Pandemic roots & what we can do to support our hair health

As a hairstylist for the last 18 years, one of the most frequently asked questions is: “what is the next trend?” As social media awareness increased in the last decade, trends would come and go so quickly it was sometimes hard to observe them. Now as I ponder future trends, amidst the current global pandemic, I am granted nothing but time.

Have you ever woken up on a holiday morning and felt the feeling of pure shared relaxation? A feeling that can only be felt comfortably when we are sure that we are all feeling it together. Currently we all wake up to slower mornings with less commuting and don’t have to worry as much about what to wear, together. Take comfort in knowing that when we all suit up for the grocery line, we will all have roots, split ends or too much hair over our ears.

Over my career, the most significant trend began in the winter of 2007. I had been a stylist for 5 years and had just started to have a steady clientele and was consistently booked each week. Every morning at the salon we would have a morning huddle where we would set goals for how many services we would upsell and how many products we would sell to our clients. At this time, no one was concerned about the money they were taking or spending, then Bear Stearns went bankrupt. I thought my clientele would stop coming, adversely they came in more. I learned that when you look good, you feel good, and people want to employ people that feel good about themselves.

The biggest change post 2007 was that once clients got back to work and settled into life post catastrophe, they decided that they would change their hairstyles to reflect less salon maintenance… Balayage, ombre and long natural effortless hair was born. For the last 12 years I have been working on creating haircuts and colors that look as if no one has put in any effort beyond a shower and extended sun exposure over a long weekend.

As we find ourselves in the midst of sourdough starters, home schooling and days that resemble the last, there is a new trend blossoming. This trend has been slowly creeping into our conscience over the last few years, but now is time for the embrace. As our natural colors grow in, it may be time to start giving back to our hair after all we have asked of it over the previous decades. Because oxidative stress is one the leading cause of greying hair, it's time to lend support to our strands.

Hair products, hair dye, highlights, and heat styling all cause oxidative damage to our hair. It safe to say that we have all cut down on heat styling and product usage. Without access to safe, properly formulated hair color our roots will show. As time passes, we become aware of seeing what we haven’t for so many years. We have been trained to see grey and make it go away, what if we looked at our grey hairs as a message from the body. What message is the body sending?

Combatting the aging process of our hair from the inside-out with ‘Not Today, Grey’ is the 1st step you can take to nurturing your future hair. And while the nutrients are being built up in your system to stimulate your hair follicles and fuel your color molecules, here are some modifications to your grooming regimen we recommend:

Shampoo Less: Shampooing hair every 3-4 days maintains oils in the hair the keep hair flexible and fuller feeling, and can be helpful to nourish the coarse feeling of grey hair. When I first started to exclude shampoo from my routine, I found it easier to stimulate my scalp by leaning forward in the shower or laying my hair back into a bath with just water or Epsom salts. You can also skip wetting your hair between shampoos and use a dry shampoo until your scalp is used to the less frequent washes.

Massage your Scalp: Massing your hair will stimulate blood flow and can be done for as little as a minute each day. You can even use a teaspoon (??) of coconut oil to balance the amount of oil observed from root of your hair to the ends. For those who find it difficult to remove the ritual of shampoo, adding coconut oil to hair before sleep can work to prepare the hair to not be over cleansed by shampoo.

Color Less Often: Use less color touch up sprays or crayons, these products can clog the area where the hair leaves the scalp making it harder for the scalp breath and thrive.

Use the time we are given now to build habits that will shape your future selves, getting to know who each of us really is and what we actually look like. Imperfections are beautiful and human, imperfections help create lasting memories of ourselves and others.

- Jay Small