In hairdressing, it’s not business as usual. With beauty salons and barber shops closed due to social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, people are forced to simply make do. What that means depends on your hair type and hair style.
To address home hair care concerns, this editor talked with two licensed Harlem hairstyling professionals, India Mercer, owner of India Hair Salon (102 W. 134th St., NY 10031) and Chloe Michelle White (no relation to this editor) owner of Harlem Hair Salon (539 Lennox Avenue, NY 10027), both of whom offered several helpful tips.
Ms. Mercer opened India Hair Palace two years ago. A full-service salon, Hair Palace features cuts, perms, shampoos, wash/sets/blow dries, braids, and weaves. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about your hair.
According to Ms. Mercer, hair must be protected. At home, your hair should be washed only once or twice a week to preserve the hair’s natural oils. Use a leave-in conditioner, or at the very least, regular conditioners after shampoos are a must to help maintain soft, healthy hair.
If your hair is natural, it should be braided or styled in two-stranded twists. Keep hair moist with a light, liquid moisturizing crème. Don’t color or perm your hair unless there’s someone at home who can help you. If your hair is straight, less is more when it comes to hot irons, and blow drying. The same holds true for combing and brushing your hair. Know that you lose a number of strands of hair each time you comb and brush, so treat your hair and scalp gently.
If you wear a weave, wash your hair less since water loosens a weave. At bedtime, wrap your weave and cover it with a scarf. As you move your head while lying on a pillow or sofa, your weave loosens and you lose strands of hair, so be gentle in your movements. Weaves should normally come out or be redone every eight weeks. Have a friend or relative help you detach the weave from your hair or net. Be careful. Only cut the thread and not your hair. When the weave comes out, just wear your hair naturally until you go back to the salon. Hair needs to rest!
Keep your hair in natural state. If it’s wavy, keep it that way. Your scalp needs to breathe. This is also a good time to adopt new hair styles. Push hair up, back, and wear a headband or scarf. Be creative and love your hair.
“Think about your scalp the way you think about your face,” said Chloe Michelle White, owner of Harlem Hair Salon. A full-service salon, Harlem Hair Salon provides weaves, wigs, braids, perms, cuts, wash/sets/blow dries, and conditioners. For braided hair, it’s important not to have the braids put in too tightly. To clean and care for your scalp, dip a cotton ball into witch hazel or your favorite facial astringent and gently clean your scalp. Don’t leave braids in too long.
A lot of what you need for your hair is in your kitchen. For instance, eggs are healthy conditioners for your hair. (For facials, use the egg whites: let it dry on your face, and rinse off.) Mayonnaise makes for a great hair conditioner as well. At home you can also use a dry shampoo to wash your hair, and be careful not to have too much heavy oil on your scalp and hair. However, you can use a tiny bit of olive oil for shine.
When you are taking out your braids, be sure to comb each plait out bit by bit from the end to the root to make sure it’s not tangled. During this time, go without color and perms. If your perm grows out and you wash it, don’t let it air dry; rather blow dry your hair and flat iron until the new growth of hair is straight. The key here is
to protect your hair from damage and breaking off.
Have fun with your hair! If you have questions, call Ms. White at Harlem Hair Salon at 917-825-8008.