Pre-pandemic, our hair-care routines were often shaped by our daily activities: Morning workout class? Skip the hair wash the night before. Weekend birthday bash? Splurge on that '90s-inspired blowout. Sunday night to yourself? Wind down with a hydrating hair mask. But with life on pause and nowhere to go once the pandemic hit, where exactly did that leave our hair-care habits?
Forced to adapt — and revaluate even our most tried-and-true beauty rituals — our regimens are looking a little different now in 2021 than they did in the Before Times: Some have come to embrace intricate styling routines as a way to bring structure to their WFH days, while others have perfected their air-drying technique by trading in their collection of hot tools for a less-is-more lineup.
Curious to learn how the hair-care routines of others have shifted over the past year, we asked three influencers to drop all of their newfound wisdom on us — like how drugstore-favourite Batiste Original Dry Shampoo can extend your look for days, or how one woman’s stress-related hair loss at the start of the pandemic turned into a journey of self-compassion and healing.
My relationship with my hair: “Growing up, I used to hate my thick, black hair because I lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of Asian representation. It wasn’t until I went to university that I started to embrace my hair and have fun with it as a way of expressing myself. I’ve gone through so many different phases, but I feel like your relationship with your hair is just like your relationship with the rest of your body: It’s something you grow to love and embrace all of its changes as you age.”
How the pandemic changed my hair routine: “If there’s one good thing that came out of all of this, it’s that trends now are a lot more relaxed and chill. These effortless looks focusing on healthy hair are encouraging us to embrace our natural beauty. My go-to look now simply involves blow drying with a round brush upwards to create a ’90s vibe. On second- or third-day hair, I’ll flip my hair upside down and spray the back and roots with dry shampoo for added body. It works wonders and is super easy.”
My best hair styling hack: “Before I knew about dry shampoo, I used to go to the drugstore and buy baby powder to put on my roots. Once I discovered an actual formula, there was no going back. I’ve been using Batiste for about two years now, and I love Divine Dark because it doesn’t leave behind a white cast, even on my jet-black roots. It’s nice to see a product that’s inclusive and was specifically created for super-dark hair.”
Pro Tip: Dry shampoo that matches your hair colour can also be used throughout the body of your hair — in addition to your roots — to create volume and texture, or even before heat styling to create grip and lasting power.
How the pandemic changed my hair routine: “I used to get my hair done all the time, either at an event or for a blowout in preparation for a shoot. Now, I still care for my hair, but my routine is much more minimal — I rarely use heat stylers anymore.”
My go-to style coming out of quarantine: “My favourite way to do my hair these days is by sleeping with some ties in overnight and waking up to freshly wavy hair. First, I’ll part my hair down the middle and create pigtails. Next, I’ll take elastic bands and tie two-inch sections all the way down until I reach my ends. Once I wake up, if some sections are a bit too wavy or crimped, I’ll spray on a little water to soften it. If I want more volume, I’ll use dry shampoo at my roots for texture and then tousle it gently with my fingertips.”
What my hair routine means to me: “During the pandemic, there were times where I struggled with depression and didn’t do my hair as often, but I have noticed that actually doing my hair changes my perception or how I’m feeling about myself. Grooming and taking care of myself enhances my self-esteem and my mood.”
Pro Tip: For added volume that actually lasts, spray dry shampoo at your roots and then blow dry it in on a low heat setting — this works especially well on second- or third-day hair.
How the pandemic changed my hair routine: “The stress of the pandemic actually caused some hair loss early on, so I quickly started incorporating more hair treatments into my routine. My mom makes this amazing homemade curry leaf oil, so I started applying that as well as homemade rice water as a treatment before I shower. I also began using more serums and conditioners. My hair eventually started to heal, and it’s much healthier now.”
My relationship with my hair: “Growing up, my mom would constantly create different hairstyles on herself and on me, which definitely influenced how I approach my look — I’m not afraid of trying a new style, cut, or colour, and I love to experiment. Right now, my favourite look is a bouncy, at-home blowout because it’s so fun, yet easy to achieve.”
What my hair routine means to me: “Before the pandemic started, I felt like I was always on the go. Now that I have much more time on my hands, I've embraced a longer routine — I’ve even started using a scalp massager, which both relieves stress and helps to stimulate hair regrowth. I find that taking care of myself makes me feel so much better.”
Pro Tip: For those with thicker or dryer hair types, try applying a waterless cleansing foam at your roots on freshly washed or no-wash days — the all-in-one formula can triple as a shine spray, hydration cream, and dry shampoo.