Photo: Eye for Ebony | Unsplash

With stay-at-home orders in effect, video conferencing has spiked with the influx of calls with employers, virtual happy hours with friends, and chatting with family. Being presentable for the camera can add additional stress when you factor in your hair.

So what can we do to follow the shelter-in-place rules and still look our best without the help of beauty and grooming professionals? There are options.

Some Charlotte-area stylists are providing tutorials online to walk you through your hair-care routine.

But if that’s not for you, don’t fret. Miko Branch, professional hairdresser and CEO of Miss Jessie’s natural hair products, offered tips to help keep yourself together until you can return to the capable hands of your favorite hairstylist.

Do’s and don’ts

DO watch tutorials to learn how to braid your hair. Branch says now is the time to try a middle hair part, or switch your hair part from one side to the other, or even experiment with a high ponytail. 

Have fun with wigs, and try tucking your hair under the nape of your neck with bobby pins for a quick short-do. Accessorize your mane with a silk scarf, vintage clips, sparkly barrettes, colorful headbands, flowery hair vines, or a bohemian turban.

DON’T cut your own hair. Step away from the scissors. “If you’re not an expert, you’ll need to live with your new hairstyle until salons open up again. It’s just not worth the risk, especially if you aren’t used to handling scissors or clippers to style your hair,” says Branch.

DO consider a temporary splash of fun color to liven up your locks. A strategically placed streak of bright silver, playful raspberry or bold magenta will have everyone green with envy during your next virtual happy hour. Branch says to make sure to prime your tresses with hairspray first before adding the color.

DON’T bleach your hair. This is a big no-no unless you’re a certified hair colorist. Branch says this process can cause serious damage to your scalp and hair. It can also weaken your strands causing thinning, tangling, breaking and making your hair lifeless.

DO study your curl type, moisturize your scalp, and research different hairstyles. Invest in nourishing products exclusively made for textured hair. Don’t forget that deep conditioning is key. 

If you find yourself wanting to make the transition from chemically straightened to natural during the quarantine, there are ways to make it easier.

DON’T chemically straighten your hair. “Relaxers release your hair’s natural curl pattern…not to mention the use of lye is simply not worth the repercussions: burning, scabbing, and breakage,” adds Branch.

DO study video tutorials to learn how to hide the two different textures. Also, Branch suggests investing in some hair accessories like velvet headbands, rhinestone bobby pins and earth-toned silk scarves. 

DO make sure you have the right tools. “Remember the three R’s: renew, replenish, rejuvenate,” says Branch. “Always use hair-care products that were 100% made with you in mind – whether your textured hair is wavy, curly, or kinky.”

Wavy hair can be frizzy, lifeless and limp if you don’t use lightweight, non-crunchy products. Dryness and shrinkage are major issues for curly hair, so opt for moisturizing products with a certain degree of hold. Frizz, dryness, shrinkage and style preservation are common for those with kinky hair – and super-duper moisturizers are key.

DO nourish your scalp. Branch says healthy hair starts at the roots. Promote hair growth while feeding a dry, itchy and flaky scalp. Balance your daily diet with essential proteins. Shampoo with a moisturizing non-sulfate cleanser remembering to massage your scalp to increase blood flow, relieve stress and stimulate hair follicles. 

Whatever hair-care method you choose, proceed with caution since there’s no word yet on when hair salons will reopen to fix any mishaps.

Shameika Rhymes is a former TV news producer who has written for outlets like Charlotte Magazine, ET Online, ESSENCE, EBONY Magazine, INSIDER, InHerSight, the National Museum of African American Music, Shondaland, Soul Train, USA Today, Vanity Fair,, and hosts her own YouTube Channel: Check the Rhymes TV.

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