Should you cut your own hair during the new coronavirus pandemic? Most experts say no

WATCH: Here are some hair tips from professional stylists

Some provincial governments have ordered non-essential businesses like hair salons and barbershops to shut down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This means many people who are in need of a trim or colour may be attempting to self-style at home.

As tempting as it may be, though, hairstylists say you don’t want to make an expensive mistake by cutting or dying your own hair.

“They’re going to think it’s a quick fix,” said Natalie Navarra, a Hamilton-based hairstylist at Pure NV Salon and Spa.

“Come time that we are able to offer services again, we will have to backtrack, fix and correct , resulting in a higher cost.”


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Navarra, who has been styling hair for 12 years, said a lot of clients have messaged her asking if she will do their hair at their homes, even though health experts are urging people to practise physical distancing. 

She responds to those requests by saying no, as she is unable to provide services because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

But this answer isn’t good enough for those who desperately want their hair done, leading them to take matters into their own hands.

People have taken to Twitter to share their haircut mishaps, including a user named Matt Ellentuck who said his trim went “terribly.”

Francesca Testaverde, a haircutting specialist and manager at Her Studios in Burlington, Ont., echoed Navarra’s stance and said it can be hard to fix a DIY hairdo. 

“What can seem like a minor mistake to them is a huge mistake on the hairstylist’s end,” she said.

Testaverde, who has been a hairstylist for eight years, said there is no guarantee a home dye job will turn out nicely, either — especially when the client uses a $10 box of drugstore hair colour.


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Their hair could turn an unwanted or unexpected colour, she said, which can chemically change hair.

“It makes it much more difficult on our end because we’re going to have a lot of mistakes,” she said.

“We’re begging everyone to not take matters into their own hands.”

Testaverde also noted that if someone cuts their hair too short, hairstylists can’t promise it will be easy to blend. Clients may have to just let it grow out.


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Hairstylists said you should only cut or dye your own hair if you know what you’re doing.

If it’s something that you know how to do, you are comfortable with and you feel that it’s not going to affect your hair, then go ahead,” Navarra said.

Some of those people who felt confident enough to style their own hair have taken to Twitter to show it off.

Barbers also advise against at-home cuts, unless you are a professional.

“To cut hair properly at home, you need the right tools and experience,” said Sean Frederick, a Lachine, Que.-based barber at Braids and Fades.

You would need clippers and accessories, an outliner, scissors, two mirrors, a comb and alcohol, he said.

Adam Silva, a Toronto-based barber at Glassbox Barbershop, said cuts are not as simple as they look and require a level of expertise.

“We take this craft really seriously, as we work with geometric shapes, understanding head shapes and growth patterns so your hair looks the best,” he said.

“There is no reason for anyone to look good. Enjoy being a yeti and see a professional when is over.”

To help out clients, Testaverde has been posting Facebook Live videos, telling people what to do and not to do with their hair while in quarantine.

Her biggest piece of advice is to remember that you are at home either alone or with family, so give your hair a break.

“Put down your curling iron and put down your flat iron,” she said.

“Don’t use these things on your hair that are going to damage it. Then you won’t need to cut your hair and you won’t have to worry about split ends.”


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Self-isolating at home is also a good opportunity to not wash your hair every day and use a hair mask or leave-in conditioners, Navarra said. 

“Give your hair a break and enjoy the natural look.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

amanda.pope@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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