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A bad COVID-19 hair day? Let it grow while self-isolating, hairdressers advise

When it comes to your appearance while self-isolating, hairdresser Lydia Boulert advises people to make the best of a bad situation. “I guess it's time for them to experiment with their hair,” she said.
Marcus Tignanelli previously partnered with Eenchokay Birchstick School on Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario to teach students the fundamentals of hairstyling. Submitted Photo

When it comes to your appearance while self-isolating, hairdresser Lydia Boulert advises people to make the best of a bad situation. 

“I guess it's time for them to experiment with their hair,” she said. “What else are they going to do?”

Boulert, the owner/operator of Creative Hair Designs & Tanning in Powassan, Ont. has been a hairstylist since 1987. 

She closed the business, for her husband's safety, a week ahead of the provincial order on non-essential businesses. Boulert planned to return this week expecting the worst of the pandemic to be over. 

But now clients are calling her asking for advice on doing their own haircuts and dyes at home. 

“I had somebody call me up who wanted a mullet,” she said. “All I said to them was short on the sides and long in the back. Google it because it's hard for me to explain what we would do.

“And, actually, he didn't do too bad of a job. He sent me a picture,” she laughed. 

Boulert said she can’t offer much advice on cutting your hair from home. It’s best to have another person cut it and to try to stick to the basics. 

“If they're only cleaning the tips off then it's not so bad,” she said. “If they start layering it, then it's a whole different ball game. You don't know what you're doing. You can mess it up.” 

Boulert said she encourages her clients to experiment within reasonable means. 

“I mean, there's nothing that we can't fix as hairdressers afterwards, so if they're willing to learn and experiment, this is the time.” 

However, there's more to a good haircut than picking up a pair of scissors or razor, warns North Bay, Ont. hairdresser Marcus Tignanelli.

"I would say there's no reason you can't grow your hair long right now,” Tignanelli said. “Look in the mirror and ask yourself, should you be leaving the house during social distancing and COVID-19? If you're not supposed to be leaving the house, why do you need a haircut? So wait and support your local hairdresser once this is all over."

A bad haircut “can take up to six months to grow out,” Tignanelli added. 

If you’re desperate for a cut, get someone else in the house to do a simple trim around the ears or toward the ends of the hair, but don't go any further. 

“That's when you can get into giving yourself a bad haircut that will take much longer to grow out then as opposed to just waiting for your hairdresser, who will ultimately really need the income.” 

Tignanelli said he also has received a lot of texts from clients asking what they should do with their hair. 

He said some larger businesses in Toronto have opted to offer custom kits of hair dye to be sent to customers' homes. 

“You call in, you say who you are and you say what you usually get done for your colour. They make like an at-home professional version. Then it's just up to you to apply it. So that's one kind of cool thing that I've seen some salons offering. “ 

Boulert’s advice for cutting bangs is to wet them for a clean cut. But they will shrink when they dry, she advised. 

Boulert said she doesn’t recommend any of the dye products or bleach you can pick up at the pharmacy or grocery store because, she said, they will dry out your hair. She said she understands people might be getting desperate, and recommends root touch-up products over re-dyeing hair. 

“As long as they don’t go too dark with the colour, we’ll be able to fix it,” Boulert said. “Because dyeing it, if you go too dark, it's difficult to bring it back lighter. It makes the hair really like damaged, because you have to lift the colour out. So if they're going to colour their hair, they're better off to go light than too dark.” 

For Boulert, she said the most difficult part of being closed is trying to keep busy, as well as missing out on the social aspect of hairstyling. 

“My clients miss me, I miss them,” she said. “There's a bond that you build between your clients. They're not just clients. They become family.

“I call them and check on them once in a while if I have some that I think may need a phone call or give them a call and see how they’re doing and try to keep that access to them. They can call me anytime they want,” she said.

Mackenzie Casalino is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter based out of the North Bay Nugget