COVID-19: How the Coronavirus Impacts Your Hair Washing Routine
“Wait, do I have to start washing my hair more now?”
If you’ve asked yourself that question during a recent 20-second hand-scrubbing stint at your sink, you’re not alone.
Personal hygiene is one of our clearest bets for beating the coronavirus, which is leading many to wonder if the same hardcore washing routine implored for our hands needs apply to our hair.
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Here’s what we know right now about your hair’s potential involvement in the spread of COVID-19, along with some tips for how you can take extra care of your hair (and ultimately, yourself) during these challenging times.
Impact of COVID-19 on Hair Salons and Hair Stylists
If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you’re already aware that coronavirus is hitting the hair and makeup industry hard.
In about a week, we went from some people proactively canceling appointments as salons stayed open and increased their preventative hygiene measures to half the nation forcing salons and spas to close up shop indefinitely.
By the end of March, at least 229 million people across 26 states, 66 counties, 14 cities and one territory were being urged to stay home. “Shelter-in-place” and “stay-at-home” mandates are instructing people to avoid all nonessential businesses until further notice. And as much as many of us believe our hair appointments are essential, the government does not.
It’s taking a significant toll on the more than 1.7 million people who work in the hair and nail industry. Some are willing to set up shop at home or come to your place for a cut and style to maintain their only source of income, but these types of interactions are still strongly discouraged in the name of social distancing.
If you want to support your salon or stylist during these challenging times, consider shopping from their online retail store, buying gift cards for future appointments or sending a friendly tip rather than risking your health.
Because in addition to the risk of socialization right now, your hair itself could also play a role in curbing or contributing to the spread of COVID-19.
Can the Coronavirus Live on My Hair?
The short answer is yes. Or at the very least, probably.
Scientists’ understanding of COVID-19 is evolving in real-time, so there isn’t a definitive ruling on how long the virus could stay locked onto your locks or how common hair has been as a mechanism for its moving from one person to another.
The CDC suggests the virus could stay viable for hours or days, depending on the type of surface. But because hair is more porous, the coronavirus shouldn’t be able to survive as long as it could on something smoother, like stainless steel. And because we don’t reach out and touch things with our hair quite as much as we do with our hands, it’s a significantly lower threat for coming in direct contact with the virus to begin with.
Still, hair is a surface of some sort. And thanks to the “don’t touch your face” direction, we’re all pretty aware of how easy it is for us to make incidental contact with our head and hair.
Doctor Recommended: Daily Shampooing to Defend Against Coronavirus
That’s why several doctors recently recommended to Today that washing your hair belongs on the list of best practices for beating COVID-19.
"Using shampoo, there are surfactants — charged molecules that will bind to dirt, to oil, to bacteria, to viruses — and get them off or kill them," explained Dr. Adam Friedman, the interim chair of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
"Washing hair will prevent whatever matter is on your hair from being maintained."
Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, agrees. In that same Today article, he recommends people wash their hair daily during this coronavirus pandemic.
How To Take Care of Your Hair During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Wait a minute - daily cleansing?
If reading that made you shed a tear somewhere inside for fear that shampooing every day will wash away all the hard work you’ve put into your hair so far, we understand.
Typically, most hair care experts recommend you only wash your hair only a few times per week to retain the scalp’s natural oils and avoid the risk of drying it out.
But these aren’t typical times.
Fortunately, there are still ways to keep your hair in good condition while keeping it corona-free.
Here are a couple of quick tips to promote healthy hair growth that will leave hair soft, silky, and full of gorgeous shine, even during this time of duress.
- DON’T: Wash your hair in scalding hot water
This will result in dehydrated hair and increase frizz and static. It’s alright to begin by rinsing with warm water, which will open your hair’s cuticles and allow products to sink in and do their job. But before you rinse them out, you want to switch to colder water to seal those cuticles back up with all the benefits your products provide locked inside.
- DO: Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner.
You want to keep your hair hydrated and moisturized (yes, those are two different things) during this time of duress.
Pai-Shau’s Replenishing Hair Cleanser and will not strip your hair of natural oils. Unlike other heavily-based oily products that have large molecules too big to penetrate deep inside the hair, Pai-Shau’s Signature Tea Complex uses smaller molecules in its formula, so it's able to provide deep cleansing power without disrupting any of your scalp’s natural oil production.
- DON’T: Lather in the shampoo on the ends of your hair.
This will only further dry out the ends. Instead, experts recommend starting your lather at the nape of your neck and working your way up to your hairline. To really get the most out of your cleanse, section your hair into parts and spend a few minutes scrubbing each section of your scalp.
- DO: Consider adding an oil-free serum to the mix.
If you’re stepping up your shampooing frequency to be extra safe during the coronavirus pandemic, you might want to add in an additional product to help maintain moisture levels.
Using Pai-Shau Biphasic Infusion - a daily, oil-free hair serum rejuvenating concentrate with a potent amount of our Signature Tea Complex - will nourish the hair structure, attract moisture, and lock it inside.
It also surrounds hair with a sheer veil of shielding properties to protect against environmental factors, which will prevent your hair from drying out.
- DON’T: Brush your hair immediately after the shower.
When you get out of the shower, your hair is extremely fragile and prone to breakage. The chances of doing more harm than good by brushing immediately will increase along with the number of times you’re cleansing each week. Instead, use a product like Pai-Shau’s Replenishing Cream Conditioner (an conditioner to strengthen hair) which detangles hair and adds shine without adding weight, after you cleanse. Following a brief towel dry, spray Pai-Shau’s Something To BeLeave-In all over. The “multeatasking” product is not only a leave-in conditioner, but also adds shine and protects against environmental pollutions.
Tea-Based Products Can Be Your Hair’s Best Friend During Coronavirus
From healing to cleansing to beautification, the power of tea has been known since antiquity. Today, steeped tea leaves are second only to water as the world's most consumed beverage.
Naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidants make the tea leaves the perfect ingredient for beauty rituals, providing powerful purification and rejuvenation for hair, skin and scalp, courtesy of Mother Nature.
That’s why at Pai-Shau, we pack our Signature Tea Complex into every single product to give you intense moisture, lasting protection and beautiful hair. All Pai-Shau products are cruelty-free, vegan, colour-safe, keratin safe, gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free and phosphate-free. Even the packaging is BPA free!
If you’d like to learn more tips for healthy haircare or shop our collection, visit us today at www.pai-shau.com. We’ll be donating a portion of all our sales during this time to aid in COVID-19/coronavirus relief efforts to Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong Foundation, in partnership with Global Empowerment Mission.