Dos, don’ts & disasters with caring for hair during a pandemic

Looking at YouTube, it’s clear: people are seeking ways to change up their hairstyle at home during quarantine. Wading through the thousands of videos one thing stands out, home hairstyles fall into three categories: successes, failures and extreme disasters. The students of California State, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), represent different points of this scale.

Starting with short and simple haircuts,  fourth-year Calvin Norwood says he has cut his own hair twice since the pandemic began. 

“I was pretty nervous when I cut my hair,” Norwood said. “I always hear about bad experiences when people try cutting their own hair, but I figured now would be a good time to try it since I’m not going out much this year.”

When doing his own haircut, Norwood said it took a lot longer than if he were to go to a salon, however the added perks included no wait time or smalltalk. “My strategy was to cut my hair bit-by-bit until everything seemed even,” Norwood said. “As it went on, I felt more and more sure that I would end up cutting until there would be nothing left.”  

“I was also concerned about the back of my head, but I figured people would mainly just see my hair from the front on Zoom,” Norwood said. 

While he was pleased at how his hair turned out, he wouldn’t rush to do anything too complicated without a trained hairdresser.  “I’d need a good reason to do anything crazy to my hair at home,” Norwood said. 

Third-year Jiya Day is a little more adventurous with her at-home hairdos. She has been coloring her own hair since long before the pandemic began. “I initially got my hair dyed for the first time when I was 13 and my mom did it,” Day said. “From that moment on, the colors and styles got crazier and crazier.” 

The first time she dyed her own hair was when she moved away to college. “I was so used to my hair changing so much at that point so I wasn’t nervous at all,” Day said. 

While Day might not have been nervous about adventurous hairstyles, she is no stranger to dye jobs gone wrong. “I went blonde once and that was a big fat no.” Currently, Day sports a bright green hairstyle which she said is the craziest one yet, due to its bold and unusual color. 

“I don’t really have a process of picking a new color,” Day said. “It’s really just what I’m feeling at the moment.” 

Day prefers to do her own hair because of cost and comfort, but offered some advice to students who want to do their hair at home. “Stay away from box dye! Box dye will ruin your hair quicker,” Day said.

Throughout the pandemic, many hairdressers on social media have advised against doing at-home hair. Johnathan Van Ness from the popular Netflix show “Queer Eye,” said on his Instagram “Don’t try new ‘lewks’ during quarantine.” 

“The Late Late Show,” on CBS even did a bit about their staff cutting their hair called “Late Late Staffers Give Themselves Quarantine Haircuts,” where staff showed their at-home hairdos with mixed results. If students are wondering if they want to change up their hairstyle or simply manage their mane during quarantine, here are some tips to follow:

Students ShouldStudents Shouldn’t
Use sharp scissors, preferably haircutting onesUse dull scissors not made for hair
Have a quarantine buddy check the back of their haircut or lend a handWing the back of their haircut and hope it looks ok
Try temporary hair coloring first, if they have never used itDecide they are suddenly going to color their hair bright purple without doing a strand test or looking at tutorials 
Look for tips from professional hairdressers onlineFollow random tik tok hair tutorials
Finish the whole haircut and brush, wash, and blowdry it before they decide it looks awful.Give up halfway through the haircut. Sometimes it looks weird when it is halfway cut.

The best time to try a new haircut is this winter. If students end up with a disaster haircut, beanies are in season. No matter the result, they should remember they are beautiful on the inside and it will grow back soon.

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