Right at the very start of lockdown, I tried to buy hairdressing scissors because I have a fringe that grows and grows but I clearly wasn’t the only one with the foresight because, other than the most expensive, Japanese blades, there were none to be had. So, I bought some pet grooming scissors instead and have hacked away quite contentedly every couple of weeks or so. I can’t say that I’m replicating the hairdresser experience but it’s a wobbly edged fringe or hair to my chin and I’ve gone for the lesser of the two evils.
We’ve probably all been through various stages of hair despair and cannot wait for the re-opening (any day now!) of our beloved stylists. I couldn’t care less about a few stray greys but did start to mind about the lacklustre-ness of tresses that have seen no split ends removed for three months. It’s just, well, hanging and because I’m not used to having hair that hits my clavicle, makes me jump out of my skin from time to time when my eye unexpectedly catches something dark and spider-ish just above my cleavage.
However, lockdown has given me the opportunity to focus more on scalp health and general hair condition. I’ve tried the ‘co-washing method’ which involves washing only with conditioner but drew the line at the ‘no-poo’ movement (no pun intended) – a collective term for washing hair without shampoo, instead using a variety of options such as water only or vinegar. While co-washing did leave my hair soft, it also needed washing more often as it dulled so quickly, so I reverted to normal shampoo and conditioner but keeping the conditioner well away from my scalp, focussing on hair ends instead.
I had, at the beginning, a madly itchy scalp (a stress response, I think) that was greatly helped by Ameliorate’s 7 Day Scalp Care Regime Kit (£45). It contains Transforming Serum, Clarifying Scalp Exfoliant, Clarifying Shampoo, Smoothing Conditioner and Soothing Scalp Essence which all brings down scalp inflammation and tightness. A regime of any kind is helpful when stress level are high because it gives a focus that’s useful in distracting. Scalps are temperamental things – if there’s one single product to recommend it’s a scalp exfoliant to rid the scalp of sweat, oil and flakes and allow your hair to push through freely (Ameliorate’s is ideal and a full size is £20). They’re weird to use – a bit like rubbing sand over your head – but worth the effort to properly massage directly onto the scalp and it all rinses away nicely.
I’d all but given up on home-dyeing (through laziness, I’ll confess) but as my hair went through a multi-shade journey as the sun bleached it and greys poked through I took it up again. It was far easier and quicker than I remembered so I’ll happily do it again. For Zoom calls, I’ve been using root sprays when I remember – BioKap Instant Root Spray is £13.99 very well spent – more for the pesky grey sideburns than the actual roots, although I am warning video callers that I have a LOT of hair these days!
There’s been a big relaxation of beauty ‘rules’ across the board so in some instances I’m seeing beauty colleagues make-up free for the first time ever. I like it and find it hard to imagine going ‘full face’ ever again. Social media is embracing a more natural look – during lock down I’ve posted bare skin, no-make up pictures for the first time ever to Instagram and they’ve had a hugely positive response, especially amongst older women who often need more encouragement about their naked faces because they’ve had longer to be told it’s not okay to look your age.
No hair-cutting has also been something of a revelation to older women who have discovered that they rather suit their longer, more unruly hair having previously bowed to the outdated convention that anyone over ‘a certain age’ should cut their hair short. My mum in her 80’s has already told me my hair is too long for someone of my age. Ahem! I’m grateful she doesn’t have Instagram. A pixie cut can look stunning and accentuate angles beautifully but impossible to keep while the expert scissors are locked away.
New shampoos can breath life into hair that’s got the lockdown blues – Fulvic Acid Shampoo (£25) is a wonderful all-rounder especially if your locks are thinning or shedding more than it used to. It’s a wonderful scalp cleanser with 65 minerals targeting both hair and scalp health and an easy way to nurture your tresses back into the big, wide world. With the doors to hair happiness about to open again, and the straggly ends all gone, we’ll hardly know our glamorous selves.