I went about a year and a half between my last two haircuts—not on purpose, mind you. I had an appointment to see Joey Silvestera at Blackstones salon that ended up coinciding perfectly with the first week of lockdown. It took another six months for me to finally come in, and by then I had so much breakage that if I grasped all of my hair together in a ponytail, it looked whittled down to a point like a cartoon character's. As Silvestera cut off the three or so inches that had already started flaking off on their own, I realized I had forgotten what healthy hair looked like.
After my cut, I asked Silvestera how I could avoid a similar situation over the coming year. Like many Americans, I'm going into winter expecting another lockdown—last week hit a high for new COVID cases in the US, and over 170 counties across the country are considered hot spots. “There’s no silver bullet haircut that’s going to look good for months and months,” Silvestera told me. But, he did explain that there are certain things you can ask for (and stay away from) when you’re trying to prolong time between salon appointments. A cut has the potential to look good—even great!—for four months, if you do the right things.
“Mid-length to long hair, specifically below the collar bone, is a long runway haircut,” said Silvestera. Instead of asking for texture, he suggested opting for a blunt cut to prolong its bounce. After several months without a trim it’s inevitable that your ends will start to thin out from breakage, and with a non-blunt cut, you might notice them looking wispy and sparse. (Like I did.) A cut straight across better preserves the integrity of the shaft so hair is less prone to breakage, and while it looks really sharp at first, the cut softens up over time. That way, breakage is less noticeable. Silvestera is an expert at the blunt cut, but any stylist should be able to achieve it—just ask for super clean ends. “That should be an indicator to a stylist right away to not razor the hair, or texturize it too much," said Silvestera.
Some other things to keep in mind as you head into your next appointment:
Contrary to what you might think, thick hair isn't a contraindication for a blunt cut. “Even if the bottom edge of the hair is cut blunt, you can still remove internal weight,” he added.
If your hair is curly or wavy you can play around with length more than your straight-haired peers—it won't look as awkward as it grows out.
But if you have straight hair, a short cut, like pixie or even a bob, requires more frequent touch-ups and will start to look different (read: not so great) as it grows out. “A lot of people have longer hair right now because of COVID, and in theory you might think, ‘Oh, if I cut off all my hair now, I can just grow it back out and it’ll be great.’ That’s not always the case.” If you already have a short cut you can touch it up as needed, and then have a plan for making the grow out chic—beanies are helpful, Silvestera said with a laugh.
Bangs are a no-go, because even a half-inch of hair growth is going to make a huge difference in the look of your style.
The bottom line is, it's about the bottom line. There's a lot of flexibility—you can still play with the length, get face-framing layers, or add a little movement in the mid-shaft—but a blunt perimeter creates the illusion of healthy ends for as long as possible.
Post-cut, Silvestera emphasized proper haircare for the long haul. Frequent masking can help your hair from breaking off at the ends, and he also recommended applying an oil before you shower to act as a barrier between your hair and shampoo. If you are particularly concerned with trimming (or attached to a short style), he suggested investing in a toolkit now. Thinning shears, clippers, and neck trimmers all sold out online last time around—if you want to maintain your shape at home, invest while stock is available.
Photo via ITG