The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

New national lockdown: How to keep your hair fresh at home while salons are closed, according to experts

Whether you want to cover up roots or add life into lacklustre tresses, these are the essentials to use to keep hair healthy 

Louise Whitbread
Tuesday 05 January 2021 14:58
<p>From midnight on 5 January, the whole of England will be in national lockdown</p>

From midnight on 5 January, the whole of England will be in national lockdown

Boris Johnson has announced that England will enter its third national lockdown in a bid to control the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The new strict measures, which come into force at midnight on 5 January, mean that everyone will be required to stay at home other than for limited exceptions, and schools and colleges will close. The latest rules will stay in place until at least mid-February.

This also means a ban on households mixing and all non-essential businesses must close, including bars, restaurants, gyms, nail salons and hairdressers.

While you may have sorted out overgrown roots, split ends and ill-advised home dye jobs after the first and second lockdown restrictions lifted, we’re now facing over a month without our beloved salon appointments.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your tresses stay in tip-top condition, whether that’s regular hair masks to keep breakage and bay or a trusty root cover-up to see you through.

It’s also a good idea to get into a regular maintenance routine too, as cases continue to rise, as it may be a while before your next salon visit.

Read on for expert tips on how to keep your locks fresh in lockdown, with advice and product recommendations from the hairdressers themselves.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Shampoo and conditioners

Expert colourist and founder of Josh Wood Colour, Josh Wood, tells The Independent how to ensure hair that may be coloured doesn’t need to look any less polished just because you’re at home. His first top tip? “Make sure you’re using sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners that are designed to care for coloured hair.”

In our IndyBest review of the best sulphate-free products, after a rigorous testing period, the R+CO Television perfect hair shampoo (Cult Beauty, £28.50) and conditioner (Cult Beauty, £29.50) earned itself top marks for its salon-quality results. 

Maintenance is key to hair health, so ensure you’re using a good shampoo and conditioner

“The shampoo is an innovative multi-tasking product, using juniper oil to balance out the oils in your scalp while badassu seed oil deeply conditions each strand,” said our reviewer. We also found the conditioner added body to even the flattest hair

While pricey, we think its well worth the investment, particularly if you’re looking to splash out and treat yourself. 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a brand as reliable as LivingProof when it comes to delivering healthy hair, with lots to love about the Living Proof perfect hair day triple detox shampoo (lookfantastic, £24) and accompanying perfect hair day conditioner (Cult Beauty, £19).

If you live in a busy city, the water may be harder, causing a build-up on your hair

“Triple detox removes all buildup from products, pollution and hard water,” explained our reviewer, which can often occur if you live in bigger cities with lower air quality and high pollution. 

After use, we found our hair felt light, voluminous with more bounce. “The conditioner utilises the brand’s trademark “healthy hair molecule” (OFPMA), which protects your hair from dirt. After a week of use, we found that this also helped decrease tangles," our tester said.

Managing a new hair colour

If before the tier 4 came into effect, you changed up your hair colour during a much-awaited salon visit, or even with an at-home kit, Wood recommends using a toning gloss to help the colour last a lot longer.

We’d recommend the Josh Wood shade shot glosses (Boots, £19) which add a healthy shine to hair and make you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the salon rather than your bathroom, that will last six washes.

Don’t let your hair get dull during lockdown with this speedy treatment that will boost shine

Simply massage into clean damp hair, (use a quarter of the tube for short to medium hair and half a tube for long hair) leave for 20 minutes, then rinse until the water runs clear. 

The results are glossy, vibrant strands that will help prevent colour fading.

Available in chestnut brown, berry brunette, smoky brunette, cherry, champagne blonde and ice blonde, there’s a shade to suit most hair colours, but we’d love to see one for black hair too.

Hair masks

If you’re looking to keep your hair nourished during the winter months and in between salon appointments, a good hair mask will keep tresses hydrated if used weekly.

