How To Leave Lockdown With The Best Hair Of Your Life

by Olivia Cox January 27
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So here we are. Three weeks deep on lockdown 3.0 and already feeling the burn. From pacing room-to-room, to floundering from lack of routine: all the fun of lockdowns past has come flooding back. Only this time it’s January, a month that in even precedented times was rarely a particular favourite.

And the real kicker? We got here direct from Tier 4, which means no-one has had access to ‘personal care’ since that weird lull in December post-lockdown 2.

In some ways, we are old hands at this by now. Shockingly brilliant WFH fails are getting less and less, and I haven’t witnessed a spectacularly mis-judged camera angle on Zoom for a while. But in other ways, we have been flung right back into the flailing limbo that was most of 2020. There are many reasons why this sucks, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’m focussing on hair (yes, I know there are far worse problems out there. To quote Aussie, “there’s more to life than hair but it’s a good place to start”. And yes, I just quoted a shampoo bottle. That’s the level we are operating on rn).

I spoke to a couple of my favourite hair stylists to get some tips on how to come out of this latest lockdown (eventually) with less horrifying hair that last time. They have lots more on their own instagram pages, too. Jack is creative director at Neville Salon, in Belgravia, and Gustav owns his own salon, Gustav Fouche.

Here are their hair rules to live by…….

1. Step away from the scissors

The utter boredom and monotony of lockdown has seen many of us find time-filling tasks that we would never have found time for previously. Colouring books, banana bread, seed planting….. we’re seriously into DIY rn. But the advice from Jack and Gustav was strong:  Do. Not. Cut your own hair. Accoring to Jack,  “A DIY haircut is impossible to get right. Cutting hair has so much to do with head position and body position, which are impossible to get right if cutting your own hair. Gustav added “to cut your own hair is like gambling: don’t cut hair you are not willing to lose. A bad or wrong haircut can set you back months of growing time”. Apparently Gustav won’t even cut his own hair despite 20 years of experience. So yeh, that’s the level of NO we are operating at here.

2. Get your brush reps in

Jack recommends doing it on the daily, even if your hair isn’t knotty. When you brush your hair, this brings blood cells to the scalp which is great for the health of the hair and hair growth stimulation. But pick your moments. Gustav insists on not brushing the hair when it’s wet. He explained: “hair is at its most elastic when wet and is at its most prone to breaking. If you rough dry it off a little, the hair will be stronger and more resilient to the brushing”.

3. Get picky about ingredients

Lockdown can be a great opportunity to prioritise hair and scalp health, so make sure you’re using the best possible quality products. Things to watch out for? Sulphates strip moisture from your hair and silicones act as a barrier, blocking nutrients and moisture from entering the hair, which means you get no real benefit form the product. Jack recommends Olaplex, which is a bond rebuilder that works on a molecular level to repair damage. The same goes for any styling products – checking that your serum doesn’t contain silicones. Gustav recommends Leonor Greyl Serum de Soie Sublimateur.

4. Mask wisely

It can vary mask to mask, but in general, masks will stop working after around 25 minutes, as it has penetrated the hair as much as possible. In cases of extreme dryness, you can rinse and repeat, but Jack’s benchmark is generally once a week. There is, however, a fine line – Gustav explained: “hair is a combination of protein and moisture, adding too much protein can break brittle hair. You should always maintain a healthy balance of moisture and protein”. Apparently chemically treated hair (e.g bleach blonde) is particularly vulnerable to this.

5. One size does not fit all

Just as everyone’s skin needs different regimes, so too is everyone’s hair unique. Getting or maintaining healthy hair requires identifying exactly what your hair needs. With years of training and experience under their belts, the best way to take the guesswork out of haircare is by asking your stylist. Put your Zoom skills to good use by setting up a virtual consultation is a great way to kick-start your haircare regime.

6. Let your hair down

The lack of going anywhere more exciting that the kitchen rn means  many of us are scrapping it back into a ponytail all day to get it out of the way. If you fall into this category, choose a band that is soft and stretchy to avoid causing breakages,

7. Keep your cool

When blow-drying your hair, rough dry as much as possible before going in with a hot tool, to limit the amount of direct heat. And always use a heat protector. Gustav recommence removing the nozzle from your hairdryer, since this is designed to concentrate heat which makes it very easy to over dry the hair, causing the most damage.

8. Sleep on it

Overnight, hair can get knotted from the friction of moving around on your pillow, so Jack recommends tying long hair loosely up. Gustav’s advice was similar, favouring  a scrunch overnight and a silk pillowslips .

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