If you live with someone, chances are they will recruit you to cut their hair and maybe even style or color it afterwards. I wish I had better news for you—at-home haircare requires a level of manual dexterity many of us haven’t had to call upon since dissecting organs in high school chemistry class.
But it doesn’t have to end in disaster. For example, had I given myself a quick crash course on YouTube or consulted with my vast network of contacts in the haircare industry, I would have avoided shaving a massive bald spot into my husband’s “luscious mane” (his mom’s words, not mine). I also would have stocked up on the right products instead of opting for whatever useless gadgets I had at home, like a pair of very dull scissors I bought for $11 on Amazon, or a Phillips beard trimmer my husband already had. But none of these haircare mistakes were in vain—I made them so you don’t have to. Here’s what to add to cart to ensure your quarantine cut goes off without a hitch.
1. This wide tooth comb
A comb like this one isn’t only useful for boosting your hair’s softness and shine, but also for setting it properly before you get to work. Its pointed end makes it easy to part your hair in a straight line the way you normally wear it—so there are no surprises after you’ve cut or styled. Made with a chemically resistant material, this comb is particularly suitable for using while coloring hair. “I use it to separate curls, part my hair for coloring,” one reviewer says. “I like the feel of it and the color makes it easy to find in your drawer.”
Get the J&D Pastel Bone Wide Tooth Tail Comb on Sally Beauty for $1.29
2. These expert-approved shears
When cutting hair at home, you need to feel comfortable and in control of your scissors—which is why our beauty writer suggests this lightweight pair of steel shears. They’re ergonomic thanks to their carpal tunnel-proof 3D multifaceted grip handle, while the smooth design allows you to seamlessly alternate between the shears and a small comb in your right hand. A highly lubricated pivot point ensures the shears open and close smoothly and efficiently, so you’re not held back or distracted by a creaking sound. If you make your purchase from Sally Beauty instead of Amazon, you can save hundreds of dollars.
Get the Joewell Craft X Series 6.0 on Sally Beauty for $49.99
3. These highly-rated thinning scissors
Thinning your hair is often integral to the cutting and styling process, especially if you’re cutting mens hair. For starters, it can help remove mass from your mane, giving your cut a sleeker and more well-kept appearance while allowing your scalp some extra breathing room during warmer months. These thinning scissors, boasting over 1,800 reviews on Amazon and a thumbs-up from our expert, feature a sharp Japanese stainless steel razor blade on one side, “sharp knife teeth” on the other that snip off only a small number of strands, and two rubber inserts to comfortably fit the size of your thumb. “Even [good] for a lefty like me. I love the results. Anyone with thick hair should get a pair,” says one reviewer.
Get the ULG Hair Thinning Scissors Cutting Teeth Shears on Amazon for $23.99
4. This multipurpose trimmer for men
Whether you’re grooming your facial hair or head hair, it’s important to work with a sharp blade so you don’t irritate the same patch of skin over and over again, our experts say. That’s where the Wahl grooming kit comes in handy, with 12 blade guards that allow you to cut your hair virtually any length. At 1.5 inches, it’s wide enough to cover a solid patch of hair ground, but narrow enough to allow you to maneuver in between tight or sensitive spots, like around your ears. Only got five minutes to make yourself presentable for your next Zoom call? One minute of charging provides three minutes of cordless run time. One reviewer calls it the “perfect trimmer for my family of 5 during quarantine. I used it to trim my sons hair and to clean up my husbands neck. It charged quickly and is a nice weight in my hand.”
Get the Wahl Lithium Ion+ Stainless Steel Grooming Kit at Target for $59.99
Related content feature I tried the hair brush celebrities love—is it really worth $175? feature 7 self-tanners for your face that are better than bronzer
5. This hair color with thousands of reviews
There’s never been a better time to reinvent yourself with a new hair color or to simply touch up your roots. While it can be tempting to buy the cheapest option, you run the risk of severely damaging your hair since drugstore dyes are highly potent, pro stylist Marina Melnikova told Reviewed’s beauty writer, Jessica Kasparian. If you do need to DIY your dye, Marina recommends cool, ashy tones from Sally Beauty that can help ward off brassiness commonly resulting from at-home coloring kits. With over 2,400 reviews, ion Color Brilliance contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, argan oil and other botanicals to strengthen your hair.
Get ion Color Brilliance Permanent Creme Hair Color at Sally Beauty for $6.69
6. This product for touching up your roots
Claiming to “permanently keep gray in check between full hair color applications,” it’s as if this touch-up kit (available in seven shades) was made for quarantine. To that end, our experts say it’s a great option for at-home dying if you’re looking to minimize damage because it’s meant to be used on only the first inch of hair lining your part and the hairline in front of your face. Users claim it’s mess-free, hassle-free, and retains the same salon-quality color saturation weeks after application.
Get the DPHue Root Touch-Up Kit Medium Brown at Ulta for $30
7. These clips to section off your hair
To ensure even color application, Jessica recommends that you use at least two clips to section off your hair as you’re dying it. Of these top-selling clips, one reviewer noted, “They grip very well and I have shoulder length or longer sometimes very thick hair. They’re the only clips I bought that can hold my hair up in sections while wet. Great quality, hold up well, great grip and nice colors.” With a small flower design on the grip handle, they add a little brightness to any rainy-day haircare project.
Get the Salon Care Metal Gripper Clips on Sally Beauty for $4.29
8. This brush for applying color
A color application is only as good as the brush you’re using, according to our experts. At 2.5 inches wide, this brush gives you solid coverage with each stroke, which also speeds up the coloring process. Five-star reviewers noted a variety of benefits: The brush is easy to clean, contains firm bristles that don’t snag against hair, and has a tail end that separates hair into easy-to-manage sections.
Get the Purple Extra Wide Jumbo Tint Brush on Sally Beauty for $1.79
9. This mess-free apron
If cutting, styling or coloring hair has left you completely drained, the last thing you want to have to do is deal with the aftermath. This haircut and shampoo cape has rave reviews because it catches the most cut hair in order to minimize cleanup and protects against both stray water and stray hair dye (no more stained clothes or towels!). Bonus: It folds up easily in half for compact storage.
Get the Salon Care Shampoo Cape at Sally Beauty for $3.99
10. This incredibly moisturizing mask
Whether you’re cutting, coloring, or using heat tools like curlers and flat irons, it’s crucial to seal the deal (and your ends!) with a deep conditioning mask the next time you wash your hair. Coco & Eve has worked wonders not necessarily in reversing my hair’s damage (no product is capable of witchcraft), but in limiting further damage and reducing frizz thanks to a hydrating blend of coconut, linseed and Argan oil, and fig and shea butter. The formula is thick and luxurious so it feels like you’re coating your hair in something far more potent than a glorified conditioner.
Get the Coco & Eve Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Mask on Revolve for $50
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.