lockdown hair

Ask an expert: Should I cut my own hair during lockdown?

You’ve been overdue a trim for weeks now - but should you really be reaching for the scissors yourself?

We’re now entering week four of coronavirus lockdown which means that, even if you were freshly trimmed before this all started, your usually immaculate hair is beginning to look a little unkempt. It’s going to be at least three weeks, but realistically longer, before you’re nestled safely back in that barber’s chair again and what will you look like by then? How are you going to face the office on day one post-lockdown sporting the overgrown mane of a late-noughties indie frontman?

The only alternative, unless you happen to live with a trained hairdresser, however, is to cut it yourself. But is this really a good idea? We know it’s tempting. “How hard can this be?”, you think to yourself as you approach the bathroom mirror, kitchen scissors in hand. And then two minutes later you’re sporting an egg-sized bald patch just above your right ear and are going to be wearing baseball caps until September.

No, what this conundrum needs is a bit of expert advice. And we’ve found just the man. Sam Hickey is head barber at Murdock London’s Soho branch and has performed in excess of 7,000 haircuts – so he knows a thing or two about when it’s time to reach for the trimmers. This is his advice for coming out of lockdown with your locks intact…

Don’t panic

“I think people have the assumption that they’re going to come out of lockdown with their former skin fade having become a mane of long hair. This isn’t the case. You’ll probably notice a little growth round the hairline, edges and the like but it won’t be significant growth,” says Hickey. So, while you may feel like you’ve been stuck at home forever, in the world of haircuts six weeks really isn’t that long.

However, Hickey does understand the draw of a home haircut – especially when your hair is one of the few things you actually have some control over right now. “People feel empowered by taking control and I think hair is a major thing you can control without any external factors stopping you,” he explains. If you live with a partner or flatmate who insists cutting your hair is a bad idea – listen to them, and maybe try on a new moustache style for size instead. They’re much easier to fix if they go wrong.

Even trained barbers aren’t performing at-home haircuts

“I was actually due a haircut just before we got placed into lockdown so I’m nearly four weeks overdue,” says Hickey. “My edges are getting fluffy, my neckline is a little messy BUT I’m not going to cut it. It’s always best to just leave it until you can get back to your barber and let them work their magic. There’s nothing worse than attempting some home haircutting, butchering your locks and then having to take it all extremely short.” If the professionals aren’t willing to try it then you definitely shouldn’t be.

"There’s zero need to rush into cutting your hair without giving it proper thought first."

If you really can’t resist, keep it simple

“I genuinely believe people should be waiting this out. There’s zero need to rush into cutting your hair without giving it proper thought first – especially when your options are limited to shaving it. You need to decide if it’s actually a look you want. Through past experience, I imagined I’d look really cool with a shaven head, did it and ended up looking like a kiwi fruit,” cautions Hickey.

If you are absolutely insistent that you must cut your hair, however, Hickey recommends you don’t try anything more complicated than shaving it to the same length all over. “Start on a long length first and gradually work down to what length suits you best and then take that guard all round. Don’t attempt any self-fades or skin-fading as we all know (judging by the attempts we’ve all seen online) that they won’t end well.”

A little bit of product can go a long way

Some bonus advice from the grooming aficionados in the Gentleman’s Journal team – your hair might not be the problem, it might be your products. Chances are your carefully crafted haircare routine has gone a little awry of late. Get back into the habit of washing and conditioning regularly and invest in a few new styling products – you’ll be surprised how quickly that messy mane is back under control again.

Your grooming products need a kick of caffeine…

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