The Oribe gold lust pre-shampoo intensive treatment (Cult Beauty, £67.50) came out on top in our guide to the best hair masks, an indulgent treat that delivers hydration without feeling greasy.

Use this once a week for hydrated locks 

It’s a pre-shampoo treatment that has wax-like balm, but our reviewer found it melted into a light, buttery oil once rubbed between their fingers. 

To use, apply onto dry hair, leave for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal. “Despite being an oil, this did not leave a residue on the hair or prove difficult to rinse out. Out of all the masks we tested, we felt this penetrated the most, delivering hydration while being light enough to not weigh the hair down," our reviewer said.

The end result for our tester was noticeably smoother, shinier and less frizzy hair. A formula rich in coconut, macadamia and argon oils with caffeine, biotin and niacinamide work together to repair damage and strengthen hair cuticles. 

Another one we loved was the Moroccanoil smoothing mask (Amazon, £32.85), that our reviewer described as “a godsend for those who struggle with frizzy hair.”

Fight the frizz with this deliciously-scented argon-oil mask

Apply as you would a traditional mask: after shampooing, comb through and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing out. 

“Despite being packed full of oils, it felt light on the hair and was easy to rinse out so will work for fine, medium and thick hair types,” our tester said.

Root cover-ups

If unwelcome emerging roots begin to appear at your scalp, thus revealing your natural hair colour, don’t fret, you’re actually on-trend says Wood. “Thank god roots are in at the moment so you can wear hair out for quite a while before you need to brighten up your roots.”

However, if that’s not the look you’re going for then a root touch up will help conceal any unwanted colour. 

In fact, the Josh Wood Colour root smudger (Josh Wood Colour, £15) was awarded the number one spot by IndyBest for covering up hair growth with its failsafe sponge applicator that can be applied on both dry and damp hair.

Don’t let re-emerging roots ruin your hair, instead reach for this smudging tool that will extend your colour

At an affordable £15, it comes in three shades, darker brown, lighter brown and darker blonde, it’s an easy way to stay on top of your colour and reduce those salon visits when restrictions lift.

A spray bottle also makes for easy application, and the Rita Hazan root concealer touch up spray (Net-A-Porter, £20) was another product we loved. 

Cover up greying roots with a few sprays of this 

As explained by our reviewer, it’s created by New York A-list hairstylist Rita Hazan, who has been colouring hair for decades and knows a thing or two about what really covers grey hair.

“Everything from the power of the nozzle, the depositing of colour, the staying power and the five universal shades on offer are all on point from this product,” they said. 

It was also fully transfer-resistant on clothes and easily washed off at the end of the day. Just remember to shake the bottle before application.

Styling tools

Once you’ve got the treatments covered, a decent hairdryer will make all the difference to how you feel in the morning. 

While we’re strong advocates of the messy bun, every now and then it’s nice to feel a little more glamorous as you go between the rooms in your house to start your day at work.

Put the money you may have saved while missing out on salon visits towards the Dyson supersonic hair dryer (Dyson, £299) which featured in our review of the best hair dryers.

Fast, quiet and effective, this is a brilliant investment

It exceed all our tester’s expectations, working speedily to dry hair and leaving significantly less frizz than other dryers. “It comes with three different nozzles, designed for diffusion, volume and precise drying. As sleek in technology as it is in appearance, it also regulates its temperature 40 times per second to prevent heat damage,” they explained. 

If you’re looking for something more affordable, try the BaByliss rose blush 2200 hair dryer (John Lewis & Partners, £30), which our reviewer loved for being straightforward and fuss-free.

This affordable hairdryer produces salon-worthy results 

“Our hair dried quickly and felt bouncy and smooth thanks to its super ionic frizz-control feature,” said our tester, before adding, “a lot of hair dryers can let you down with their cool shot button, which either shoots too gently or too warm to actually be useful, however, we were really impressed by its power and ability to set every style tried out.”

For more hair saviours, read our review of thebest hair volumising products for full and bouncy locks

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.