What Beauty Routines Can You DIY, and Which Ones You Shouldn’t!

A Game-Changing Flat Iron from Dyson

In such a time as these, non-essential appointments are being canceled if they haven’t been already. There are quite a few beauty routines I think you can do on yourself in the time being, but there are also a few that you should really save for a professional.

As someone who worked as a stylist, and owned my own business as well, I have a true appreciation and knowledge of what it takes to be a qualified professional in the beauty industry. My hope is that this blog post provides you will a little help to get you by during this time, but also a full acknowledgment that no one can replace the professional you were seeing just a few weeks ago.

One of the most special parts of being a hairstylist was the fact that my work allowed me to be in physical contact with my clients. I washed their hair with my own hands, colored or cut their hair, and then styled it. The physical interaction between my clients and I was allowed due to trust and friendship.

If you have a stylist or beauty technician that you love, you understand how comfortable and enjoyable it can be when you go to your appointment. I’m sad that it is put on hold for the time being, though it seems to be for the best.

There are less risky beauty routines to do at home, and then there are those that can create major, major problems for you down the line. Let me first share a few straight forward DIY Beauty Routines that you can handle during this time at home.

I’ve shared a few different blog posts and videos about DIY manicures, and a handful of posts about my favorite nail products and polishes.

I’ve also shared some of my favorite self-tanning products if you are into that kind of thing. I have tried a new brand recently so you can expect an updated review post coming soon!

Easy beauty routines to do in the shower are body scrubs or deep conditioning treatments for your hair. You can also get into the routine of doing a clarifying shampoo once a week or so if you go a few days between washes.

If you are feeling ready, you can try maintaining your eyebrows or other small areas on your face where there is unwanted hair. I shared a step by step demonstration of the Flamingo pre-waxed strips on Instagram, click here to check it out.

I love doing a Baby Foot foot peel every few months to get the extra dry skin off my feet. It’s a strange experience but it makes my skin so soft!

On the flip side, there are a few beauty processes that I cannot recommend that you do at home. It goes against everything I stand for as a former professional stylist. I know what can go wrong when you try these things at home, and it has the potential to be dangerous and ultimately end up costing you a lot of money to fix.

One of the questions I’ve been asked recently given the fact that the world is shutting down more and more every single day during this COVID-19 pandemic is how to color your own hair at home. This is risky, can cause serious damage to the hair or scalp, and can really create a bigger problem down the line for your hair color goals. I’d normally never ever recommend coloring your own hair, but I’m fully aware that so many of you are in a position where you are trying to cover grey or have very noticeable outgrowth and you still need to maintain a professional appearance for your job.

First, try switching up your part. I know this may not seem like a significant enough change, but it may be able to buy you a little bit of extra time. After that, just promise me that you’ll do everything you can to wait until you can see your stylist again. And then finally, if you are in a place where you truly cannot wait until your next appointment with your professional stylist, then here are the next steps I would take.

First, try to get ahold of your stylist and see what he or she would recommend. I’ve seen some salons providing at-home kits with professional hair color for clients to do to themselves while they wait. This could be a really great option for those of you with a simple, one-step hair color process. In general, covering grey or going “darker” with your hair color is more simple of a process than highlighting or trying to go lighter.

If you are able to get the color you want with a gloss (aka toner, semi or demi-permanent color, etc), you can likely do that at home without too much trouble. While I haven’t tried them myself, Kristen Ess does make a few at-home glossing kits that can help darken OR stay at the same lightness but adjust the tone. For example, if your blonde is turning brassy, you can use a “cool” gloss with violet or blue tones to help counteract the golden yellow brassiness.

If you need to cover grey, and cannot get a professional color from your stylist (which may not be allowed by the State Board for long, if at all, since you need to be licensed to handle professional color), try to color match to your existing color as closely as possible. Step outside, take a photo or have a friend help you determine how light or dark your hair is. Sunlight, or natural outdoor light, is the best way to have an unfiltered look at your color.

If you decide to color your hair at home, obviously follow the steps exactly. Set up your space to be clean, organized and have everything you need. Have plenty of duckbill clips, combs, and washcloths that can get stained.

One of the hardest things to do on your own hair is highlighting, so I’d discourage you from trying that on yourself. If you really cannot wait until your appointment, which I understand, you can look into at-home balayage kits to do just at your part and around the front of your face. The fewer highlights the better, and make the ones that you do put in count!

As far as product recommendations, I do not have any personal experience with any of these products but I wanted to share brands I’ve heard of or that look like reasonable options. Madison Reed is a company that helps you determine what at-home color would work best for you and ships it right to your door. They also have an at-home balayage kit. This kit doesn’t look like the easiest thing to do, but it could help you create highlights around your face and in your part area. This is also a great list of viable options for at-home hair color, from grey coverage to highlighting.

I think I’ve probably made my point but I want to assure you that while it may seem really simple, coloring your own hair can be a lot more complicated than you imagine, and if you make a mistake you are kind of stuck with it for at least the next few weeks.

Cutting your hair is a lot less dangerous (less risk of chemical burns or permanent damage to the hair), but it also is more complicated than you may imagine. As a friend, I’d tell you to just wait as long as you can until you can see your stylist. If you have to trim your bangs, which I totally understand, that is generally pretty simple to do. Always trim dry hair and don’t pull it too hard before you make a snip.

Lash Lifts are another beauty process that I would wait for a professional to do. There are so many reasons, from the lashes being bent in a weird direction to the product falling into your eye! Just grab a good old fashioned lash curler to get you through in the meantime!

