We’ve all had those times when we’ve waited too long to get a haircut. Days get busy, appointments get rescheduled . . . or a global pandemic forces you to stay at home. Even though salons in some states are starting to open up, many will still be a while, and unfortunately, a top knot is only satisfying for so long.
Many of us don’t have anywhere to go, and apart from video conference calls for work, we may not feel we have reason to do our hair each day. But getting ready for the day and putting some effort into our appearance is often as much for our own mental and emotional benefit as it is to make ourselves presentable to others. Especially on days you’re feeling blue, it can be a boon to your mood to take the time to care for yourself physically.
For reasons beyond our control, many of us are unintentionally growing out our winter locks. If you’re itching to try something new, here’s a selection of five-minute styles that you can incorporate into your repertoire when you are out and about in the world again.
Here’s a selection of five-minute styles for hair that (used to be) short, medium, and long, as well as some tips on cutting your own bangs and touching up roots. Hopefully these tricks will help you embrace the hair you have right now and consider the possibilities for other directions your style could take.
For short hair
If they weren’t already, consider bobby pins your new best friends. They are key to making just about any in-between style work, since they can help manage the layers that aren’t yet falling where you’d like them to. For starters, braiding or twisting the hair that frames your face keeps it out of your eyes and lends polish to layers that may otherwise feel messy and untamable.
You might also try switching up your part (try the other side or just going deeper on your go-to side), securing newly-moved sections with bobby pins to train your hair to take a new course. This video tutorial has great visuals of these ideas, as well as details on how to wear a headband well at this stage. This one’s a bit longer but includes clutch tips on blow-drying hair at this length to make the most of your new do.
For medium hair
When your hair is long enough to pull back into a ponytail, it can be easy to fall into a habit of wearing your hair at the same height, with the same prep every time. Taking just a few extra moments (and again, our dear friend the bobby pin) to create this textured ponytail ups the style quotient, while keeping your too-long tresses out of your daily tasks.
A different silhouette can also make an old haircut feel new, so try wearing your hair half up, half down, with a couple of well-placed twists to add interest. If you can’t French braid your own hair, now is as good a time as ever to learn, and this tutorial has a great tip—use your fingers like a ladder to hold the sections you’re braiding!—that can open up dozens more possibilities to dress up an everyday ponytail with braids. How you finish your braid will have an impact on the end result, so play around with tension, pulling pieces out to soften the vibe to your liking.
For long hair
As the weather gets warmer, you’re probably going to want to get those long locks off your neck. You could stick with your default bun, or you could change it up by wrapping a section around your hair elastic (securing with bobby pins, of course). On another day, put those bobby pins away, and reach for your favorite elastic headband to create the Tuck and Cover. I love that this style can also be worn with hair half up, with braids, and with more interesting accessories. Another option is a quick chignon that nostalgically brings the Topsy Tail to mind.
Trimming your bangs
But what if none of these styles is working for you and you just need to get your bangs trimmed? It is possible to do it at home without looking like a kindergartner who surreptitiously found her way to the scissor drawer.
A couple of pointers from the experts: use sharp scissors (hair shears are best, but other sharp scissors can work too), make sure your hair is dry, and don’t cut straight across. As for shape, try to follow the line your stylist established at your last trim, looking back at a photo if you need to.
One method involves flipping the ends of your hair upward in the hand that’s holding them, then cutting small sections on an angle. If you’re more comfortable holding the hair the way it falls, make sure to chip in a little at a time, making vertical cuts, rather than a bolder horizontal snip. Less is more at first! If you’re not sure if you’re happy, live with your trim for a day or so before taking more off.
For colored hair
Now might not be the best time to embark on dyeing your hair if you have no previous experience, but you can maintain your style while you’re away from the salon. In a pinch, use mascara to cover grays. If you’re unsure about using a store-bought color, try it on just the visible areas, like your part, and be sure to follow directions carefully. (Covering areas that are still in good shape could cause them to go too dark.) As always, when washing your hair, use only slightly warm water and rinse with cold to retain as much color as possible.
Sharing the love
As ready as we may feel for a haircut right now, by the time we get back to our stylists, we may have an opportunity to share our hair with more than the salon floor. Check out the chart here for organizations that accept donations of at least eight inches of hair (most accept colored or highlighted hair!) to create wigs for those in need. One even offers an option for you to get a photo of the recipient of the wig made from your hair.
We may not be sporting our favorite looks right now, but let’s not forget that ultimately, our hair doesn’t define us. If we’re going to have to wait to see our stylists, let’s at least have some fun along the way.