I’m lucky – I managed to squeeze in a haircut mere days before the coronavirus pandemic began, and so my straggly stray ends are now all safely hidden away at the bottom of a bin somewhere.
However, many people haven’t been so fortunate and – as things currently stand – if you aren’t living with a hairdresser, you can kiss goodbye to an enviably fresh cut for a while.
Of course, it’s not like we all have glamorous parties to trot off to at the moment. But it’s nice to take pride in your appearance, and a neat trim can do wonders for your sense of wellbeing.
Although I’ve essentially just been sitting at home on my laptop for two weeks, I’ve personally found that looking marginally better can be a good mood booster.
I’m not talking full-on makeovers over here, but a face pack or some nice smelling bubble bath can help remind you to take care of yourself in self-isolation. Even getting out of your pyjamas and brushing your teeth before midday can work.
With beauticians and hair salons having temporarily shut, many of us are attempting the sort of beauty treatments we would never previously dare approach.
This includes hair cutting, an art and a skill which takes years of practice and training to perfect. In an ideal world, you would only ever let a professional come at your head with a pair of scissors but, of course, things are currently far from ideal.
If you really can’t wait to tidy up your mop, then there are a few tricks and tips to bear in mind, unless you want to wind up red-faced and wearing a hat for every single one of your upcoming FaceTime meetings.
UNILAD spoke with Maddison, a 24-year-old hairdresser from Essex. Having qualified at the age of 18, Maddison has since gone on to further her knowledge through various courses, including an NVQ Level 3, and a Vidal Sassoon cutting course.
Maddison explained the many pitfalls an amateur hair cutter can fall prey to when making that first snip. And these blunders can be quite different depending on your gender.
According to Maddison, one of the biggest mistakes a woman can make is to split their hair into two parts at the back; bringing it round to the front, before cutting both sides straight across.
As she said:
Nope! Don’t do that, you’ll be better off chipping into it with the scissor facing up and on an ever so slight angle rather than cutting straight across.
Otherwise you’ll end up with graduation (where the top section of hair is slightly shorter than the underneath, creating a slight step), and the front (sides) will be shorter than the back. Do not attempt layers, it will end in disaster!
Maddison also added some expert advice for fringes:
When cutting your own fringe, do it little by little. [The] biggest mistake is cutting it when wet, it springs up when it dries and ends up too short. Use the same method of chipping into the hair so you don’t get a heavy line, and if you haven’t cut it straight, it’s less obvious as it gives a softer look.
Follow the guide of the fringe that you have, be careful not to add any stray hairs. If you have a shorter style, just leave it to grow, it’s much more complex and will end in major regret. Maybe just give your fringe a trim if it starts falling into your eyes, but be sure to stop there.
For men, Maddison also advised to keep things nice and simple, telling UNILAD:
You have two options here: shave it all to a one or two all over, or just let it grow. Not the answer you were looking for I know! With skin fades so popular these days, there is no way you, or another person in your household is going to be able to recreate that successfully.
Fading seamlessly is a major skill, so don’t just think ‘oh I’ve watched it be done before, how hard can it be?’. Hard! Don’t bother, trust me. If it’s something you have always wondered or fancied doing, this could be your opportunity to see what you look like with a nearly shaved head.
Still, shaving it all off isn’t as straightforward as you might think:
Don’t just go straight in with a 0, it’s way too harsh – a one or two will be a better look, just get someone to trim round your ears and back of your neck to neaten it up.
If you are happy to let it grow for a while, do the same, let someone just trim round your ears so it’s less annoying for you. Do not attempt to clipper the back and sides and leave the top long, you’ll be disappointed when the top doesn’t blend and you are left with a bowl cut!
Maddison also had some much-needed tips for some of the newly-emerged girlfriend-barbers out there:
Most of the dodgy haircuts I’ve seen so far have been on men. I think women at the moment are being much more sensible and leaving theirs alone!
Lots of captions for these photos have been things like ‘I let my girlfriend loose on my hair’. Girlfriends: for the love of god, stop, you are no barber, put the clippers down.
Internet searches for the search term ‘how to cut your own hair’ have spiked in recent days, and with many a restless evening ahead of us, it kind of makes sense to me that we will all inevitably get bored and start messing about with our appearance, and indeed each others.
However, it’s best to read up on this sort of thing before you go diving in with whatever sharp object you can find in the kitchen drawer. And with this in mind, it’s important to consider what sort of tools to use.
Most men will have a set of clippers laying around somewhere, so are good to go with those. Quite a lot of these sets come with a pair of scissors and comb. They are cheap, but are slightly better than your kitchen or nail scissors.
If you are really set on cutting your hair yourself, buy a pair of professional scissors. If you used kitchen or nail scissors you will end up doing more damage to the hair than if you were to just leave it alone, as those scissors are not sharp enough and will damage your hair by not blunting the ends off correctly, leaving them to split easier.
Men: do not take a razor to your head, stick to the clippers or you’ll end up with nasty gashes all over!
A quick check on a certain online shopping site named after a rainforest tells me there’s plenty of decent hairdressing scissors available for a reasonable price – though remember, delivery isn’t quite as regular at the minute.
Day to day, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your hair healthy and shiny without removing so much as an inch. Transformation and self care doesn’t have to be drastic, and you could well use this extra time indoors to try out all those hair treatments and glosses you always promised your hairdresser you would look at but never did.
If you aren’t leaving the house, why not see how many days you can go without washing your hair. Let the natural oils build up and replenish the hair, no one is going to see you anyway! Only brush your hair once a day, then maybe tie it back and forget about it.
Maddison suggests investing in a good hair mask, something that will nourish and repair your hair. In addition, use products that don’t contain sulphates, silicons, parabens, or drying alcohols in, as these will be much softer on your hair. Switching to better products and a hair mask will be better for you and more beneficial than trying to cut your own ends – your hairdresser will certainly thank you for it.
Most importantly of course, just look after yourself and your body as best you can, even if that simply means making sure to run a quick comb through your mane before starting your day – it can make you feel much in-control of everything.
And, of course, if you’ve already had a chop at your locks and ended up looking worse-off, don’t worry too much. It’ll grow back. Be kind to yourself and try to have a laugh and a joke about it if you can.
We’re all wading through uncharted territory here. In the last few days I’ve found myself weightlifting baked beans and going on virtual zoo visits. Just keep thinking about how great that first (professional) new hair feeling will be once we’re on the other side of all this.
It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.