How to be your own quarantine barber

Visual of two boys to showcase them trying to do their hair

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

 

Haircut at home? Grab these must-have tools

So, the time has come to tame the beast: your quarantine hair.

Even though our social exposure is at a near zero, the possibility of stumbling on your own reflection has increased tenfold – and there’s only so much unruly poof our pride can take before a haircut is mandated. The catch is, of course, when stuck at home we can’t pay a professional to tidy things up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a clean haircut all on your own.

SEE ALSO: Let’s talk about sex (in self-isolation)

Nonetheless, if you’re an amateur attempting an at-home haircut, you’re going to need to be prepared. Most hair stylists aren’t exactly endorsing taking your tresses into your own hands well in self-isolation (the concern being that you might make a mistake, try to correct it, and eventually resemble a hedge hog emerging from a house fire), coloring should be absolutely avoided, but if you’re desperate to get cutting, there are ways to make it work.

The first thing you’ll want to do is as much research on your hair type as possible, if you can get advice from a barber familiar with your hair, do, and secondly recruit someone with a delicate touch to help you navigate the more difficult areas (if they’re comfortable with doing your whole hair, let them). Otherwise, if you’re working alone make sure you have a great mirror set-up so you can do the back to the best of your ability. You’re also going to need tools — no, we repeat, NO kitchen scissors should come near your hair — to give yourself a haircut that you might have paid money for. You might not need all the tools, but we rounded up the best, just in case.

The best haircut cape

haircut cape

Courtesy of amazon

Okay, this may seem a little extreme, but if you’re stuck indoors with no access to an outdoor area or roof and what to avoid a whole heap of sweeping, vacuuming or discovering mini-hairs for months to come, this is a game-changer. Pop her on to protect your neck, clothes and floors — for $6, it’s worth it.

BUY HERE, $6

The best buzz-cut clippers

Conair Trimmer

Photo courtesy of Amazon

So you want to maintain a sharp, close cut without the whole to-do? You’ll be a Jason Statham lookalike in seconds with this little number, a handheld clipper that’s waterproof so you can touch-up in the shower. If you’re embracing facial hair in quarantine and want it in 5 o’clock shadow territory, permanently, this might just be your best friend.

BUY HERE, $50

The best neck hair guide

Neck hair guide

Photo courtesy of Ebay

This is for those of you weathering the pandemic solo (or with anyone reluctant to come near with your hair). Pop on this headband-esque contraption and enjoy the cleanest line that money can buy.

BUY HERE, $7

The best multi-directional trimmer

Multidirectional trimmer

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Ditto for this product, you’re going to want to get your mitts on this ASAP if you don’t have an extra pair of hands to work on the back for you (pulling a trimmer up the back of your scalp is no easy feat). This cordless wonder comes with four comb guides so you have options for hair length, and lets you get at your cut from all directions. Genius.

BUY HERE, $52

The best intricate razor

Hair engraver

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Oh, you’re fancy huh. If you’ve become accustomed to an expert fade with an engraved design that stops traffic and simply cannot bear for it to grow out, there’s a way you can stay looking sharp without the stylists touch. Proceed with caution, though, without a steady hand things can quickly get out of control with this trimmer, so make sure you’re ready to contend with whatever the outcome may be.

BUY HERE, $10

The best beard trimmer

Beard trimmer

Photo courtesy of Amazon

We can’t overstate this one, this beard trimmer is the industry’s Cadillac — and priced at over $150, we know it will last you a lifetime. It boasts expert precision, neck-clean-ups and all-round evenness. This may just be the sole tool to get you through self-isolation.

BUY HERE, $162

The best beard template

Beard template

Photo courtesy of amazon

Listen, there is no excuse for a wonky line — even if you haven’t seen your barber in weeks. This handy tool with keep your beard cut with absolute precision, serving as a stencil for you to shave down from your cheekbone. It comes in two different shapes (curved and straight), so whichever way you wear your beard, you can keep yourself looking clean.

BUY HERE, $15

The best cut template

Haircut template

Photo courtesy of Amazon

And speaking of stencils, never worry about keeping your cut even again with this little number. From aligning your part, to keeping your earline in tact to maintaining your taper for maximum blend, this purchase will halve your haircut time and is perfect for those who are on their own. Did someone say MVP?

BUY HERE, $34

The best cut kit

Remington haircut kit

Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you want to skip the nonsense and go back to basics, this haircut kit pretty much encompasses any needs when it comes to a trim. With a cordless trimmer, 11 different guard sizes (so you can avoid that too short cut) and clips to boot, anyone with this kit and a penchant for YouTube tutorials can give themselves a pretty passable haircut. Hey, you might even look pretty good.

BUY HERE, $47.50

The best clip guard

2 inch clip guard

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Across most clip guard kits, just one size (arguably the best size) is often overlooked: the two-inch. This is ideal if you want to tame the top without buzzing it all off. It may seem ridiculous to purchase a solo guard on top of a comprehensive kit, but trust us, once this puppy is in your hands — and on your head — it will be worth it.

BUY HERE, $10