By Travis Mounts
You’ve seen the Facebook meme that has become popular since we’ve all started staying at home: “Don’t cut your bangs.”
That is good advice, according to Wichita area stylist Suzie Cote. In face, she says, you really shouldn’t cut your own hair at all.
But as non-essential businesses like hair salons and barber shops remain closed, you may find yourself needing to trim your own hair or the hair of a loved one. If it comes to that, Cote has some advice.
First, however, are some reasons why you should leave your hair alone as long as possible.
“Usually the biggest reason is you don’t know what you’re doing,” Cote says. It’s very easy to get uneven results.
And the meme is correct – you really should leave your bangs alone. Cote says it is very easy to cut them too short or to get them uneven.
“I won’t cut my own bangs, and I’m licensed,” Cote said, laughing.
Another problem with home equipment is not having the right equipment. There is a difference in quality between what the professionals use and the craft shears or fabric shears you have at home, and the edge is different. If you are worried about split ends, keep in mind that using the wrong kind of scissors could actually create more split ends.
If you mess up your hair badly enough, there is only one thing your stylist can do – cut your hair even shorter.
Nobody knows when the salons will reopen, and when they do it is likely that your stylist or barber will be very busy. Many of us are continuing to work from home, and we all want to look presentable when it is time for a Zoom meeting or Facebook Live chat.
“These are special circumstances. We don’t know when we’ll open again,” Cote says. And given our circumstances, Cote offers some tips in case you do decide to take your hairdo into your own hands.
• Let it dry. Wet hair stretches, so don’t cut your hair (or a love one’s hair) right out of the shower.
“Your bangs will stretch and shrink,” Cote says. Longer hair is more forgiving. “Bangs can be more forgiving if you bite into them a little at a time.”
• Cut just a little at a time, and be mindful of the tension in your hair. You can always cut more off, but you can’t put it back on.
• Less is more. Follow the lines in your hair. Hair cutting is basically lines, angles and blending.
For guys using clippers, start at the longest level available. Start at the nape of the neck.
This time may be more difficult for guys, who tend to get their hair cut more frequently. Cote says men often get their hair cut as often as every three weeks, and usually wait no longer than six or eight weeks.
Women may come in every three to five weeks on the frequent end, or may wait as long as 12 or 16 weeks between salon visits.
“I think our bobs and pixie cuts will be more desperate, and people with bangs,” she said.
She joked that mullets – that popular 1980s style – may gain even more traction with our salons closed.
“We don’t need people to push us forward in that trend,” she said.
You don’t need to worry about washing your hair every day. In fact, it is advisable to wash only every two or three days. However, if you are washing your hair daily, the adjustment can be a challenge.
Many people wash their hair daily because they don’t like having an oily feel. But that oil is how hair naturally protects itself. Washing you hair every day makes your hair produce more oil, and you will notice that oil more when you stop washing your hair daily. It will take a few weeks for it to balance out.
By washing your hair less often, you won’t strain your hair’s natural oils. That will help keep your scalp from drying out. Fewer washes also help you keep artificial color longer, and that could be very important to people who use hair color to cover the gray.
“Right now, you can allow your hair to acclimate by skipping a day or using a dry shampoo,” Cote said.
Finally, Cote noted, you should remember everyone is facing the same challenges.
“We’re all in this together. Everyone has shaggy hair and roots showing. We all look a little funky these days,” she said.
Cote worries about her clients who might tackle their own hair. If you do cut your own hair and mess it up, everything will be alright, she says.
“I don’t want them to be afraid to admit it,” Cote says.
She has seen people stop going to their hairdresser or barber after a botched home hair cut. Instead, just see your favorite stylist when the shops reopen.
“We get it,” she says.