Have you ever heard of 'colour lock', or 'point cutting'? Well, if you're not looking to do any permanent damage to your tresses while the salons are shut, you better listen up. We put some of our top 'haircare during isolation' queries forward to Hair Educator and Colour and Salon Stylist, Sarah Ethel.

Are box dyes really the devil? Should we chance a DIY colour?
This is a huge no from me. The main reason is that you need to consider a number of factors beforehand. As colourists, we have trained for years on the use of chemicals in the hair, tones, condition, natural hair. If you apply the incorrect shade or tone to your hair you can cause 'colour lock'. This means your hairstylist will be unable to fix your locks once the salons open up again. Certain chemicals in the box dye will also not work well with salon dyes, causing the hair to lose its condition and shine or worse - being stuck with patchy tones.

Contact your hairstylist directly and ask about the use of a semi, gloss or spray during these times. When choosing a box dye you need to consider what your natural root is, will it lift to this shade? Will it make your hair too dark? The best advice I can give is to step away and take the time to condition your hair, use spray-on shades from L'Oreal or Kevin Murphy. A €6 box dye can end up costing you over €300 to have fixed.

What about home haircuts? Any tips for cutting our locks?
The hardest cut to master correctly is the straight line. If it was easy, people would simply do it at home. If,and only if, you really must cut your own hair I would recommend cutting vertically (known as 'point cutting') into the very ends of your hair.

Remember, if you mess it up and it's only a small amount… your hairdresser won't need to cut loads off your hair after your return to the salon. Remember poor barbie and what we all did to her hair? Let's not repeat it. 

Should we wash our hair more or less to maintain it?
Washing your hair is so important at the moment. Your hair should be washed at least once a week to reduce the build-up of products, natural oils and dirt in your hair. A great shampoo for this would be Maxi.Wash by Kevin Murphy. It will give your hair a mild cleanse, give your scalp a clean and leave your hair in top condition.

For me, two shampoos are a must. The first shampoo will remove the dirt/oil in the hair, the second shampoo does what the bottle says. This is why in a hair salon you always have two washes followed by conditioner.

Moisturized hair is less likely to break or look dry and frizzy. Regardless of the condition, you should always apply a heat protector to your hair before using a hairdryer or straightener.

Overuse of hair straighteners or curling irons can cause damage to your hair but if you use it one to two times per week and use the correct products you will be OK.

My extensions are looking a little unsteady - help!
First of all, a number of salons like myself are doing safe removal kits for tapes and bonds. Contact your stylist for advice but do not remove bonds yourself without help or advice from a professional. 

If you are an extensions wearer the most important thing right now is good maintenance. If you do not look after your extensions, regardless of the brand or method, it will end in tears.

  • Brush your hair twice a day - this will remove the dead hair that naturally sheds between 100-150 strands per day so you won't get as much matting.
  • Using a good extensions brush (The Knotty brush, The Bella Brush are my faves), start at the bottom and work your way up to your scalp.
  • Wash with a sulphate-free shampoo; most high brand extensions are made with protein and sulphates eat protein meaning it will dissolve the extension tips over time which you do not want.
  • Condition the mid-lengths and ends only, and avoid contact with the tapes, beads or bonds as this can soften the extensions.
  • If you have taken to sea swimming, make sure you wash your hair straight away to avoid the build-up of sea salt in your hair as this can be drying on your hair extensions.
  • Blow dry your bonds and tapes - do not allow them to dry naturally as you need to make sure theses are nice and sealed again.
  • Separate the bonds and make sure your tapes are not twisting and, if needed, untangle them.
  • Try wearing your hair in a low pony or plait - this is super important while you sleep to prevent tangles.

Can you recommend some hair supplements and masks that we can indulge in?
Now is the time to give your hair some TLC and rest so avoid hair dyes, straighteners, and wands. Instead, keep your routine simple by using a good shampoo, conditioner and mask each week. Learn how to dry your hair straight with just a hairdryer - there are some good online videos right now that we can all do.

Maintain a healthy diet; this will give you all the correct nutrients your hair, skin, and nails require daily. Personally, I don't see the point in taking supplements if you have a poor diet, over-processed hair, and incorrect products.

Be careful not to over mask your hair; certain products have good proteins in them but too much protein can dry out the hair and cause it to be brittle. A mask should be used once every two weeks unless advised differently by a professional.

Final words of wisdom?
You can use every lotion and potion but unless you have a good, reliable hairstylist guiding you then you may as well throw the products out the window. If you are taking care at home but then head into a salon that doesn't follow correct hair progression then what's the point?

Now is the time to start to ask yourself the following question: Are you actually happy with your hair condition and colour?

If the answer is no, take this time to research a new style or colour online and find a salon/stylist who can help you get there in a couple of short months.

For more advice on hair care, styling and products you can find Sarah Ethel on Instagram and contact her by email info@sarahethel.com.