In a live broadcast last week, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper rued the big bald spot on the left side of his head. Chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta guffawed on the split screen as the silver fox turned to his right to show it to the camera.
It was a self-hair buzz gone bad. Luckily for Cooper, the haircut fail isn’t noticeable from the front.
The American journalist’s need for regular haircut is understandable, given his on-cam job. But the urge to get a regular haircut, even under—or especially under—quarantine, is universal—see the number of memes of people cutting their own hair, with mostly hideous and laughable results.
Hair experts advise us to get a haircut every four to 12 weeks, depending on the hair’s length and condition. But with hair salons closed, some people feel the need to keep a regular schedule, no matter the cost.
Hairstylists generally frown upon you messing with your hair. “You can trim your own bangs if it’s bothering you, but do you really want to risk doing more?” said Henri Calayag, whose clients include Dawn Zulueta Lagdameo, Tweetie de Leon Gonzalez, Tina Ocampo and Kaye Tiñga.
Calayag said he has been getting too many calls from clients requesting for home service, but he keeps begging off, for fear of his safety and that of his staff.
He concedes that people could instead color their roots if they’re bothered by gray hairs showing, like Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, who posted a video on Instagram showing her roots. “Better if you have someone who can help you do it,” he said.
“Just tackle the roots, your hairline and temples, never mind the rest of your head. That would have to do for now.”
There are good hair color brands in supermarkets and drugstores. What you want to avoid is ammonia in the ingredients, since it’s damaging to the hair. To be on the safe side, go for brands sold at Healthy Options, he said.
You can lightly wash your hair precoloring, but save the conditioner for postcare, Calayag said. He suggests coconut oil, avocado, honey and olive oil, and aloe vera as good masks to nourish color-treated hair.
“Everything you need to pamper your hair, whether you color or not, is already in your kitchen,” Calayag said. “Mayonnaise is good for dry hair. Egg whites are strengthening. Lemon juice is great for the scalp. Baking soda and talcum powder are great dry shampoos.”
When applying hair masks, rinse after 20-30 minutes. You can do this every two weeks, he said.
If you insist on trimming your bangs, he said, make sure your scissors are very sharp. Blunt scissors result in uneven trim. Also, do it dry, he said, so you know you’re getting the desired length right away.
If you have longer hair and need to nip at the ends, it’s best to ask a housemate’s help.
Very few bravely make a go at self-haircutting and emerge unscathed, like French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld, who posted on IG a video of herself lopping off the ends of her long, layered bob.
Watch haircutting video tutorials online, if you need to, Calayag said. While it’s easier to trim shorter hair, there’s also greater risk since there’s very little room for error. Case in point is Cooper.
Men who use electronic clippers to buzz their own hair must remember that the higher the number in the setting, the safer it is. Cooper said that when he buzzed his head, he thought it was at no. 7, when it was actually no. 5, which meant he cut off more hair than he intended.
Again, dry cutting is best when using a clipper, just like they do in barbershops, Calayag said.
“In the end, I would insist on embracing what you have, your longer and salt-and-pepper hair, at this time,” said the hairstylist. “We must have some humility to accept our situation. Our last thought should be vanity.”