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Shortcut to salon perfect locks in lockdown

Call it self-care, call it self-respect, call it a way of giving structure to your day, but whether you're furloughed, home-schooling or in back-to-back Zooms, there's a lot to be said for being able to look at yourself in the mirror (or on a video call) without groaning.

Nobody's suggesting you have to spend hours styling your hair every morning, or put on a full-face of make-up to receive an Amazon delivery, but if, as lockdown persists, the sight of split ends and greys is starting to get to you, Femail's beauty series has the answers.

In the first of our three-part guide to staying glossy in lockdown, we've drawn on the expertise of some of Britain's most brilliant hairdressers to put together a foolproof guide to colouring, cutting and much more besides. Here's how to make your crowning glory shine . . .

Femail has drawn on expertise of some of Britain's most brilliant hairdressers to put together a foolproof guide to colouring, cutting and much more besides

GET YOURSELF ZOOM-WORTHY STYLE 

According to Sam McKnight, whose clients have included everyone from Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista to Lady Gaga and Princess Diana, you should 'only cut your hair if you feel confident. If you're even slightly nervous about it, don't do it, because getting it wrong can be very traumatising'.

Sam McKnight Easy Up Do Texture Spray, £25, sammcknight.com

Instead, he recommends using lockdown as a time to experiment with new products and learn how to 'get great volume, blow dry your fringe and use dry shampoo properly.' And then use these skills to give yourself great Zoom hair.

'Look at the thing that's bothering you. If it's that your fringe is too long, can you sweep it to the side? Maybe you can scrape it back and leave some tendrils at the front that you use a curling iron on?'

But it's not just fringes that require attention on Zoom.

'If you've got long hair, that often gets chopped off by the screen, so I think it can look lovely to have your hair up so you can see the neck. And the beauty of Zoom is that nobody sees the back, so it doesn't matter if it's not perfect.'

Kit: Sam McKnight Easy Up Do Texture Spray, £25, sammcknight.com. GHD Rise Hot Brush, £169, ghdhair.com.

HOW TO REMOVE EXTENSIONS

Hair extensions are usually applied to natural hair, as close to the scalp as possible. But with time, the natural hair grows out, and the extensions can become tangled as the bonds are no longer close to the scalp. Usually they're removed every six weeks or so and replaced close to the scalp again, but if you can't get to the salon and want to take them out, there is a solution.

To remove tape extensions, which sandwich a section of hair between two adhesive tapes, you'll need some oil — it doesn't matter what type, olive oil will do — and a tail comb.

Pro-Tip Pin Tail Comb, £1.35, capitalhairandbeauty.co.uk

'Using the comb, or anything small and pointy like a skewer, poke between the two sandwiched bits of hair to slightly open it,' says Danielle Modlock, hair extensions technician at the Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London's Chelsea (richardward.com). 'Then get the oil onto the sticky part and just pull them apart. You'll need to use a comb and a bit more oil to remove any of the adhesive residue.'

If you have bonded hair extensions that were fitted using a heat gun to melt the bond to a section of the natural hair, leave them alone.

'I would never recommend taking bonded hair extensions out yourself,' says Danielle. Without the professional solution and an understanding of how to break down the bond and remove it safely, you could really damage your hair.'

Although they may not look great, keeping extensions in won't harm your natural hair, so just keep it well conditioned and wear it up in a bun or a plait where the extensions will be less apparent.

Kit: Pro-Tip Pin Tail Comb, £1.35, capitalhairandbeauty.co.uk. Miaroma Sweet Almond Oil, £5, hollandandbarrett.com.

GIVE YOUR HAIR A HOLIDAY

Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, £10, hershesons.com

'This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a reset, and give everything a break,' says Luke Hersheson, who has looked after the locks of Victoria Beckham, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson. 

'That doesn't mean not doing anything, but instead experimenting with using less heat and allowing your hair's condition to improve.

'Try a diffuser, scrunch dry with some product, or let your hair air dry for a bit before twisting it into a few little buns and pinning to your head before undoing for a natural, undone blowout look. 

'It's also a chance to experiment with conditioning oils and masks you might worry would leave your hair lank — no problem if you're not going out.'

Kit: Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, £10, hershesons.com. Imbue Curl Restoring Intensive Mask, £8.65, superdrug.com.

KEEP TEXTURED HAIR HYDRATED

Flora & Curl Floral Hydration Mist, £16, antidotestreet.com

Keeping afro hair hydrated is always important, but the combination of cold, dry air and not being able to get to a salon makes it more important than ever. Winnie Awa, founder of Antidote Street, a website dedicated to solutions for textured hair, suggests a daily moisturising spray and also advocates simple styles.

