DIY Hair: Do You Or Don’t You?

DIY Hair: do you or don’t you? My mother and my grandmother Lucy went to the salon – the beauty parlor –  every Saturday throughout the 1960’s. They had a wash and set and lots of hairspray. And gossip. Then they didn’t touch their heads in between appointments. My mother used to wrap a silk scarf around her head for sleeping, so as not to disrupt the ‘do.

Now most of us, especially in the time of pandemic, are more casual about our hair. We shampoo and blow-dry and mousse and gel at home. There are some hair services worth shelling out for, and some that adapt well to sheltering-in-place.

I miss my gorgeous hairstylist Joy who used to color my hair every seven weeks and cut it twice a year. Because of the pandemic, I’ve had one trim in the last eight months. I “color” my hair in the shower with Fanci-Full rinse color. The results are OK, but I miss sitting down in Joy’s chair and hearing her say, “I saw you walk in and I think you need a little toner today.” Ahh, the professionals doing their thing!

Beautiful Joy at her wedding in 2014.

Here are some DIY hair procedures that we can do at home, and some I dare not do at home. Where do you fall on the scale? Are you a hair DIY-er or a salon kind of woman? Here’s my two cents:

Trim bangs. I can do this in little-bitty increments, using very sharp nail scissors. I found some good tips here.

Trim ends. This is easier than I thought, especially with curly hair. I separate my hair into four (thin, fine) ponytails and use sharp scissors. Lots of ideas here.

Color roots. I was an old hand at this, having gone gray in my 30’s. In between visits with my Hair Goddess, I would use Clairol or L’Oréal products to cover my gray roots, with decent outcomes. Now it’s natural, and easy to tint with temporary colors.

This stuff is great for just a tint. I use Sweet Cream for a pale blond wash.

Perm/straighten hair. Here I will not tread. I got a professional keratin smoothing treatment about eight years ago, but my hair’s too thin and fine to handle it. I won’t try anything stronger, either at home or in Joy’s chair. Too risky to what’s left of my fuzzy mop.

“People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.”

― Dolly Parton

Mostly I just play with my natural curls and bouncy wigs (my favorite is here). I used to be a hair product junkie, I admit, although I have pared down significantly in my middle years. And lately I have been experimenting with water-only washing. I’ll write more about it later. 😊

The ultimate DIY for a bad hair day. Wrap it up!

Stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash, xo

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  1. I’ve done most things DIY at home through the years except perms. But I got a perm at a salon once that had those old Frankenstein eletrode machines they connected to my head. I freaked and the results were cry-worthy. I’ve always love your hair, the real hair and your wigs. Great tips and links, Patti, for when my husband decides he’s tired of cutting my hair…

    • OMG, you had the electrode machine?? I am crying for you right now. So nice that your husband will cut your ‘do, and he does a might fine job. Stay fabulous and safe, xx.

  2. Pre-Covid I was getting my hair cut every three weeks and then when my hair stylist closed I started cutting my own hair, which I have been doing since the end of March. It looks ok, but I have a long chunk at the front that I don’t know what to do with. Occasionally I miss having that coloured some funky bold colour, but it was costing too much money. Grey is much cheaper!

    • Grey hair is really cost-effective, and a huge time-saver. Your “longer bit” in front looks fantastic in a vintage swirl! Stay well and safe, xx.

  3. I’m glad you mentioned wigs, again. I’m toying with the idea of getting one, just because I’d like a longer style once in awhile. I’m afraid of spending $200-$300 and not really like it or wear it, though.

    • Hi Kim! I hope you’re having a lovely, safe day. I encourage you to try a wig from a reputable seller that allows returns. I have been happy with Gallery of Wigs ( and their customer service, and there are more good companies. Have fun with it! xx

  4. Interesting. I’m paying more attention now to women’s hair-care because I’m growing mine longer and learning how to tend to it. DIY matters most ’cause I don’t have the courage to walk into a salon.

    • Hello dear Ally! You have a wonderful natural color; that will make it fun to play with temporary colors. I’ll go with you to any NYC salon after these dark clouds lift – and we’ll get our hair done together. Stay fabulous and safe, xx.

