Following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a potential timetable for easing lockdown restrictions, all hopes of a haircut have been dashed until July at the earliest, leaving many of us worried about what state our hair will be in by then.
UK hairdressers have been closed for seven weeks since the start of the lockdown, and with at least another six weeks to go, Femail spoke to the experts to find out how to avoid a frazzled head of split ends in the meantime.
If you’re not brave enough for a DIY job with the scissors, here’s how to emerge from lockdown with longer and healthier hair – including embracing scalp massages, making sure there’s plenty of vitamin A and iron in your diet, and ditching the hair dryer.
Experts give their top tips on how to keep your hair healthy at home while we wait for hairdressers to reopen (stock picture of a woman with beautiful hair)
Adee Phelan, the man behind David Beckham’s famous mowhawk, gave Femail tips for both men and women on what to do if you’re deciding to cut your hair at home, and how to avoid a hairy disaster.
Adee, who teamed up with the cosmetic industry to donate 100,000 unused products to the NHS, said keeping things simple was the best policy when contemplating a haircut at home.
‘But if you have split ends that are really bothering you, you can successfully trim them, following these simple steps and with a little help from a friend.
‘Comb hair straight back off your face, so it’s to the back of your head and flat down your back.
‘If you live with someone ask them with scissors or clippers to draw a straight line at back of middle of head. – when hair falls forward it should be even and balanced. – using any scissors remove, evenly, whatever you think is necessary. – Do not get creative and attempt layers or a new look, it will end in disaster,’ he said.
KEEPING YOUR SCALP HEALTHY
Anabel Kingsley, Philip Kingsley Brand President and Consultant Trichologist said that taking care of your scalp was very important to grow healthy hair
For Philip Kingsley Brand President and Consultant Trichologist, Anabel Kingsley, scalp health is the basis of healthy hair.
‘Your scalp is your hair’s support system – and so a healthy scalp is key to the production of healthy hair,’ she explained.
‘During lockdown, your scalp’s condition is just as important as ever – if not more so – as stress, which we are all feeling, can negatively impact the health of your scalp and, subsequently, hair growth,’ she added.
‘This is especially true if you already suffer from dandruff or other scalp conditions.’
She said it was best to keep washing your head regularly, but to skip on blow-drying it.
‘The best way to maintain a healthy scalp is to shampoo regularly. Your scalp is simply an extension of the skin on your forehead. I.e. it’s a living tissue that sweats, produces oils and sheds skin cells. Like the skin on your face, it needs be cleansed frequently to be kept in optimal condition,’ she said.
Home-made hair mask
If you don’t have a hair mask handy at home, try this DIY mask for dry hair:
– 2 eggs
– 2 half eggshells of olive oil or other light vegetable oil
– Half ripe avocado
– 2oz purified water
– Work the mixture into your hair with your fingertips, leave for 20 minutes and then wash off.
It’s a great opportunity to take a break from blow-drying, curling tongs and straightening irons – all of which can dry-out your hair and make your ends brittle and split.
‘All that extra time saved by not having to commute also gives you ample time to look after your scalp; now that morning routines aren’t as hectic, you don’t have to rush your shampoo and can give your scalp a good massage (at least 60 seconds is ideal),’ she added.
HOW TO KEEP HAIR HEALTHY STAYING AT HOME
‘This is a wonderful opportunity to let your hair have a breather,’ Adee said.
‘Leave it in its natural state, refrain from drying it out with straighteners / curling tongs/ hair dryers, hairsprays etc.
‘Indulge in conditioning treatments, generously worked from roots through to ends, and leave in overnight to really nourish your hair.
‘You can hide massive sins with a top bun. Don’t try to perfect it but let it be dishevelled, wild and free.’
TO FACE THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Adee also laid out the dos and don’t of how to treat your hair if you have to go out and are self-conscious about roots.
‘Do not attempt to bleach or highlight your hair. Unless you are trained this will only result in a disaster,’ he said.
‘For one, you could have an allergic reaction to the product. Second, you are not a professional and will not have the training necessary to do it justice,’ he warned.
Adee Phalen is sending out over 200 gift boxes a day of cosmetic products as a thank you to help lift the spirits of each and every NHS care worker. Follow @adee_phelan5 on Instagram for more advice on how to keep hair healthy and looking good during this period
‘However, you can successfully use all over colour, simply following the easy instructions on the packaging.