'You could put your hair in cornrows. Or try a slicked back bun or ponytail. Do this at the beginning of your week and keep it in until wash day. For those with shorter curls, opt for keeping hair wrapped in your favourite silk scarf or headwrap.

Kit: Flora & Curl Floral Hydration Mist, £16, antidotestreet.com. Knots Headwrap, £24, knots-uk.com.

FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

'This is the year of reinvention and revival,' says Errol Douglas MBE (erroldouglas.com), whose clients include Naomie Harris and Charlize Theron.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your new look. 'I would advise people to start piecing together a collage that they can show to their hairdresser when salons open again.

'It's about putting together the idea of the look that you want. Make a plan that will give you something to look forward to.'

COLOUR YOUR HAIR WITH CONFIDENCE

Normally get your hair coloured professionally? Why not ask your stylist for advice. Chances are they're desperate to get back to the salon and will be happy to chat through what you need.

That said, there are some types of colour that should be given a wide berth. 'I would never recommend bleaching your hair at home,' says colourist Jo Hansford MBE (johansford.com), who has worked with everyone from Nigella Lawson to the Duchess of Cornwall. 'There's a real danger of it breaking off. Similarly, don't try highlights at home, but what you can do in both these cases is use a touch of dry shampoo at the roots —gently brush it through to blur the line between light and dark.'

The Miracle System, £29, joshwoodcolour.com

For most people the biggest colour concern is roots. Once your hairdresser has recommended a colour to buy, Jo suggests only worrying about the bits you can see.

'I only do my parting and hair line. Use Vaseline around the hairline before you start so you don't give yourself a werewolf-like line of darker hair. Then, starting from your parting, work from your hairline back to your crown. Repeat in parallel lines across the whole of your head.' While you can use a brush to paint the colour on, beginners will find a nozzle bottle easier.

'If you've got blonde hair that's gone brassy or brown hair looking orange, a blue tinted shampoo (shampoo with a blue tint which removes red and orange tones) is a great option. Use it over a few shampoos and it will build up and neutralise the brassy or orange shades.' And if all this seems daunting, temporary cosmetic cover-ups, like Color Wow Root Cover Up or Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush, pictured, are the safest and easiest options.

Kit: Batiste Dry Shampoo Original, £2.99, nationwide. The Miracle System, £29, joshwoodcolour.com. Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo, £9.45, allbeauty.com. Applicator bottle, £1.60, ellisons.co.uk. Color Wow Root Cover Up, £28.50, colorwowhair.com.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CUTTING YOUR OWN HAIR   

If anyone can teach you how to do a DIY cut, it's George Northwood. He's spent much of lockdown creating videos for his YouTube channel (youtube.com/MrGeorgeNorthwood) including talking some of his A-list clients, such as Alexa Chung and Claudia Winkleman, through cutting their own hair. His golden rule is to buy a pair of hairdressing scissors.

'I'd advise cutting hair dry,' he says. 'If you cut it wet, it shrinks when it's dry and you can find you've taken too much off.'

He also suggests you cut your own hair, that way you only have yourself to blame. You should always take off less than you think, working a tiny bit at a time.

If anyone can teach you how to do a DIY cut, it's George Northwood (pictured) 

For a lot of styles, think about cutting visually to create a look that you're happy with.

'If you have curly hair, look at yourself in the mirror and work out which bit is bothering you, and just trim that off,' says Northwood. 'Never cut straight across, always have the scissors at an angle, and twist the section before snipping into it.' Overgrown fringes seem to be one of our biggest bugbears. George suggests following the line originally created by your stylist, and cutting the same amount off throughout.

Glamtech Salon Services S1 Scissors 5.5 Inch, £25.99, sallybeauty.co.uk

'Take your hair between your middle finger and your index finger so that the line is parallel with the ends of the hair — if you've got a blunt fringe, your fingers will be horizontal, but if it curves at the edges, they'll be at an angle. Hold the hair with a bit of tension, and take your scissors so they're at a 45-degree angle.'

If it's layers growing out and giving you a mullet, or split ends that are the issue, George has another technique.

'Part your hair straight down the middle as if you were going to do pigtails,' he says. 'Then bring the hair on each side in front of your shoulders.

'Look in the mirror and work out how much you want to take off, then use the same technique as for a fringe.'

Kit: Glamtech Salon Services S1 Scissors 5.5 Inch, £25.99, sallybeauty.co.uk. Salon Services S1 Thinner Scissors 5.5 Inch, £25.99, sallybeauty.co.uk. Soft-Touch Sectioning Clips, £8, store.toniandguy.com. Cutting Comb, £0.99, superdrug.com.

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