Top Yorkshire hairdressers give their lockdown hair hacks to try at home until salons reopen

Two reigning champion hairdressers - British Hairdresser of the Year Robert Eaton and Yorkshire Salon of the Year owner Louise Howard-Long - give Stephanie Smith their dos and don’ts for dealing with wayward hair during the lockdown.

Robert Eaton says: "If you can create a great look with your natural movement and texture then do it - there has never been a better time to try a new style." Picture: Wella Professionals.
Robert Eaton says: "If you can create a great look with your natural movement and texture then do it - there has never been a better time to try a new style." Picture: Wella Professionals.

This is a tough time for hair. With salons closed throughout the land, enthusiastic amateurs are taking matters into their own hands and boldly attempting to tackle their split ends, outgrown styles and dull roots. Some are even allowing their family and household members to test their hairdressing skills armed with scissors, clippers or a box dye.

Amusing? Perhaps. Sensible? In most cases, certainly not, and hairdressers advise against too much at-home intervention, warning that long-term damage can be caused to hair and scalp by well-intentioned but ultimately doomed experiments. Understandably, they want us back in the salon as soon as it is safe, but many are still available online, on social media or at the end of a phone to help with hair dilemmas and problems.

Here, two of Yorkshire’s award-winning hairdressers give their lockdown locks advice.

Robert Eaton advises that it's better to work with your hair's natural colour when roots come through, rather than try to cover them with a box colour. Picture: Wella Professional.

Robert Eaton of Russell Eaton

Robert Eaton is the reigning British Hairdresser of the Year and creative director of Russell Eaton, a 43-year-old Yorkshire family business with salons in Barnsley and Leeds.

In preparation for the eventual end of the lockdown and a return to the salon, social distancing, he says, will be difficult for hairdressers to achieve, although the team is making plans to separate workstations, use disposable towels and gowns and considering changes to future work patterns. In the meantime, he has these tips on how to look after hair at home:

First, give it a rest, he says. “Daily styling and blow-drying can have a very drying and damaging effect on your hair. Think about using a treatment every few days and try the products you may have bought but never really had the time to use or try properly.”

Lockdown hair: When you can't visit the salon, contact your stylist for great tips on disguising and working with your regrowth, says Robert Eaton. Picture: Wella Professional.

Work with your hair, rather than against it. “Many people spend hours smoothing and straightening natural waves and curls away. Now is the perfect opportunity to experiment with texture and styling your hair in new ways,” he says. “If you can create a great look with your natural movement and texture, then do it. Natural waves are a big trend at the moment.”

Robert warns against wading into the tricky waters of home colouring: “A quick home dye can take years to grow out and many visits to the salon to correct it if anything goes wrong.

“Box colours primarily just offer cover-all options, so selecting the right tone to use and getting exactly the result you are looking for is very unlikely. Stop and think for a moment if you’d rather work with the roots or have an all-over colour that is not what you wanted? If you are still considering it then please get in touch. Your colourist knows your hair and will be able to give you honest advice and guidance. ”

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Picture credit - Sassoon International. Use the lockdown to discover and embrace your hair's natural wave and texture, says Robert Eaton.

Many clients are asking if they can or should try to return to their natural hair colour. Robert says: “The transition from built-up colour can take many months and even years to grow out. Hair transformations on celebrities or on social media often create the impression that anything is possible. Sometimes you have to be patient and grow colour out with time and care.

“Root touch-up cosmetic sprays, powder and mascara type brushes can be a great help. Products like Wella Colour Fresh can be great too as these are true semi-permanent colours that can match the in-salon shade. They can blend grey hair and soften the root until you get a chance to get back into the salon.”

And grey hair has never been more fashionable, with the Grombre trend – positively allowing your grey hair to flourish and become part of your style – now a global phenomenon.

As a final message, Robert asks that we continue to support hair salons, keep in touch with our stylists and colourists and then help them bounce back.

British Hairdresser of the Year 2019 Robert Eaton, pictured at the Leeds Russell Eaton salon. Picture James Hardisty.

Russell Eaton salons are in Leeds and Barnsley. See

For a personalised consultation call or virtual consultation see Instagram @Russelleatonhair @Robertjeaton and Facebook: Russell Eaton or email [email protected]

Louise Howard-Long, Architect Hair

Louise Howard-Long is the owner of Architect Hair, Headingley, which won the Best Salon in Yorkshire and Colourist of the Year at the Yorkshire Salon Awards 2019.

When it comes to roots, it’s always along the parting that a regrowth shows most, Louise says, adding: “This might help. In front of a mirror comb the top of your hair forward from the crown and using the end of a comb draw a zig zag loosely following the line of your parting. When you get to the forehead comb the hair to the sides – this should get rid of a harsh line and blend away some of the root.”

For covering grey roots, the best options are temporary sprays or powders, such as Colour Wow and Root Perfect, she says. “Obviously, they have to be reapplied after every wash but won’t stain or cause problems that your stylist will have nightmares correcting – and have to charge you a fortune for. If you can’t leave the house and can’t bear to look in the mirror, an appropriately coloured powder eyeshadow will cover along the parting and hairline. For those with just a few grey strands, mascara works well too.

Oribe Airbrush Root Touch Up Spray costs from £25, see for details and shades and Russell Eaton can post them to clients after a virtual personalised colour consultation - Instagram @Russelleatonhair @Robertjeaton Facebook: Russell Eaton email [email protected]

“For dark roots with highlights or full blonde colours, don’t try to colour these yourself, you will regret it, it will go yellow. There is no way in a million years that you can replicate the subtlety of professional highlights. For full blonde colours you will not be able to get the colour on the roots only and could end up seriously damaging your hair.

“We advise against the use of toning shampoo too much and certainly not just before a visit to the salon as it can mess with professional toners but short-term use is fine.

“Think of that growing out blonde as one step further to a balayage,” she says, referring to the on-trend style that uses a freehand hair colouring technique to give a blended natural look of sun-kissed hair colour.

“Ultimately, use this down-time to get your hair in the best condition. Give it a break and leave your hair another day before you wash it – over time this will make a difference.

“Be careful tying your hair up all 
the time as harsh bands will cause breakage – use the softest of bands – scrunchies are good as are telephone wire types.

Architect Hair is in Headingley, Leeds. Tel: 113 275 5884; email: [email protected], visit Instagram: @architect_hair Facebook: ArchitectHair

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"There is no way in a million years that you can replicate the subtlety of professional highlights," says Louise Howard-Long of Architect Hair.
Learn to work with your roots as you wait for the lockdown to end, says Louise Howard-Long of Architect Hair in Otley
Louise Howard-Long of Architect Hair in Headingley.
"Use your down time to give yourself a deep treatment. Olaplex No 3 is the crème de la crème of treatments and the best way of rebuilding damaged hair," says Louise Howard-Long of Architect Hair. The full Olaplex family of hair treatments, each costing £26, is available online at