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April 10, 2020

Bangs, men's cuts and box dye: How to deal with your hair during quarantine

Owners of Benita Bianca Salon in Northern Liberties share their advice for at-home hair care

Beauty Hair
Quarantine haircare cuts trims dying hair Gratisography/Pexels

Local Philly hairstylists offer tips on how to cut and dye hair while in quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis. If you're wondering if you should cut your own bangs, give yourself a buzzcut or dye your hair a new hue, this list offers detailed advice.

Self-isolation is hard. It can be lonely and anxiety-provoking. But it's not just the mixed emotions that can get to you – it's also the boredom. 

With all this new time on your hands, it doesn't help to look in the mirror and see frazzled or misshapen hair staring back at you. However, if you start saying to yourself, "This is the time for a change!," wait just a moment there.

Stylists across the country agree cutting your own hair can have disastrous effects. And just because we're quarantining now doesn't mean you can recover from a bad haircut by the end of self-isolation. It actually could take as long as a year to grow out, as hairstylist Kali Ferrara noted to Real Simple. Stylists may also have to cut your hair a lot shorter than you'd like in order to fix it, as hairstylist Cristina Bosque mentioned to InStyle.

But what about dying your hair, maintaining a men's cut or maintaining your bangs? PhillyVoice talked to local hairstylists Cabrina and Daniella Sulimay, owners of Benita Bianca Salon in Northern Liberties, and compiled a list of helpful tips to aid in your quarantine hair bewilderment.


Cutting your own bangs can go sour pretty fast. Even if you already have bangs, cutting them yourself can be tricky without the right tools to do it, Cabrina explained.

"If you do have fringe, the thing to do is just style them a little differently," she said. Instead of sporting your normal fringe, style a curtain bang — a middle-parted bang that frames your face on either side. Instead of styling your bang to the front, part your bangs down the middle, take a hair straightener and wave the bangs away to the sides.  

"You're not really using your bangs anymore as 'bangs,' you're kind of using them like a side-parted bang," she said.

If you must trim your bangs, Michelle Fiona, a celebrity hairstylist, recommends trimming by point cutting the bangs with hair sheers. (Also, please note how she recommends using sheers and not kitchen scissors.) Follow her step-by-step guide to bang trimming at The Cut.

Dye Jobs

"Do not bleach your hair at home," Daniella said. "It's a terrible, terrible idea." Instead, stick to toner kits, root touch-ups and conditioning masks to keep your hair healthy and your color vibrant. 

"The difference between doing a toner and a root (touch up) at home is it's not going to damage your hair," Daniella said. "Bleach, on the other hand, is extremely dangerous and can go very, very wrong and cost you a ton of money."

It's not just bleach you need to worry about, though. "Don't do black box dye or any other box dye," she mentioned. "It's not worth it." 

But if you really feel the need to shake it up a bit, Overtone has semi-permanent hair color conditioners that won't damage your hair and will fade fairly quickly. The colors range from rose gold to chestnut brown. Keep in mind, the lighter your hair is, the longer the color may last.

Benita Bianca Salon also offers at-home root and toner kits if you need something a little more subtle, as well as other local salons. Their kits include the color, brush, mask, and any other supplies you would need to touch up your hair. The color is formulated from virtual consultations. Through a contactless delivery system, the kits are delivered across the city. Root and toner kits cost $80 and kits with just toner cost $60. You can order a kit through their website.

Men's Cuts

Men are really getting the brunt of the quarantine hair problems, unfortunately. "They can grow out the tops, but it's the sides (grown out) that make their hair look really undone," said Daniella.

It doesn't help that men's haircuts are actually pretty complicated, and as a result, trimming is also complicated. But guys, there might be way to liven up your hair game without giving yourself a buzzcut. 

One way to let your hair grow out without it becoming a nuisance is to pay more attention when styling it every day.  "You can use a blow dryer in the morning to style it a little more, so it's not all over the place," Cabrina said. "Hairspray really helps hold the look." She also recommends using a wax or gel, so the sides don't poke out as much.

But can you do a trim? Well, that depends. 

If you have shaved sides that needs a trim every 5-6 weeks, Cabrina and Daniella recommend using a No. 2 guard on hair clippers along the sides of the hair. 

"Go all the way up to the temples and stop," Daniella said. "Don't go any higher." You will need help, so get a friend (that you trust) or a partner to do the back. 

If you want to play it safe, go with a higher guard, such as a No. 3 or 4. The higher the guard, the less harsh the trim will be. If you'd like more information, this video is a good guide to how clipper guards work.

"Don't worry about trimming the top," Daniella said. "Just use a strong-hold pomade."  

For those with medium-length sides, it's best to err on the side of caution and "just let it be bushy and wear a hat," Cabrina noted. But if you're desperate for a trim, a No. 5 guard could work without taking too much off, she said. If your hair is longer or curly, however, stick to styling products. 

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