Let’s face it, what your barber achieves is art.

It may have started to look easy after years of appointments but it takes real skill to perfect a tight line, master a smooth fade or nail a sharp ear curve in seconds. Basically, recreating the same caliber of cut on your own is going to be a challenge. As we dive into yet another month of self-isolation, you may be desperate enough to try.

So how do you approach more than a month’s worth of growth, or painfully uncolored roots shooting out at a rapid rate? For AXE Hair’s Master Barber, Pedro Rosario, practice makes perfect. Still, if you don’t have the kind of natural skill and early start that might kickstart a professional hair career, don’t panic: There are ways for you to make it work. Here’s how!

If you’re trying to grow it out

“Generally, guys with coarse or tight coiled hair can just wear it naturally as it grows out for a few extra weeks,” says Pedro. The key to keeping it looking sharp in the interim? Embracing your curls. Take your sponge or go in with fingers and with circular motions tease out the hair to foster bigger, looser curls. Sponge is a must-have for longer curls, whereas you’ll need a great wooden brush for waves.

You’re also going to need to ensure the ends don’t try out in the interim, so moisturizing is everything. Look for an essential oil-infused cream or leave in conditioner, or forgo the hair products altogether and work in a few drops of aragon, tea tree or Moroccan oils, instead.

“The biggest concerns clients with textured hair have is overuse of certain products, and lack of moisture. It’s easy for coiled hair to look dry so it’s important to keep it moist and lush.”

BUY HERE: Magic Twist Brush/Sponge set, amazon.com, $10.99

If you’re ready to cut

Before you even think about getting jiggy with a pair of trimmers, make sure you’ve invested in a solid pair with an array of guard lengths (you don’t want rusty clippers to leave you looking patchy). This is crucial if you’re going for a straight buzz, but based on your hair length, type, texture and density, you may want something more specific, explains Rosario.

“The simplest rule of thumb is start long and go shorter from there without being too extreme,” he adds. “Most average guys like their hair short in the side longer on the top…trimming the side burn temple area and wearing the top natural is a safe bet.”

If you’re playing things close to the chest and refusing to touch the top, you’re also going to need a good template. This will shave (no pun intended) your sculpting time in half, and also give you a secret weapon when it comes to nailing a fade as an amateur.

BUY HERE: Wahl Color Pro Haircut kit, cvs.com, $31.99

If you need a color touch-up

No, and we repeat, no stylist is a fan of you taking color into your own hands. Professional consults are incredibly important when it comes to delving into chemical alteration, but if you absolutely can’t wait there are ways to get by.

Check in with your hair stylist, someone who knows your hair intimately and is familiar with it’s structure, and ask if they’d consider mixing you a special color kit for you to apply to your roots. It won’t have the nuances of professionally-applied color, but you will have a touch-up on hand which won’t compromise you hair.

There are also products washable products that keep blondes light, and other shades bright, so it’s worth doing research. If you can’t avoid self-coloring, many stylists recommend Clairol’s Semi-Permanent Moisturizing Hair Color, which is easy to apply to roots, temporary and won’t hurt your hair.

BUY HERE: Clairol’s Semi-Permanent Moisturizing Hair Color, sallybeauty.com, $8

If you want a switch up

It may be that quarantine inspires you to try a completely different look altogether, but it’s important to do your research.

“Most guys get their fashion cues from whatever is trending,” says Rosario. “Athletes are among the most fashionable so that’s a good place to start for a reference.”

Look for men with similar face shapes, that will give you a clue as to what will look best on you. For those with a talented quarantine partner who may have the skill to help them explore braided styles, here’s some inspiration, just make sure your hair is well-hydrated before it’s tucked away for a few months and keep your braids moisturized so your hair emerges in the best condition possible.

BUY HERE: Moroccan oil styling cream, amazon.com, $34

Share this post