Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Covid Hair, Don’t Care Edition

This is me in January 2020:

And this is me January 2021:

So apparently the key to growing out your hair is to STOP CUTTING YOUR HAIR. I’ll be here all week if anyone else is looking for brilliant pieces of advice.

I did like the fluffy, bouncy part of having shorter hair, but honestly that length was such a pain when it came to putting it up in a bun. You may be asking yourself if “putting it up in a bun” is a necessary thing to do, and the answer is yes.

Back in the pre-Covid world, when I would teach a yoga class, I would briefly demonstrate a posture and then I would walk around the room, weaving myself between mats, observing my students carefully, giving verbal cues and feedback and, depending on the particular student, gentle physical adjustments. Imagine! Walking close to a person, talking without a mask, TOUCHING another person. It’s like that happened in another dimension in time.

Obviously that is not possible now; zoom yoga is very different. For one thing, teaching online means that I need to DO the actual practice WITH the students, which took some getting used to. Talking while going through sun salutations or holding postures when my head is below my heart, like downward dog, wasn’t easy at the start, and the last thing I need is hair in my eyes and face while trying to talk and hold postures. What this means is that my hair is in a bun most days.

There are literally hundreds of “how-to” videos to put hair in a bun, and it seems like all of them work really well for someone with longer and/ or thicker hair than I have. Perhaps in January 2022 I will be able to work with them.

I want to share with you how I put my shoulder-length, somehow-still-layered-even-though-I’ve-been-trying-to-grow-it-out-for-over-two-years-now hair in a bun, and some of my favourite hair products that can be bought in the grocery or drugstore, no extra stop necessary. It’s the…

Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Covid Hair, Don’t Care Edition

Biotin Supplements

A…while back (possibly two years ago, time has lost all meaning) someone recommended Hair, Skin, and Nails biotin supplements, and I have been using them daily ever since. I will tell you this, my hair has grown faster, it falls out and breaks much less, and it feels thicker. There are many different brands, but this is the one I use as it is available in inexpensive big jars at Costco.

Bonus shot of my nut butters. It’s getting nutty around here.

Garnier Colour

The downside of taking biotin and having rapid hair growth is, of course, the root situation.

This is me two and a half weeks post-colour! Well, one cannot complain about roots when one is taking biotin for rapid hair growth. Also, yes, that IS a scrunchy in my bun, what of it.

Since the pandemic, I have had my hair professionally coloured only once, and you know what, I actually like it better when I do it myself. It’s not just the massive economic savings, it’s also the time saving. A professional colour takes an entire afternoon, and I have to carefully schedule my weeks around it. Now I can just colour when I get tired of seeing my roots, and from the time I open the bottle to the time I get in the shower to rinse the colour out, it takes about 40 minutes. 40 minutes! I can actually colour my hair before anyone else gets out of bed in the morning.

I have been buying Garnier, but that is just because when the pandemic started that was the box I found that most matched my colour. I’m sure any other brand would be just fine too.

Pantene and Cake

I used to be a stickler for fancy hairsprays that were exclusively available from the salon, but you know, I’ve been using drugstore brands for a while and they are just fine. I really like Pantene’s heat primer for pre-blow drying, and the texturizing hairspray for holding things in place but not being sticky or crunchy. The Cake product is new to me, but I bought it in Superstore, so I assume it is widely available. I spritz it in my hair before curling and it works great – with a caveat that it is very, very scented. If you are sensitive to scents (scentsitive?) I would give it a pass. It smells exactly like a lemon cake, but chemical.

I should add that post-styling the Cake spray makes my hair smell very faintly of lemon and vanilla; it’s quite pleasant if you can get past the initial blast.

The Bun Methodology: The Truncated Ponytail

This is one way I put my hair up into a bun; it takes a total of five minutes.

Here I am with unwashed, dry hair. I wash my hair every 2-3 days, and I find it’s much easier to put up when it’s not freshly washed. I mean, I DO put it up when it’s freshly washed, but it takes slightly more time.

Pull it up into a high ponytail, but on the last loop of the elastic, don’t pull the ends through. You can see my ends sticking out here.

Tighten the ponytail and pull it a little higher onto the crown of the head; the ends are still tucked under.

Take bobby pins and start pinning the rounded edges of the ponytail down to make a ballerina bun shape. Pull some of the rounded edges to the front. Pin all the way around as much as needed – I usually use around six pins for this, and I use a hand mirror to see what it looks like from the side and back. Sometimes – as in the car shot above – I put a scrunchy around it but only when I’m feeling fancy.

Spritz with a little hairspray, and that’s it!

