Marie Simone made it clear to her clientele that she will not be putting her hands in anyone’s hair in the immediate future because of COVID-19.
The calls, texts, emails and DMs didn’t stop after the internationally renowned stylist and owner of Shi Salon made the announcement that Shi would be suspending services to comply with precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus – they multiplied.
“Women are really stressing out about their hair,” Simone said.
She spent her last few days in business assembling hair care packages and offering DIY consultations for her clients on how they can manage their hair. They won’t be able to sit in her salon until orders are lifted – which could be as far away as early summer.
Three weeks in, they are already reaching out for advice on how to apply their own relaxers and color their own hair.
Simone has a universal suggestion for them; don’t.
She had one client who was ready to go to the store and get a relaxer kit, but she didn’t know that she needed neutralizing shampoo to offset the chemical reaction – and would have surely burned her hair to the scalp.
“Don’t panic,” Simone said. “It’s okay for your hair to rest – and for you not to put a chemical on there for a couple of months. The main objective is to keep the hair on your head healthy.”
The most important practice for at home hair maintenance is to keep the hair properly cleansed, conditioned and moisturized.
“I’m all about taking it back to the basics,” Simone said. “The less you do to your hair at this time, the better off you will be when you are able to get back to your stylist.
The last thing Simone and other stylists want upon returning to their salons is having to nurse their client’s hair back to health.
“Why not take this time to give your hair a rest and let it breathe?”
Simone also strongly suggests that women stay away from DIY haircuts, color, excessive heat, relaxers or any other type of chemicals.
“If your hair grows out, try twisting it or rolling it,” said Simone. “If your bangs are too long, tuck it behind your ear. We are in a global health crisis; we don’t want to be too vain at this time.”
If you already have a chemical on your hair, Simone says it is essential to keep your hair moisturized – and the less heat the better, to minimize wear and tear.
And if you have a sew-in, taking it out to give your hair a rest is the best option.
“You’re not supposed to be going anywhere or doing anything,” Simone said. “And anything you cover up, you smother. Let your scalp breathe in these six-to-eight weeks [of social distancing] we are in. Let your hair rest.”
If a woman is unable to take the sew-in out herself, Simone says be sure to keep the scalp and the hair under the sew-in thoroughly moisturized.
“The key is your scalp and your hair follicles, because the weave is just weave.”
She recommends lemongrass oil, olive oil – or her own product, No. 7 Pixie Elixir, which includes seven essential oils.
If the weave grows out, Simone says the best thing is to consult with a stylist via phone, FaceTime or Zoom so they can be walked through the removal process to minimize tension and other trauma.
“Go ahead and take it out and embrace your natural hair,” Simone said.
She also says that there are stylists offering tele-consultations at reduced rates to help ease the process of self-haircare.
Heat should be kept to a minimum for those who won’t be able to refrain from tuning up their style with a curler or flat iron.
“Even if your curler goes up to 400, that level of heat is for professionals,” Simone said. “Keep it at 250. And make sure that before any heat is administered that the hair is properly cleansed, conditioned and dry.”
Knowing the difference between cleansing and conditioning products and maintenance products is essential to at-home hair care.
“Conditioning products are your shampoo and conditioner,” Simone said. “Maintenance products are your hairsprays, oils, gels, edge control and that just help you maintain your style. The type of shampoo and conditioner that is best for you will depend on your hair type, but our hair tends to lack moisture, so get into deep conditioning products as you maintain your own hair to keep it healthy.”
Aveda and Davines are her go to product lines, and Simone wants everyone to be mindful that healthy living and healthy hair go hand in hand.
“It also matters what you are putting into your body,” Simone said. “The best beauty booster is drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables and getting rest.”
Hair should be tied up at night - or at least have a silk pillow to sleep on, because cotton pulls moisture from the hair.
This social distancing period is the perfect time for women to get reacquainted with their own hair and what products work for them – but keep products to a minimum so that you can isolate which products work best.
And be mindful of the internet as you seek direction and variety.
“They go on YouTube and look at a lot of the vloggers,” Simone said. “I love the vloggers, but what I find is that a lot of them are not licensed stylists – and they are talking about their hair and what works for their hair. Take this time to get to know your hair.”
Marie Sinone is owner and stylist for Shi Salon, for more information, visit www.mariesimone.com.