Social distancing is challenging for everyone, and especially for the beauty and haircare industry, where close contact is often necessary for everything from applying foils to trimming bangs to threading eyebrows.

Salons and barbershops are among the businesses that were asked to temporarily close to help flatten the curve of coronavirus cases. Many clients accustomed to frequent salon visits for trims and recoloring are wondering what they can do to look their best during stay-at-home orders. Unkempt hair can make it tempting to take scissors in hand, but read on before making any drastic decisions.

Attempt to re-style

Make every attempt to style your hair as it begins to grow out. Even if you feel like your coiffure currently looks less than stellar, a haircut is irreversible and may not turn out as expected. Hairstyle changes, such as parting bangs or hair in the opposite direction, can make roots less visible. Braiding hair or pulling it back can help tame bangs that are getting a tad too long. Men who are accustomed to short hair can use more products like pomades or gels to slick back hair or keep unruly tresses from becoming problematic.

Color conundrum

Hairdressers generally recommend four- to six-week intervals between full color touch-ups at the salon. Fresh foils for highlights generally are applied every six to eight weeks. As hair color deadlines come and go, men and women can speak to their stylists about their options. Helen Petty, stylist and owner of the ChopShop in St. Louis, said many of her fellow stylists are putting together touch-up kits comprised of professionally mixed color and some basic tools to get the job done at home. The supplies can be picked up curbside or through “porch drop-offs.” See if your stylist can provide a similar service. Video conferencing during the application process can help you avoid missteps. Boxed hair dyes can work in a pinch, but they may not fully match your existing shade. Also, now is not the time for drastic color changes, which almost always require the expertise of trained colorists.

A cut ahead

Frustration may lead non-professionals to pick up shears. While it’s generally best to leave haircuts to the pros, some people have delved into home attempts. Lauren Van Dyke, a stylist at Lucido Hair Studio in Ontario, recommends that home haircuts be limited to trimming off two inches of hair or less and avoiding drastic style changes.

Haircuts also require the right equipment, including sharp shears or well-oiled electric clippers, comb, and patience. Always cut in small sections and take your time.

Experiment with new styles, products and other ways to lengthen time between salon visits. Cutting hair at home should be the last resort.