Haircare at Home

With Sean Taaffe and Team

by Kerry Businesswomen’s Network

sean taaffe kerry business womens network

We’re all 7 weeks into lockdown now, but with all hair salons across Ireland closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been left to our own devices when it comes to hair care. Naturally, many of us have questions about taking care of our strands during this time and may at this stage have started colouring our hair to get us through. What’s for sure is that we have a few weeks of no professional hair care still to go, and more and more of us are going to be tempted to “have a go” at sorting our precious locks on our own.

To help you with your Haircare at Home journey, on May 12th, we brought Sean Taaffe, President of the Hairdressing Council of Ireland, owner of the acclaimed Sean Taaffe Hair & Beauty Salons and Training Academies in Kerry, and two of his top team; Kimberley Walker, Style Director in his Killorglin Salon, and Master Colour Specialist Sarah Aherne, to give you their tips on the dos and don’ts of at-home haircare.

Sean Taaffe: First of all a big thank you to Kerry business Women’s Network for having us on. The network has been invaluable for Sean Taaffe as a company. Our other director, Kara O’Shea, has been a member for several years and uses the network all the time, so it is a big big thank you.

A quick overview about where we are in the industry at the moment. As you’re probably aware, we are supposedly reopening on July 20th, obviously like salon owners and hairdressers across the county, we want to get back to work as soon as possible, but only as soon as it’s safe to do so. You might have seen some media coverage in the last week, where the message was that we want to get back no matter what because people need to get their hair done. Our message as a salon group and also my message as president of the Irish Hairdressing Counsel is that we want to get back to work and look after all of our lovely clients, but only when it is as safe as possible for our clients, and for our team. If that’s allowed before July 20th, we will welcome it with open arms, but if it is to be July 20th then once it’s safe to do so, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Until recently we were entirely recommending that people should try and wait in terms of color etc. and try and use temporary solutions. The announcement that it could possibly be another ten weeks until we open, leads us to think that a lot of people won’t be able to wait. That’s why we did the webinar with KBN to try and kind of give people some professional advice.

At-home hair colouring

ST: First of all, about the people who possibly may get away with home coloring and who absolutely won’t. We really want you to feel your best during this hard time; ideally, you would able to wait it out and use this time to condition your hair and get it into its best condition by using a mask once a week. However, we know that not everyone will want to wait it out, so for those that can’t wait, here’s our advice.


I have highlighted blonde hair, and my roots are really showing now. Can I use a box colour to re-touch the roots?

ST: For blondes with roots showing we really are discouraging home colouring because it’s just so difficult to get right. A good guide is to think of a golden sandy beach. If your hair color is lighter than that, I would be saying to absolutely forget trying to do anything at home. Even in the salon blonde is difficult, there are so many variables from the condition of your hair to the product that you’re using, to the timing that it’s left on that there are just too many opportunities for things to go wrong. Your darker roots are definitely going to look a lot better than a home color.

What do you recommend to use to hide my roots/ make my hair look as good as possible?

Kimberley Walker: For blondes with roots, we recommend using temporary root sprays. If your colour is going a bit brassy, use a purple shampoo or toner, or an occasional clarifying shampoo which is great to get out any kind of impurities from the water or styling products or dry shampoo. You can also use a weekly hair mask, Moroccan oil masks for the ends are great. We can’t do anything about the roots, but the ends will still look nice, conditioned, and toned. I would much rather see somebody with amazingly conditioned hair and some roots. We have time to do that now rather than to have hair fried with orange roots, which is a much harder fix.

Volume, volume, volume!

Volume is another way to disguise your roots. The first thing you want to do with blondes because we’re not coloring would be to concentrate on volume. Volume hides it a lot, there are techniques you can use to create volume, which lifts your hair and hides the regrowth.

Parting your hair on the opposite side to your usual parting will work by getting a bit more volume into the roots or trying to zigzag your parting instead of just parting in a line. Braiding is also very on-trend right now and will disguise your roots.

To add volume when blow-drying your hair, lift your roots up while you’re drying it, pull the hair forward or bend your head over, and just dry it upside down, that’s going to give you a whole lot of volume as well.

Another great way to get volume is to use dry shampoo roots to ends before you go to bed, pop your hair up in a band go to sleep. When you take it down the next morning, you’re going to have a lot of volume and bounciness in your hair.

Thick hairbands also work really well, especially when you’re hiding the dark roots. If you go online, H&M and Claire’s Accessories do really nice versions, they’re nice and thick, and you can wear one even if you had a little braid at the back.