More than anything beauty related, I truly hope you stay well and that we are all able to come through this pandemic stronger, more unified, and with a greater appreciation for the tenderness of human touch.


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Juli Ann Darnell says · 03.26.20

Hey Kate!

Do you have a RIKI mirror? Looking into buying one. Was curious what you thought/or what you used!


Sarah O says · 03.26.20

If your hair is long and straight, there’s no reason why you couldn’t cut it yourself. I’ve done mine a few times, and since I curl it every day it doesn’t matter if isn’t perfect. There are many times even a stylist hasn’t gotten it perfect and I’ve had to fix it. But yeah, if your style is layered or complicated then leave it to the professionals. But it’s just hair! 😁

Megan says · 03.26.20

Great info Kate! I haven’t tried it but have seen a spray on root powder by L’Oréal. Think it’s pretty much like a colored dry shampoo, it washes out with each wash so there wouldn’t be any damage from it. Might help conceal gray roots for a little while!
Any tips for what to do if you just need a trim? I’m scared to try that at home, but worried my ends will be really fried by the time the salons reopen! I tried a deep conditioning treatment but it didn’t make a huge difference. Advice?

Carol says · 03.27.20

I use it all.the.time. It saves me between colors. And for $7 what’s to lose…washes right out.

Patricia Riley says · 03.26.20

I have colored my own hair at home for decades, but it is a known process and I do not switch it up much. It does not work well for anyone except those with lighter hair and you have to know what you are doing. That said, if it´s roots that are bothering people, look for a root touch up spray. That can buy time until you can see a professional. #notahairsylist

Meredith says · 03.26.20

Thoughts on cutting kids hair?

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 03.27.20

Thanks for the clarification! Have a great day! ❤️✨

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Patti Barber says · 03.27.20

I have to say I am in crisis mode now due to over an inch of grey roots showing. I missed my regular appointment due to having the flu, and was scheduled to go get my color done the week the “lock down” started. My hairdresser sent me a text with the formula I need (6n) and I went to Sally’s to buy the best product possible. I have colored my hair at home before, so I going to go for it. Mainly so I don’t scare my grandchildren when Facetiming them!! PS My husband is going to help so I get it on my hair correctly!

Kate says · 03.27.20

Good luck! Great call on texting your stylist!

Stephanie says · 03.27.20

Any tips for trimming boys hair? I’m terrified to try! I’ve trimmed around the ears but they need it all over. I’m afraid I will cut it and it will look they cut it themselves! Lol! Thanks for the advice in the post.

Michele says · 03.27.20

Since many of us have time nowadays to play with our hair that we ordinarily wouldn’t have, are there any of your tutorials which you feel are your personal favorites that you could round up and share in a sort of “best of” post? I know you have a ton, but if you could maybe round up a few that would work on different hair types, I think it would be a fun post for your readers!

Just a thought! You do YOU!

Jane says · 03.27.20

You mention cutting bangs. Any tips on this?

E says · 03.27.20

You can do a gloss or demi permanent a shade or two darker than the length on your roots in a staggered pattern to help make your grown out highlights look intentional, too! Less risky than permanent or high lift color/bleach! Sort of like a revere balayage.

Melissa says · 03.27.20

Another possible option for home coloring… my salon is doing “color to go” during this shutdown – they will mix your formula for you, and you make an appointment to come pick up your color and do it at yourself at home. This way you know you’re getting the right color and in a small way, still supporting your local business.

Vanessa says · 03.27.20

As somebody who has dyed my hair at home (long time ago), I couldn’t agree with you more! Especially blonde! Just don’t do it!

Renee O'Connor says · 03.27.20

Have you (or anyone reading this) ever tried the Overtone products? What are your thoughts on coloring conditioners?

wally says · 03.28.20

I’m currently dying my hair rose gold. Seems to me like a really great time to play with fun colors!

Stephanie says · 03.28.20

I have used Madison Reed color a few times and it is very easy and user friendly. The balayage kits looks complicated but is pretty easy once you try it. I don’t have time for salon visits so it is the next best thing. Just be sure to temper your expectation as it won’t look like a high end salon.

Patricia Kaelin says · 03.28.20

Love your tips and hair tutorials. I have tried several!

Karly says · 03.28.20

I’ve been coloring my hair at home for about a year now. I have level 4 hair and I’m just trying to dye it the same color to cover grays. I get product at Sally’s because it’s 1000% better than drugstore color. It is a giant mess and I’m getting better every time.

Kylie says · 03.28.20

Thanks for this. I had an-already-much-overdue hair trim scheduled for two weeks ago that of course I cancelled because I was sick… I’m just desperate enough to do a really simple chop off the last inch of my hair. Is there shears you can suggest in the $40-60 price range (knowing you strongly recommend that I *dont* trim it myself but desperate times…!)? Thanks!!

Danielle says · 03.31.20

Completely agree that it’s a bad idea to cut your hair at home (especially anything drastic!). But for us thick haired girls, could we try thinning it out ourselves? Mine has to be trimmed and thinned like clockwork and I’m already overdue, it’s getting SO heavy! I know better than to try cutting the ends but wondered what you thought about thinning at home?

Katelyn Shenton says · 04.12.20

Hi Kate,

Can you share some bikini waxing products you recommend for home use?


Mary says · 04.13.20

Do you recommend any at home teeth whitening products?