The pandemic changed virtually every aspect of daily life, so it’s no surprise its effects trickled into hair care, too. A rollercoaster of emotions—fear, uncertainty, boredom— and lockdown restrictions increased the need for self-care, and in particular, self-hair care. With salons closed, people were left to fend for themselves, whether it be tending to their roots or taking shears to their split ends (we see you, Taylor Swift!). Most importantly, 2020 forced us to re-evaluate the relationship between our products, our bodies, and our planet.
Embracing and Experimenting
The benefit of not leaving the house? Fewer social gatherings meant less pressure to keep up with routine hair maintenance. Many people started to grow out their roots, opting to embrace the gray for the first time. Others took advantage of their new-found free time, reaching for at-home dye and trying out new colors they normally wouldn’t have touched. We even saw the emergence of the #PandemicPonytail and now, the #CovidCut: people who grew their hair out during stay-at-home orders and donated their hair to charities like Locks of Love.
Those with curly hair let their curls breathe, taking a break from the damaging effects of routine styling. This was especially true for Black women, who were unable to visit salons or have house visits with their braiders. Some took the time to go natural and give their hair a break from weaves, extensions, chemicals, and heat styling. Others continued to braid their hair or learned to braid for the first time.
2020 meant throwing expectations to the wind and we can count on this continuing. Whether you want to grow out your gray, embrace your curls, or dye your hair a new color every week, you can say goodbye to outdated social standards and do what feels right for you. Plaine Products stylist, Krysia, shares her tips for embracing and experimenting safely:
How To Grow Out Your Gray
There are a few ways to grow out gray hair gracefully. During the grow-out period there will most likely be a “line of demarcation” or the line where the gray hair ends and the dyed hair begins. To soften this harsh line, you can ask your stylist for a transitional color, adding some hi-and low-lites. This puts just a bit of the hair color back into roots, and a bit of a lighter shade into the ends-creating a blended, multi-toned look. You can also opt for a daily temporary root touch-up to use during the grow-out period. Lastly, if you’re feeling daring and ready for a big change, you can cut the dyed hair off for a fresh, gray, shorter do.
How to Protect Your Hair from Heat
It’s important to protect your hair from excessive heat damage. Heat damage is caused by using hot tools such as blow dryers, curling irons, and flatirons. Giving your hair a break and letting it air dry instead of using hot tools daily is a great way to retain moisture, avoid brittle ends, and hair-color fade. Try a fun braid or messy bun instead of blow drying. Remember to use tools on the lowest heat setting possible to avoid damaging your hair. Products are an important tool to protect your hair from heat damage.
Give yourself a deep conditioning treatment by leaving Plaine Products Citrus Lavender Conditioner in your hair for 10 minutes before rinsing. Spritz ends with Plaine Products Hair Repair before blow drying to detangle, seal in moisture and repair split ends. Plaine Products Beauty Oil can be used on damp or dry hair. Run it through damp curls to define and tame frizz or dab a bit on dry hair to tame fly-aways and avoid static.
Sustainable Beauty and Ingredient Transparency
If there was ever a time to re-evaluate our relationship to the environment, it was 2020. As humans slowed down, nature flourished, highlighting an uncomfortable reality about our rate of consumption. With this reality staring us in the face (and plenty of time to research new alternatives), demands for more ethical production and consumption surged, especially when it came to beauty. Sustainable packaging, palm-oil free formulations, and cruelty-free operations are the new norm.
In addition to looking for products that won’t harm the planet, consumers are wising up about toxic ingredients traditionally used in beauty products. 2020 had us hyper-focused on our health, and we can expect to see that continue for hair care products. “Phthalates”, “sulfates”, and “parabens” are becoming household terms, and consumers are doing their best to avoid them. Clean beauty, for the planet and your body, is here to stay. There is a noticeable mindset shift: your personal care products can take care of your body AND the earth. Plaine Products stylist, Krysia, shares what to watch out for:
Ingredients To Avoid
There are many harmful ingredients to watch out for when choosing hair care products. Many of these ingredients can be very damaging to hair and scalp and can cause side effects such as rashes, dryness, brittle hair, breakage, thinning hair, and even hair loss. Formaldehyde and parabens such as methylparaben and propylparaben are often included in shampoos to prolong shelf life. These added ingredients can affect hormonal balance and lead to hair thinning and loss. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) is the chemical that produces a nice foamy lather.
Unfortunately, SLS also strips hair of essential oils, breaks down protein essential for hair health, and halts hair growth. Sodium chloride (table salt) is used as a thickener in products containing SLS, and it can cause dry, itchy scalp and hair loss. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is another thickener that strips hair of moisture. Lanolin, petroleum and mineral oil are used as greasers in products. They can also weigh hair down, preventing healthy natural oils from being absorbed. Synthetic fragrances found in many shampoos and conditioners can be petroleum-based or can contain chemicals that are harmful to the hair and body. Always read labels for a full list of ingredients before purchasing. (And, in case you are wondering, none of these ingredients are found in Plaine Products.)
As we leave the worst of 2020 in the rearview, we carry new interests, commitments, and mindsets with us. Gone are the days of mindless consumerism and traditional beauty standards. We’re in a new era of beauty—one that embraces and protects the natural while celebrating and championing self-expression. We love to see it.
This post was written by our newest team member, Becca Hildner, Social Media Coordinator, with contributions from Krysia McDonald, Plaine Products Direct of Salon Sales and Ask a Hair Stylist.