Posted by Chris Graham on

Whilst in this time of self-isolation, confusion and irrational concepts, it is always easy to over react and think that I can try this myself or get someone else to do it. My advice is DO NOT do this. We as professional hairdressers and barbers go through, thorough training taking into consideration fundamental aspects before we start cutting your hair. These include head shape, hair density, growth patterns, type of hair, lifestyle, problematic areas, maintenance, facial features, male pattern baldness, face shape, texture, movement and recession areas to name but a few! By combining all of these together we hope to create something that has been tailor made to suit YOU the individual. To execute these fundamentals, precision, balance, focus and sectioning need to be applied and if your current hairdresser or barber has done all this for you should be very happy! That being said if someone else attempts to try give you a “tidy up” or a “quick trim” they will sabotage all the hard work and money you have spent getting your hair to the desired shape it may be.

What I do recommend however on men is simply using a small trimmer or clipper to tidy up around the edges. By this I mean tidy up the natural hairline (do not create a new one!).  Doing this will really transform the whole hair by making it appear a lot neater as we tend to see the over grown parts around our ears and necks, which is when we normally decide it’s time to visit our local barber. This can be easy enough to do if you take your time and use the edges of a clipper to just remove whatever has overgrown from the natural hairline. Just this simple method alone you will give the hair a whole new appearance and look a lot neater and tidier which will tie you over until your next haircut…whenever that may be.

On women’s hair it’s much easier to conceal that the haircut is overdue unless you wear it a lot shorter. For those with longer hair I recommend letting it grow out and again wait until the hairdressers open. It’s easy to put your hair up in a ponytail out of the way if it is causing annoyance. For those with fringes or bangs, PLEASE do not attempt this on your own. We have all seen those disastrous videos online of people hacking their fringe off and it appears so much shorter than they originally thought. This has a lot to do with the tension you are holding in the hair, again a method trained hairdressers will only understand. If however it is in your eyes and really causing you to be irritated let the hair fall into natural fall (meaning let the fringe sit as it natural would without any combs or fingers holding it and slightly trim the ends of it until out of your eyes (be extremely careful!), again waiting for the salons to reopen so the professional can then take over and tailor it to your specification.

It’s also worth to mention the dangerous implications of using scissors and clippers around anyone’s face if you are not trained. This is especially advised in attempting to cut children’s hair as they ae more likely to move unexpectidly. Proceed with caution.


In terms of colouring we have to get real here. There has always been an ongoing debate with box dyes vs in salon colours. You have all seen your hairdressers face when you mention you have used one, here is why, let me break it down for you.

A box dye will generally come with a colour tube (Pigments) and a bottle of developer. Whoever decided to purchase this is completely different to the next person who purchases it, meaning that no persons hair is the same! So why is the box dye made to suit everyone….? Exactly It’s not! Chemicals are not to be played with!

Hairdressers use specific professional use only colour lines and their dedicated developers. We are trained to look at what the clients needs are meaning, their grey coverage percentage, natural base, porosity of the hair, strength of the hair, levels of lift needed etc and we then use the required developer we feel will give you the desired results without ruining the integrity of your hair. We will also use specific ratios to dilute the formula based on what your hair needs us to do to it. A box dye will not do any of this. You will simply get a standard developer whatever it may be (they all have different percentages), and told to mix them together, meaning the results will be highly unpredictable, usually leaving the client unhappy. This then leads to a colour correction needing to be done by a hairdresser, which takes A LOT more time, costing a lot more money to fix.

Permanent Box dyes contain a lot of ammonia, PPD and metallic salts. Whilst these can be dangerous to anyone, they are especially dangerous to pregnant women. These are chemicals that have been removed by most professional colour lines or at least kept to a minimal percentage, as they can cause irritation and allergic reactions. A professional hairdresser again will use every tool at his or her disposable to keep the level of ammonia and PPD to a minimal by incorporating alternative methods and advanced technology that the professional colour lines now offer to salons only. Box dyes can be high on the PH scale and be very alkaline were as we as hairdressers try to keep to the most acidic route as possible, again trying to protect the integrity of your hair. Hairdressers will also carry our relevant testing prior to the colour service i.e. Skin testing.