‘And to disguise grey hairs or colour over roots whatever the colour may be, boots do very effective pens paints for this that I highly recommend as a safe and easy way to temporarily resolve this,’ he added.
Adee, who issued a call to action for people to donate their unused toileteries so he could send 200 gift box a day to NHS workers, also gave advice on how to care for men’s hair.
‘Most clippers come with a set of eight guards,’ he explained, ‘I suggest using the biggest guard on the clipper and rotate all the way around the head for a smooth even look.
‘If you want a shorter look at the sides, try guard six first and see how you go. If you want a shorter look then use guard five before trying four…. If you’re feeling super confident, you could even go a little shorter.
‘The most important tip is to do it in gradual stages because you can always take more away but you can never put back,’ he added.
MEN WITH LONGER HAIR
Longer hair for men is making a come back into fashion once more, so now is your chance to get through that awkward stage of growing it.
Adee said the ‘golden rule; if attempting to cut your hair yourself was to do it in stages.
‘If it’s bothering you, just invest in some balm aid, cream or wax and grease it back for now,’ he said.
‘You may still want to tidy up the neck and side burns, so get the clippers out and address these areas,’ he added.
Foods for healthy hair
Janna Hope, a Nutritionist and Linwoods ambassador, provided her nutrition tips to ensure good hair growth
Janna Hope, a Nutritionist and Linwoods ambassador, provided her nutrition tips to ensure good hair growth.
1. Ensure adequate omega-3 consumption
Omega-3 has been associated with improved hair growth. Ensure that you are consuming one portion of oily fish per week (as recommended) or one source of plant-based omega-3 daily. Two tablespoons of Linwoods Milled Chia Seed or Organic Milled Flaxseed daily would provide adequate intakes of omega-3. Try adding these to your porridge or yoghurt in the morning.
2. Eat your Protein
Protein plays a fundamental role in the structure of hair. Consuming adequate protein is essential in achieving long and strong hair. For the average individual, recommendations suggest consuming between 0.8 and 1g of protein per kg of body weight per day. In practise this means a 70kg individual would require between 56g and 70g of protein per day. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses are all great sources of protein. It’s important to consume a range of sources so be sure to mix up your choices! It can be challenging to get to the shops for fresh meat and fish during lockdown so make use of canned fish, beans and store cupboard nuts and seeds.
3. Prevent Iron and Vitamin B12 deficiencies
Iron and Vitamin B12 are two of the most common nutrient deficiencies which can lead to hair loss. Meat and fish are a great source of iron alongside plant sources such as nuts, green leafy vegetables and seeds. It’s recommended to combine plant sources with a source of vitamin C to help aid absorption. For example, squeezing lemon juice onto your greens can increase the amount of iron your body can absorb from the greens.
Vitamin B12 tends to be found in animal products although some fortified plant milks will contain a small amount. It is generally recommended that individuals on a plant-based diet supplement with Vitamin B12. As supplements can interfere with medications it is important to seek professional advice before supplementing.
4. Eat your carrots Vitamin
A is particularly important in maintaining healthy hair. This vital vitamin is required to produce Sebem, the component which provides moisture to the scalp. Liver, mackerel, tuna and eggs are animal sources rich in Vitamin A. Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash and pumpkin also provide beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A.
5. Snack on nuts
Chronic magnesium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk in hair loss. Ensure you are consuming green leafy vegetables regularly and try switching your refined grains for whole grains. I also recommend replacing high sugar snacks for a handful of Linwoods Active Nuts as this is a brilliant way to increase magnesium in your diet. Additionally, you can try bathing in an Epsom salt bath as the magnesium in the salts is absorbed directly through the skin.
6. Don’t skip the yolk
Egg yolks are rich in vitamin B7 (otherwise known as Biotin). Biotin plays an important role in the production of Keratin, a protein which plays an important role in maintaining healthy hair. Sunflower seeds, organ meats, peas and dairy products are also rich sources of Biotin.
7. Engage in self-care activities
Self-care activities are more important now than ever before. High levels of stress can have knock on effects on the health of your hair. High levels of stress can deplete magnesium levels in the body which in turn may increase a risk of hair loss. Therefore, engaging in self-care activities as a way of managing stress can be beneficial in keeping stress levels down and maintaining adequate levels of magnesium. Enjoying a bath, relaxing with a cup of tea and a book or simply taking yourself out for a walk can all be great way to help manage your stress levels.