By Marissa DeSantis
For some of us, we’ve nearly gone a year without so much as a trim or gloss, while others may have been lucky enough to score a color or cut more recently at home (or in the salon depending on lockdown restrictions). Either way, your lack of salon visits has probably left you with roots that are long past overgrown or some serious split ends.
To help temporarily solve your color and style woes, we spoke with Rita Hazan Salon founder and celebrity colorist, Rita Hazan, and master stylist, Nelson Vercher.
Even if you were able to get an in-salon or at-home appointment before the COVID numbers spiked this fall, by now, you’ve probably noticed that your roots are coming back. Luckily, Rita Hazan says covering up your roots at home is quick and easy with the help of a touch-up spray. “It won’t mess up your color, and instantly, your roots are temporarily gone,” Hazan says of her own Root Concealer Touch Up Spray, which stays in place until you shampoo it out.
To cover up those first few inches of roots in seconds, Hazan says to use the Root Concealer like hairspray, holding the can six to eight inches away from your hair as you spray it. “A little goes a long way,” she says, explaining, “You don’t need a lot of product, and the pin-point nozzle makes it easy to spray directly on your roots without covering up your highlights or darkening your hair.”
If you just need a subtle all-over color refresh, Hazan recommends going for an at-home gloss. But if you’ve noticed your grays are coming through, you’ll need something a little stronger. Your first plan of attack should be reaching out to your salon to see if they are making at-home color kits. “We sent our clients their formulas in take-home bottles with instructions and all necessary tools, including a how-to video,” Hazan says of ensuring her clients get their color right at home.
If box dye is your only option, Hazan says to read all instructions carefully as they can be tricky. “Go for natural colors, and always pick a neutral color to keep the brassiness away,” she advises. “If it’s permanent color it will last four to six weeks, while a semi-permanent will wash out a little every time you shampoo.”
Sorry to break it to you, but if you were a bleach devotee in pre-pandemic times, Hazan stresses that you shouldn’t take matters into your own hands. “Leave it to the professionals,” she says. “I don’t believe it’s ever smart to bleach your own hair at any time because it’s a harsh chemical and so many things can go wrong,” she explains, citing hair breakage and orange or uneven color as the most common DIY mishaps.
If your roots are so overgrown that cover-up spray isn’t helping, try a few styling tricks instead while you wait to get back to the salon. Nelson Vercher suggests wearing an oversized headband if you’re a fan of accessorizing. “And don’t blowout your hair too straight,” he advises. “Textured hair hides roots better because the hair is not as flat to the head,” he explains. The pros of keeping your natural texture or adding some into straight hair with a curling wand and texturizing spray will make all the difference.
At this point, if you started the pandemic with bangs and you still have them, you’ve probably already mastered the at-home trim. But if you need a refresher, Vercher says to separate your bangs from the rest of your hair before you get started. With your bangs either dry or damp, “point cut them to help prevent bangs from getting a hard line.” For anyone doubting their DIY skills, Vercher advises that you sweep your bangs to the side or gel them back and out of the way as they grow out.
This is another case where less is more. Vercher assures that you can do a mini at-home trim if you can’t bear to look at your dead ends another day. “Part your hair in the middle, all the way to the nape of your neck,” he says of getting started. “Then, bring both sections to the front and trim the ends. This is the most I would suggest doing on your own, no matter what length hair you have,” he says of avoiding anything complicated like trimming layers.
You can also just leave your hair as is—no matter what the texture or length—concentrating instead on keeping your hair as healthy as possible. Vercher advises you skip blow-drying, flat ironing, or curling, as heat styling will further dry out your hair, and avoid over-washing your hair, too. To keep hair moisturized, use deep conditioning treatments or oils regularly.