  5. I have silver grey hair and am trying the warm water wash with an apple cider vinegar rinse. After a couple of weeks of hair feeling ‘oily’, it has been fantastic to feel the softness returning and less yellowing on the ends. I now also only wash once a week. As we are in our second ‘lockdown’ I haven’t had a style cut in weeks, but still look presentable when I go for my masked Covid walks 🙂 Sam the Aussie

    • Hi Sam and thanks for coming over. You’ve gotten over the hump of water-only washing and now it will be a treat! Enjoy your walks, stay safe, have a great weekend, xx.

  6. Luv Dolly Parton! I’m blessed with Good Hair: thick, healthy, tons of body, a good natural wave. I’ve been whacking it off with the kitchen shears & colouring it (Nice’N’Easy) myself for years, ever since I got tired of laying out $175 every 8 weeks for a cut’n’colour I invariably hated. I do a good enough job to get asked now & again where I have it “done”. In January, pre-Covid, I decided on a whim to stop colouring it to see what it looked like (it’s been decades since I saw my own colour!). I’d been using an ash blonde so close to my natural shade I couldn’t tell the difference, & any grey that got through just blended in naturally. Then Covid hit & I was caught half grown out! Ack! But then I realized I love it. LOVE it! My life-long ash blonde has darkened to a charcoal grey with this amazing silver running through it &, no joke, it looks like I spend a fortune having it coloured professionally. And it’s still thick & glossy with even more body than before. I don’t know what I did in some past life to appease the Hair Goddesses in THIS life, but I’ll take it! And yes, I’m still whacking it off with the kitchen shears 🙂

    • Hi Janet! Yeah, Dolly is a treasure. And I am happy-envious of your fabulous natural hair. I’m picturing you whacking it with the kitchen shears and still turning out gorgeous! Stay well, xx.

  7. In Canada we can go to the stylists and I have been blessed to go twice since June. Prior to that they were closed up and I hadn’t gone since January. I wear my hair in a ‘lob’ with bangs, which ( with me trimming the bangs following you tube advice) held up so well friends thought I was getting my hair done on the QT!! The style hid a lot of root regrow as well. I am slowly moving towards gray as budgeting will dictate when I retire in a few months…gray hair needs a good cut/trim to look it’s best
    but hoping to keep those visits to 4 x/ year. I don’t co wash myself but wash my hair only once a week, I have also done home keratin with good results 2x/ year. Always use the best hair products for your hair type that you can afford, no drugstore stuff. I use Living Proof or Olaplex but since I only use it once a week it’s a bargain.

    • Hello Ainsilavie (and so it goes?) and thanks for coming over. Sounds like you have a winning routine. I too wash my hair once a week at most, and just massage my scalp at night. Stay well and safe! xx

  8. These times of such limited social contact have been ideal for experimenting with my hair.
    A while ago I suddenly found myself with very short, very curly, pepper and salt hair. It was also terribly dry and crispy. I’ve been experimenting with pure coconut and argan oil, co-washing, and letting it grow, all of which immediately looked much better than expected, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
    Yours always look good Patti, with and without extra hair. I’ve taken some great steps towards that. Lemons and lemonade 🙂

    • Good morning Sue, and thanks for coming by. Yes, it’s a great time for experimentation! I like coconut and argan oils for my hair and skin as well. Stay safe, xx.

  9. Have cut my own hair since I was 17 — I am now 61.

    Started graying at age 12 (genes from both sides of the family dictated this … blessing). Dyed my own hair, off and on, until age 50; at which time I decided I had earned gray locks and let it go. Roots came out completely white! Folk thought I had tipped my hair with black dye … it was a very “Cruella Deville” look for a few months.

    Now I just have to be sure that any hair products are clear, or blue, or purple, or green. Don’t want the tiny bits of coloring in shampoo or conditioner to turn my platinum hair a dirty yellow.

    • Hi Lin and thanks for coming over! Pure platinum hair is beautiful – lucky you! Have a great day, xx.

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