‘Yes we do all want strong healthy hair however these products are what we call protein products,’ he said. ‘Using an excessive amount of protein on the hair will over time have the adverse effect and leave hair brittle. In some cases, it can even cause breakage.’
He went on to suggest that varying the products you use to wash your hair could be the best way to solve the issue.
‘Alternate between a strengthening shampoo and conditioner and a moisturising range,’ Ricky added.
Ricky went on to discuss the small everyday mistakes people make that can have a lasting impact on the condition of their hair.
‘I see people damaging their hair on a daily basis without even realising how,’ he said.
‘A tight slick pony tail is a huge trend at the moment but incorrectly executed, it can be damaging on the hair,’ Ricky explained.
‘Try to change the location you wear the ponytail – especially if worn like this often. Tension alopecia is caused from pulling on the same areas of the hair too hard too often and something I see a lot with tight pony tails.’
Weighing in on the age old question, Ricky sided with those claiming daily washes weakens the hair.
‘Hair does not need to be shampooed every day,’ he said. ‘This bad habit washes away the hairs natural oil and can leave you with both damaged hair and scalp.’
Using excess heat
When it comes to using a drying tool, Ricky said hairdryers, straighteners, curling irons and other hot tools are all out to damage your hair.
‘Try not the rely on these tools every day and limit for once or twice a week. Using excess heat dries out the hair making it become week and split,’ he said.
‘Split ends travel up the ends of the hair and can only be removed by cutting them off! No long haired lady wants to resort to that.’