To Hair-Do or Hair-Don’t

by Anna Poulson

In a Socially-Distanced Salon or From the Comfort of Your Home, Here’s How to Manage the COVID-19 Tresses

Photo by Element5

Roots. Split Ends. Tangled locks. Months later, the COVID-19 mop persists and our hair still looks…let’s just say different. Although salons are well into safely reopening, blow-out fanatics and the “just-a-trim” crowd alike find themselves still trying to resurrect their pre-COVID hair as appointments remain far and few between. Those that are able to snag a coveted spot in the stylist chair are welcomed back with a host of new regulations and limitations to ensure safety. From no-blow-dry sessions to outdoor haircuts, the new norm of haircare reconsiders the post-pandemic practicality of the routine cut.

But whether you’re ready to snap that glorious black cape back on, struggling to get an appointment with your go-to, or want to take a stab at your mane yourself until community spread lowers, we have the solution for you (well, with a little help from our friends!). Before grabbing the scissors and boxed hair dye and botching a skilled stylist’s well-honed work, take a look at what top local stylists advise to keep your locks happy and healthy.

Katrina Moore of GlamSquad cuts the hair of a 10-year-old girl. Photo by Dara Klatt.


Born as an in-home service, GlamSquad was “made for this moment,” says founder and chairman Jason Perri. With seven years of experience offering beauty treatments in clients’ personal spaces, the service is familiar with the challenges and advantages of an out-of-salon experience and has updated their safety protocols in respect to CDC guidelines.

With the recent launch of their at-home haircutting service, GlamSquad has seen an immediate uptick in bookings as clients in desperate need of a trim are delighted to have a safe option from the comfort of their own home or outdoor space. As clients were requesting haircuts for the whole family, GlamSquad expanded the service to include kids’ cuts and family packages. A standalone kids haircut (available for ages 4 to 12) is $60, with a family haircut that includes two adults and two kids priced at $250 (valued at $320). While coloring services are not currently available, the team at GlamSquad is actively working on a plan to add this option to their repertoire.

Note: For sanitation reasons, stylists cannot do barbering and will only provide scissor cuts at this time for men and boys.

All beauty professionals are required to follow a strict safety protocol including proper PPE (mask, gloves), sanitation procedures and additional certification.

Nuri Yurt, Owner/Stylist at Toka Salon

With three locations in the Washington area, Yurt’s Toka Salon is well-known to locals for its timeless styles and has been featured in Allure magazine as the “Best Hair Color in Washington, D.C.” The biggest mistake they see clients make in at-home care is getting the hair too dark with box color treatments. Instead of coloring the whole head, they should opt for a temporary fix on the “T zone” — the part and the face frame, perhaps the neck area if a ponytail is their go-to style. For that next Zoom meeting, Yurt suggests temporarily masking roots creatively: “Tie a scarf around your head or throw on a cute hat. It makes a great conversation starter!”

COVID-19 Update: While Toka Salon did offer at-home haircuts while their doors were shuttered, they only offer in-salon cuts now that they are reopen for business. However, they do have the capability to do outdoor appointments at their salon if requested. Toka only allows for six people in the salon at any time, with strict social distancing and masking required.

Toka Salon. 3251 Prospect St. NW. 202-333-5133.

Michael Canalé, Owner/Stylist at Canalé Hair

Canalé is known for coloring the hair of Hollywood’s elite, including Jennifer Aniston’s “The Rachel’’ look. While based in Los Angeles, he has a loyal fan base in the District and has seen clients here for over 30 years. Until your next coloring appointment, he recommends four strategies. (1) The easiest: wear a headband that covers your grey; (2) Use a spray that will temporarily touch up the grey areas like COLOR WOW Root Cover Up or Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray (both available on Amazon); (3) Try demi-permanent color, which lasts up to two weeks, or semi-permanent color, which lasts up to six weeks; (4) Extend color with gloss. Canalé has his own line of color-lasting products and recently launched a Signature Gloss to extend hair color for two to three weeks (best used right after hair coloring). For existing clients, Canalé has an at-home package with a customized color kit that he helps clients apply via FaceTime.

COVID-19 Update: Michael Canalé is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. on September 14-17; October 5th-8th; November 9-12 and December 7-10. All appointments must be booked in advance. To schedule a session in Canale’s D.C. calendar, call (310) 273-8080.

LoAnn Lai, Owner/Stylist at Salon L’eau

Lai and her European-trained team of stylists at Salon L’eau are getting back into their normal routine welcoming clients into their elegant three-story row house in the heart of Georgetown. But if you can’t make it in yet, they recommend clients “use this time to nurture your hair.” The best way to do that is to strengthen and repair dry or damaged hair through deep moisturizing treatments or hair masks.  For severely damaged hair, use a mask once a week; fine hair once every two or three weeks. Apply these treatments two inches off the roots to prevent lifeless and oily roots.

COVID-19 Update: Salon L’eau is currently offering in-salon haircuts in two forms: inside, with six feet distancing and glass barriers between shampoo units; or outside, in a temporary salon set up in their back patio. Guests’ temperatures are checked at the entrance, the salon is deep cleaned weekly, and staff are required to wear masks at all times. The salon is also continuing to assist clients with at-home color kits as requested. 

Salon L’eau. 3240 P St NW.. 202-625-2220.

Isabelle Goetz, Owner/Stylist at Izzy Salon

Having worked with Washington powerhouses including Hillary Clinton for over 20 years, Goetz knows how to create one-of-a-kind styles that make lasting impressions. She and her team encourage clients to be patient with hair and color until they can come in for their next appointment. If clients do choose to color their own hair, she suggests using lighter tones as dark tones are not easy to overcome later. If you wait on color, do light touch-ups with L’Oréal Color Touch or dpHUE Color Touch-up Spray (both available on Amazon). The team also advises clients to be careful with any at-home hair cuts and to only cut bangs if possible. Goetz’s go-to product for caring for hair at home is coconut oil.

COVID-19 Update: Izzy Salon limits its space to 10 people at a time with masks mandatory.  After each client, the station is completely disinfected before the next client is even allowed into the salon. They do offer an at-home hair cut option, which rings in at $250 compared to their in-salon price of $125. 

Izzy Salon. 2903 M St NW. 202-342-2675.

Hair at Home 101:

  • Give your hair a rest. Try not to use heat products like curling irons or flat irons.
  • Don’t be ambitious. Less is more when cutting or coloring your own hair. Only trim your hair and use temporary coloring products, like root sprays.
  • Leave highlighting to the professionals.
  • Phone for help. Contact your stylist before attempting at-home cuts, color or other treatments.


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