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Hair stylist Trudy Johnston poses with a client in her salon before it was closed due to COVID-19. \\ Photo courtesy of Trudy Johnston

By Makenna Marks

Videos of people bleaching their hair or cutting their bangs are all over the internet, and seem to have gotten more popular with an increase of people staying home. Salons and barbershops are closed until further notice. Each week spent at home makes the hot pink box dye and kitchen scissors look more and more like a good decision. Or maybe your hair has gotten so long and unruly that you have no other choice but to try and fix it yourself.

Hair stylist Lisa Gilliland shared some words of wisdom about the risky business that is DIY haircuts. When it comes to using box dye, Gilliland advises to use with caution.

According to Gilliland, box dyes have chemicals and other ingredients that could result in an unwanted chemical reaction with our hair. 

“The general consensus, I think, for most hair stylists right now is the fear that people are using box dye at home,” Gilliland said. “That makes our job 10 times more difficult because when they come back into the salon, we don't know what they've put on their heads.” 

Gilliland is a traveling hair stylist, flying back and forth between Tucson, Arizona and Seattle. When businesses start opening up again, Gilliland expects it to be difficult to schedule all of her clients. 

“We have seven weeks worth of clients to make up, and we need to be able to get them in as quickly as possible,” Gilliland said. “We don't have time to spend six hours fixing somebody's mistake because they weren't willing to wait for us.” 

Gilliland said that a color correction treatment can take up to six hours and cost around $100 per hour.

But sometimes, taking the risk is the whole point. Hair stylist, Trudy Johnston, shares some tips and tricks when it comes to giving yourself a new look.

When it comes to coloring hair, Johnston said the more colorful dyes will be harsher on the head and recommends picking a dye within two shades of your natural color. 

“Anytime you go outside of that … two shades lighter or two shades darker, it gets kind of tricky … and that’s what we have our license for,” Johnston said. 

Johnston owns a salon in Wenatchee and has been in the beauty industry since 1990. One of her biggest pieces of advice for DIY haircuts and colors is to section your hair.

“My biggest thing is to advise everybody to part their hair in four sections down the middle to the nape, and then from the top of the head to the back of the ear,” Johnston said.

After parting your hair into four sections, Johnston recommended cutting or coloring even smaller subsections, about a half inch wide. If you’re going for a trim, she also recommends keeping the hair dry. Wet hair tends to stretch, but will shrink back up after it dries.

“Take about a half an inch and pull that out, and you want to cut about an inch off your hair,” Johnston said. “So you can take that out, take your fingers down so that there's an inch exposed past your fingers, and then take your [scissors] and keep hitting it until that hair is almost completely gone.”

When it comes to using clippers, Johnston said not to go too short. 

“My advice is to not go too terribly short or too different in the length of hair that you’re cutting,” Johnston said. “Use your [scissors] where you're transitioning from the shorter hair to the longer hair, and it makes it a little easier.”

Tatum Epperson, a second-year Western student studying computer science, tried her luck at a DIY haircut when she trimmed her boyfriend’s hair. 

“I cut my own hair a bunch when I was in high school because I didn't want to have to pay to get it cut,” Epperson said. “But I've never cut a boy's hair before, so I was actually really nervous.”

End result? Epperson said her boyfriend’s hair ended up looking great, and she even plans on giving him another trim soon. 

“I was happy with it, he was happy with it, so it’s definitely a win-win,” Epperson said. “I think that's why he's trusting me to do it again, so I really need to uphold my standards.” 


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