How to handle hair color woes while quarantined

Unsurprisingly when I spoke with famed New York colorist Allison Gandolfo, who work at the salon at Bergdorf Goodman, she told me that since self-quarantine started there hasn’t been a day where she doesn’t get a text, call or email from a client asking for advise. “I mean it’s over a month here in NYC, so you have to understand people are panicking at the thought of coming out of the apartment and having others see them looking unkept!”

First and foremost what she always tries to tell her clients is to wait… if they can.  “We are all in this together and we will all come out together looking the same.  Un-manicured, no Botox, and gray,” says Gandolfo. “However, if you must do something and I truly do understand this, just remember you are not a trained professional and we make things look a lot easier than they are.”

In that vein she says to forget about doing your own highlights – she suggests wearing a beautiful head scarf or wide headband.  “I don’t care what the color company is trying to sell you it will be a mess and you are going to have to live with that mess on your head. Now, to cover gray.  I have been suggesting temporary hair color products.  These lay on your hair and wash out. They don’t change the color of your hair or mess with the work that you and your colorist have been working so hard to achieve all these years.   That will mean every time you wash your hair you must re-apply.  Think sprays, mascaras, shadows.  My favorite is Root Cover Up from Color Wow.  It looks like eye shadow and comes in many different colors.”

Another alternative, she says, is a semi permanent or permanent hair color, like Clairol Root Touch-Up. The color lasts up to 3 weeks and will not wash out.  With something like this I always recommend my clients to pick a shade lighter because if they go too dark it’s going to be a lot more work and more costly  as corrective color in the salon. You can always adjust lighter colors, after the pandemic, easier than darker colors. I also tell them to pick a neutral or ash shade, unless they are a red or warm tone. These colors tend to favor warm tones. Just apply around the hairline if you have gray around it and part area.  Do not apply to the entire head!”


Another great option, I’ve heard, for gray hair is Phyto RE30, which brings back color to your hair without using coloring pigments. It’s a daily use spray that I just started using – it takes 3 months for results, so TBD!

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