H&M - Studded Alice band €7.99
h&M hairband
H&M - Conscious Scarf/hairband €7.99
clares acessories headband
Claire's Accessories - Ribbed Knotted Headband - Black
Claire's Accessories - Velvet Knotted Headband - Pink
Claire's Accessories - Velvet Knotted Headband - Pink

Darker Hair Colours

KW: Firstly, if you are using a colour at home, make sure to skin test; this is really really important. A lot of people will say I’m coloring my hair for years why do I have to have a skin test? It’s actually proven that the more frequently you color your hair, the more likely you are in your lifetime to hit what’s called reaction points. In simple terms, the person coloring their hair for the first time is going to be less likely to have a reaction than the person coloring their hair for the thousandth time. It’s really really important to do a skin test first because reactions can be quite kind of nasty. That is nothing against box colors, it can be the same in the salon, and that’s why we insist on skin testing.

For darker hair colours Kimberley has created a tutorial to guide you through colouring your own roots at home using a box colour. 

KW: If your hair is brown, the technique in this video is perfect because the key message here is not to color anything more than you have to. Obviously, if your hair is very short, you might have to do the whole thing, the video focuses on bob length or longer hair.

How to colour your roots at home

video tutorial by Kimberley Walker

What about using a natural color like nature change and henna blonde?

ST: It’s essential to realize there’s something quite unique about henna. It is probably the oldest hair coloring system in the world, the ancient Egyptians used to use. Compound henna is like a powder form, and it’s mixed with hot water. Now the problem with it (and again it’s not that we’re against henna) is it’s called a metallic dye, and the issue with this is that it’s incompatible with every other hair color on the planet. Any box color, hair salon color any color, and the reaction can be quite severe when the two come into contact, the hair can steam sizzle and snap. So whilst I would say in theory that natural might be the best route, if you use a henna compound colour, you cannot use any other type of hair colour, and visa versa. I don’t have an issue with like a Henna conditioning treatment, but I would really caution against using compound henna.

I’m thinking about doing my roots with a box color is there any brand that you can recommend?

Sarah Aherne: Because we don’t work with any box brands, we can’t recommend anything, but I would just say that when colouring as a brunette, to always go a shade lighter than you are because what I do know about box colors is they do tend to go a lot darker than the picture guide. So even though I can’t recommend a brand, I can just tell you to err on the side of caution and stay lighter than your color, and like that keep it to the roots only if possible, don’t bring the colour over your salon colour is it will cause a build-up of the home color. Just stick with the roots.

What is the best hair mask to use?

SA: Something that may be of interest to you in terms of condition, and what an awful lot of people don’t understand and even some hairdressers don’t really get is that condition is broken down into two things: moisture and repair.

Sometimes hair needs one, sometimes hair needs the other, and sometimes hair needs both. A lot of people will gravitate to one or the other, but in general-terms, if you have thick coarse wavy naturally dry hair, I would say it’s like that’s naturally thirsty you need moisture.

If you use heated hair irons a lot, or your hair is highlighted, then you know you’re going to have more of a tendency to be chemically dry, so in that case, you would need a repair treatment.

The truth is that most people’s hair needs a little bit of both, so it’s not really the case that one size fits all. For instance, if you have long-coloured hair that is naturally wavy and dry, then you should use a moisture mask once a week, and then maybe once a month, use a repair mask.

Alfaparf Illuminating Mask

Moisture hair mask

If your hair is not overly dry, if it’s not in very bad condition if you’re just looking for something to give it a little bit of oomph I would go with the Alfaparf Illuminating mask it’s a really lovely mask that doesn’t weigh hair down.

joico K-pak intense hydrator

Repair hair mask

If your hair is chemically dried from blond highlights, I would be looking at something slightly stronger like the K-Pack intense hydrator from Joico

How to trim your own fringe, or a childs fringe

video tutorial by Sean Taaffe

ST: Finally, if I can get up on my soapbox for two seconds, in my opinion, over the last couple of years, social media has had a huge and often very kind of negative effect on people’s style. I’m 46 in July if I went out as a 17 or 18-year-old with a disastrous outfit and a disastrous hairdo, I would be get slagged off for a day or two possibly a week, and that would be it, whereas now because of social media people can be reminded of any fashion faux pas for the next 10 years. I feel that people’s creativity is being stifled; as a result, everybody is walking around like clones of each other. If I had to report a crime in anybody under 25, the chance is that the description would actually be the same for nearly everybody. I hope that one thing that the lockdown is going to do is allow people to be a little bit more relaxed, to say to hell with it let’s do this let’s experiment, let’s do the change that I’ve been on a banging on about for ages. The hair it’s gonna grow, so embrace the change, and if you are thinking about doing something different go for it, when we come back there’s gonna be we’re gonna have all this length to play with so it’s going to be great for everyone who wants to get change. There are a lot of people who want a change, but they never give themselves a break to be able to do it or were afraid about growing through that awkward phase. We might even have an awful lot of people coming back to us that are going to stick with their long locks, or might try a new colour or embrace their grey.

Watch – Haircare at Home Webinar

with Sean Taaffe & Team


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