From split ends to 'pandemic beards,' hair stylists offer up virtual advice

Before you get out the kitchen shears, you might want to listen to the online advice some eastern Ontario stylists are offering on how not to butcher your look ahead of your next Zoom meeting.

With salons closed due to COVID-19, barbers are sharing the tips of their trade online

Tanya Clark, seen here before her salon shut down due to COVID-19, says she's not advising clients on how to do fancy haircuts at home — but rather simple tips to trim an unruly mane or grow out your 'pandemic beard.' (Submitted by Tanya Clark)

Even if you had a hair appointment just before the COVID-19 shutdown, your locks may already be looking a little lanky. 

But before you get out the kitchen shears and bowl for an at-home cut, some local stylists are offering virtual advice on how not to butcher your look ahead of your next Zoom meeting.

Barber Tanya Clark said that a few days after her ByWard Market salon Headquarters shut down, she started getting messages from regulars. 

"It's crazy, but you build such a strong relationship that they can hit me up whenever they want with questions about hair — or relationships. These people have become my family," said Clark.

Clark has taken her skills as a barber around the world, even cutting hair on China's great wall. She's now doling out advice to clients online. (Submitted by Tanya Clark)

In response, she's been posting videos to social media, using a mannequin to walk people through common cuts and giving advice for growing out "pandemic beards."

"It's not like I'm giving them an expensive or crazy cut. I'm giving them something basic, that they can clean themselves at home," she said.

'Looking good is part of feeling good'

Paula Whitelocke agrees that right now isn't the time to "go crazy" with your at-home salon.

Whitelocke has been answering questions online about how to handle curly, kinky and coiled hair types — her specialties at her west-end salon, Curly Hair Designs. 

She's telling clients with curly hair to focus on moisturizing, deep conditioning and getting at those split ends. 

"There are lots of options for people right now. I don't want people to do things out of fear," she said, adding that things like mascara can cover areas of concern for people who get regular hair-colouring. 

Whitelocke also recognizes that as the pandemic shutdown continues, people may take on even more DIY hairstyling.

"I know that looking good is part of feeling good, so you gotta do what you gotta do during this time," said Whitelocke.

Paula Whitelocke, centre-right with hands spread, teaches stylists across the country how to handle curly, kinky and coiled hair. During the pandemic, she's taking those lessons online. (Merritt Decloux)

Removing hair extensions

For people with hair extensions, Lindsay Landry of Trakk Queen Hair and Beauty is offering virtual consultations on how to remove them safely.

The Kingston, Ont., salon owner says most clients need to renew their extensions every two to three months, but since that's not possible, she's advising that they be taken out.

"It's never really a recommended thing to do, to remove your own extensions at home," she said. "But we also never anticipated being told to stay home for an unlimited amount of time."

Landry says it's especially unfortunate for clients who put in hair extensions after undergoing chemotherapy or gastric bypass, or are dealing with other health issues that caused hair loss.

Lindsay Landry's home-based salon Trakk Queen has closed, so she's now offering clients virtual advice on removing extensions without damaging their hair. (Submitted by Lindsay Landry)

Bringing 'positivity'

Though all three stylists are struggling with lost income because of the shutdown, for now they're offering their virtual advice free of charge — at least for regular clients — while they explore options for making up for lost income online.

As Clark says, a stylish haircut can make dealing with COVID-19 a little easier — even if you have nowhere special to go.

"When you look good, you feel good, right?  Lots of people are not feeling good right now because they don't look good," said Clark.

"So if there's any way that I can bring some sort of positivity to people's lives why wouldn't I do that, right?"

Trying a trim at home? Send us your photos of your at-home hairdos —  whether they're successful or not. 

Patrick Davis usually gets his hair cut every six weeks. He tried his first at-home trim recently and accidentally went too far up from the beard, giving the top of his head a closer-than-usual shave. "I am happy that if I ever lose my hair that I have a circular head and it looks okay," he wrote. (Patrick Davis)

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