Whether your locks are long or short, light or dark, curly or straight, it’s easy to go wrong when you take matters into your own hands, which is why stylists urge caution to anyone tempted to try some DIY haircare.
Not only could you end up with a dodgy fringe or brassy blonde ‘do – if you’re not careful, you could cause untold damage to your tresses. Here, 10 hairdressers share their DIY haircare dos and don’ts.
Don't Color Your Own Hair
“Please don’t color your hair at home,” says Emma Combe, ambassador for Moo & Yoo. “We had a lot of extra work after damage to your lovely locks last lockdown!”
If you want to disguise your natural color, she advises, “use root concealer, in spray or powder forms”.
Combe also warns against cutting your own hair, saying: “It may seem like a good idea at the time, but we can guarantee you will regret this fairly quickly! If you absolutely have to, cut only your fringe. Cut it dry and cut less than you think you need to.”
Use Products as Directed
“Sounds small but ‘using as directed’ will go a long way,” says Aveda global artistic director of texture, Renee Gadar. “Especially now that we’re seeing a surge in at-home hair treatments.”
That means following the product instructions properly. If you don’t, Gadar says, you could “end up drying your hair out further and not reaping the full benefits of what it was formulated to do”.
Don't Bleach Your Own Hair
“Hair lightening at home is the biggest color risk you can do yourself,” says Rae Palmer, owner of WeLove Salon. “Lifting natural color takes in-depth knowledge and expertise to get right.”
Palmer warns that if lightning goes wrong, “not only will you end up with orange, ginger, or yellow hair but the cost of fixing it is not worth stress”.
Be Careful with Box Dyes
If you absolutely cannot resist the urge to dye your own hair, you must read the instructions very carefully and follow them to the letter.
“Common mistakes when applying box hair dye at home include applying too much, letting it process for too long, and applying it unevenly,” says Belle Cannan, co-founder of Salon Sloane. “All can have a huge impact on the desired result and can ultimately lead to more cost when eventually getting to the salon to rectify.”
Use Quality Hair Tools
Joana Neves, editorial director of Alterna Haircare, stresses the importance of preventing damage by using high-quality hair tools.
“Always use a good hairdryer with a nozzle to help stop frizz, static, and flyaways,” Neves says. “A good brush is also really important – make sure you are using the right one to suit your style. A paddle brush is great for blast drying and smoothing hair before finally styling with a round brush, which will add volume and body.”
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Give Your Tresses Some TLC
“I think the biggest at-home haircare mistake is one of neglect and thinking that how it looks doesn’t matter,” says hairdresser Michael Van Clarke.
He says that spending an increased amount of time indoors is a “fantastic opportunity to reclaim natural hair health. Less killing it with hot tongs and excess coloring. More air drying and lavish healing treatments.”
Ask Your Hairdresser for Help
“If you are struggling with your color, try quick fixes like root sprays that disguise roots and wash out,” says Caroline Sanderson, director, Ego Hair Design in Inverness.
“And reach out to your salon and stylist as they may be happy to give tips to help you style and manage your locks.”
Soothe Your Scalp
“I’d encourage quality over quantity when it comes to hair washing and styling,” says celebrity hairstylist Ciler Peksah on behalf of Batiste.
“Shampooing your scalp well and using nourishing hair treatments, like masks and oils, will only benefit your hair – whereas washing your hair too often could lead to a flaky, itchy scalp. Our scalp needs our natural oils to help lock in the moisture and protect our hair follicles.”
Turn Down the Heat
Joseph Ferraro, UK brand ambassador at Authentic Beauty Concept, recommends keeping heat styling to a minimum.
“Using heated tools often can add extra stress to the hair,” he says.
Don’t Wash Your Hair Too Often
“Try to wash hair less often and limit the drying,” says Joe Hemmings, owner of Bloggs Salons. “When you do, make sure to use a heat protection product and use repairing hair masks every week.”
Worried about how your hair looks on video calls? Hemmings says to zhoosh up your look with pretty headbands, clips, and ponytails: “Everyone is in the same boat, so try and use this time and be creative with your hair and experiment with accessories.”