Hair Hacks

Quarantine Hair 'Do’s'—and Definite 'Don’ts'

From whether to cut your own bangs to ways to stealthily go gray, NUOVO Salon Group's Terry McKee is answering your quarantine hair questions.

By Heather Dunhill May 4, 2020

Despite the temptation, it's not a great idea to cut your own bangs.

Image: Shutterstock

Let’s be honest: when we hear a TV host tease that the next segment will teach us how to do well, any hair technique at home, we're glued to the tube and often do the unthinkable—wait through the commercial break. But most at-home hair care instructions are uninspiring, to say the least. I don’t know about you, but I felt for Jenna Bush Hager recently when celeb stylist Chris Appleton walked her through a root touch-up with powder on The Today Show. I mean, I was uncomfortable for her. 

But quarantine hair questions are pressing. Should you trim your own bangs? Color your own hair? Embrace your natural gray?

I decided to go local for the answers and tapped NUOVO Salon Group co-owner and master stylist Terry McKee, who has been styling the locks of some of the most discerning Sarasotans for more than four decades. McKee takes on the toughest hair dilemmas of the moment and delivers sage advice, with a little wit and a lot of wisdom. 

Let’s begin with an easy one —errr, not really — how do we cut our own bangs?

"It’s not the greatest idea to cut your own bangs, especially when you can always swoop them into a stylish side bang.  However, if you find yourself in need, follow these steps:

  • No further than one inch back from the hairline, section the bangs off in a small rounded triangle, from the edge of eye to edge of eye. 
  • Gather all the hair at the ends, pinching the bottom of your bangs with your fingers resting on the bridge of your nose. Remember that your bangs will draw up after the cutting, so make a benchmark of where they are when you begin.
  • Then go in with your scissors vertically, clipping in 1/8-inch increments. This technique will spare you from the “my mother cut my bangs” look.

"Most importantly, be conservative as you go—you can always take off more. Something else to think about is a strategy that a friend shared: she’s been trimming just a little bit every week, which saves her from doing a big job all at once."

What’s the best way to go gray?

"If you don’t want an overly obvious line of demarcation, consult your expert colorist. I say this because of hybrid coloration. Gray hair is a mixture of light and dark; it’s not simply gray, and that needs to be taken into account. Heavy highlighting and/or a silver toner can aide in the transition of moving from colored hair to silver hair.

"But I stress that this needs to be facilitated by a seasoned colorist. Especially if you want a stunning transformation, like the looks Jack Martin created for Sharon Osborne and Jane Fonda. He has experience doing more than 500 hair transformations to gray, so keep that in mind."

OK, OK—temporarily coloring gray hair it is. How do you recommend we do this?

"Temporary sprays are always the best. I particularly like Style Edit, because it’s easy and the colors are accurate yet forgiving.  Keep in mind that hats, scarves and different ways of styling your hair will also work wonders. Just have fun with it." 

Should we ask a spouse or friend to trim our hair?

"What may start out as a well-meaning trim could easily turn into a disaster in untrained hands. Keep Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule in mind, which is: to become a master at anything, you must practice correctly for 10,000 hours to become an expert.

"So with that, if you do go ahead with a cut for or by a loved one, my advice is to go slow because a little goes a long way."

Aveda’s Nutriplenish Leave-In Conditioner. 

It’s all about self-care these quarantine days. How can we give our hair a little love, too?

"Now’s the time to order something you haven’t tried before. A good place to start is with hydration, which is the No. 1 hair challenge. Aveda has launched a new line called Nutriplenish, which addresses hydration beyond just moisturizing. And let’s face it, your hair may have gotten overlooked while you’ve been binge-watching Ozark. With Nutriplenish, you can go for a light or deep conditioning, or try the lightweight leave in spray, which hydrates and replenishes the hair for up to 72 hours. It also detangles and protects the hair from thermal styling. Simply mist lightly and comb through towel-dried hair."   

How do you think COVID-19 will change our salon experience?

"There are many variables within this equation. First and foremost is the health and safety of our team and our valued guests. While we have always been sticklers about cleanliness, these circumstances have charged my perspective in regards to the critical and necessary task of defining new standards of safety and sanitation. We will be going beyond what the state will mandate.

"During the quarantine downtime, my partner James Amato and I have been relentlessly researching and preparing to implement numerous new protocols, including everything from personal protective equipment to scheduling longer hours with fewer clients.

"Like all salons, we are waiting for the go-ahead from the state government to re-open, and we want to be more than ready to welcome you back as soon as that’s possible."

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