A solution to the problem would be to contact your hairdresser directly. Everyone has different skin tones and some suit warmer colours and some suit cooler, ashy colours. This can really make a difference to someone’s appearance. One wrong tone can knock off months of hard work by the hairdresser. I’ve seen several hairdressers offering to make their tailor-made colours for their clients hair and leave out to them, with specfic instructions on what to do. Whilst not all hairdressers are doing this it would be an idea to contact yours and see if they are offering this service. Otherwise Root sprays are ideal for everyone at the moment as they can hide greys and simply wash out. These are available at most pharmacies and health and beauty stores. These were designed to buy the client an extra couple of weeks for their colour which is exactly the situation we find ourselves in now.

If, however you decide to ignore the advice given and place a box dye in your hair PLEASE make sure it is either semi or demi permanent. (ask a sales assistant for advice). This will give the hairdresser a bit of room for manoeuvre if a colour correction has to be performed as they can break through these colours. I also advise to perhaps buy 2/3 box dyes of the same colour depending on the length and thickness of your hair as you certainly do not want to run out half way through the process, another factor that professionals can adhere too. Make sure to have even saturation and place the colour where it is needed the most i.e. grey hair.

Those that receive any bleaching services PLEASE DO NOT attempt to do it yourself. This is an extremely powerful chemical that’s needs specific attention, expertise and placement. Again, different developers perform differently and can cause severe burning and irritation on the scalp, whilst also destroying the hair shaft by blowing open the cuticle, which is nearly impossible to repair. It also can reveal really undesirable undertones (Brassy, orange, yellow) which you will be stuck with until you see your hairdresser again. Please do not attempt to just place a dark colour over the top to hide these results as again this is extremely hard to remove. Professional hairdressers will also include bond protectors to protect your hair for bleaching like OLAPLEX which will save the integrity of your hair, Box dyes do not offer this add on.

For toning hair, again hairdressers have been trained to get your tonality to the desired shade. This can usually only be done on hair that has been lifted to the required level for the tone to deposit correctly. By added toners on top of already existing tones you are building up a lot of pigment that will have to be removed eventually causing unnecessary damage to the hair. Adding direct dyes like, Red, Green or Blue are especially hard to remove and require stripping and bleaching so again do not use this time to try something crazy. In the meantime, I recommend using pigmented shampoos closest to the colour you desire until returning to the salon, only using these as needed or when hair has completely faded. These are also available at most health and beauty stores. A lot of hairdressers now have their own websites where they sell professional shampoos that they can tailor make with pigments to suit your colour, (I recommend Alfaparf Semi de Lino line) so again it may be an option to contact them and ask for advice.

For techniques such as Balayage, Full Head Foils and Ombre’s etc again please do not attempt this. These are techniques and methods that require specific placement to create dimension and a certain style. It could go horribly wrong and again a colour correction would need to be done to fix any wrong doings.

I really recommend using this time to give your hair a complete break for any chemical or mechanical services. Use conditioning treatments, and masks to repair the hair back to its original state by giving it the protein, keratin and amino acids needed. Mechanical services such as straighteners and hairdryers can also be kept to a minimum to allow the hair to repair as these can be just as severe on the hair shaft as the cosmetic colour. By doing all of this you are leaving the hairdresser with a blank canvas to return you to as good as before! They will see exactly where the hair has overgrown and can resume from where they left off. Myself I have chose to let my hair grow out and give it a break from styling! Even though I have the tools and equipment needed to do the job I too am going to follow my own advice.

I hope all this information helps you in your decisions and please show support for your hairdresser or barber by helping them in this unique situation as most of them are self-employed. Buying vouchers, liking and sharing their pages, and purchasing products from them will ensure you are doing your part in helping them in whatever way you can. They are highly relying on you to return to the salons when they open so they can do what they love to do! if any have you have any queries feel free to contact me on my social media platforms.

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