The Bun Methodology: The Ponytail Twist

This method is one I just started using recently; I think you need a bit more length to pull it off without it looking like a strange little topknot.

This is me with actual freshly washed hair; it’s a good hair day but also a teaching day, so up you go, hair.

Pull it up in a very high ponytail, channel your inner Valley Girl.

Twist the ponytail once only, and then wrap the twisted ponytail around the base of the ponytail. Secure with a second hair elastic. Make weird faces whilst doing this.

Once it’s secured, start pulling it out of the topknot a bit to add fullness, and secure the bun shape with bobby pins.

If I feel like getting fancy, I pull a few tendrils out around my face, spritz the whole thing with hairspray, and voila! A bun.

There you have it: Nicole’s Covid Hair. Easy, inexpensive, and the great thing about putting my hair in a bun is that it always looks like I put effort into my hair, even if a) I didn’t wash it and b) the “effort” is only a few minutes out of my day.

So tell me…how has your hair changed with the pandemic? Have you grown it out, have you changed the way you wear it, have you tried new things? Tell me everything. xo


  1. My look is unchanged, so it would be more interesting to hear about the family.

    North shaved their head in mid-June and kept shaving it through the end of October (much to my dismay, as I thought it was going to be a one-time thing). But they have almost three-month’s growth now. It’s still very short but I think they recently passed out of the 1950s little-boy-with-crewcut look and are getting close to Mia Farrow’s shorter hair in the second half of Rosemary’s Baby.

    Noah hasn’t had a haircut since March, when we urged him to get one before everything shut down. It’s quite mad scientist now.

    North has been cutting Beth’s hair and it’s impressively close to her usual style.

    • My boys just got their hair cut this week, and what a big difference. M was approaching full-on 80s mullet. Noah’s hair is so thick and curly, I can imagine the mad scientist look!

  2. i have not been to the salon in a year. My hair has always been long, but it’s approaching the Long I have always wanted (and never achieved because my idea of “just trim the bare minimum off the ends” is NEVER the same as the hair stylist’s), which is just about navel length. In bun terms, I twist my ponytail into a coil and then wrap it three times around the pony tail holder. My hair is pretty heavy, though, so it gets a little lank — i have been feverishly watching youtube tutorials about cutting your own layers. Yipes. I have also been coloring my own hair — I’ve done it twice now and it has worked fine but I find it deeply stressful. The last time, I followed the instructions for just touching up the grey and hoo boy that was a mistake. I ended up with much darker pieces here and there and it looked ridiculous. Thank goodness the only people who see me are my husband and daughter and the former doesn’t notice and the latter isn’t old enough to find it embarrassing. The grey is creeping back already (the store bought stuff doesn’t last as long as a salon color) so I am gearing myself up to try it again.

    You are adorable, as per usual.

    • Oooh I am envious of your long hair! I would love to grow it super long, but we will see. I think mine might be too fine/ prone to breakage to get it that long but you never know!

  3. Marion Hill says

    I decided to stop dying my own hair, yes I did my own for ever. I decided two years ago. Be t decision ever. Even though like you say it’s in expensive snd time efficient, I like the new look. As for hair cuts I used to go only twice a year. But the stylist I was going to most recently got my hair done in 20 minutes with an old school trick of layering. She had me stand up snd then bend over. Like sun salutation bend at the hips. She brushed my hair down snd then cut straight across. All she had to do after I flipped up is cut a few stragglers and voila perfect layering. So enter Covid…. voila Blair, husband extraordinaire, becomes a hairstylist. So now I may never darken the door I’d a salon again. So I’m the lowest maintenance girl in the hood now! And for product, we are Pantene house. But I hardly use snd after product. Just a few touches of my flattening iron and off to the couch or mat or dog park.

  4. Thanks for the biotin recommendation. I have always had thin, slow to grow and easy to break hair so am definitely going to try that supplement! Oh, and I’ve been dyeing my own hair too, with a rinse-out. But I told myself this was THE LAST TIME. I’m ready to let it go, so the fun will really begin in the coming 6 months. Maybe I can pass off as highlights hahahaaaaa!

  5. My hair hasn’t been cut since mid December 2019 when I famously said, “The length is fine – can you please add some layers though?” I can honestly say this is probably the longest my hair has ever been. I continue to dye my hair at home but I use Clairol’s Root Touch Up kit several times before doing a whole head of color.

    My hair is fine and I’ve never been able to really pull of a ponytail or a bun back when I straightened my hair. I did read one beauty blogger (with straight hair) who teases her hair before securing into a bun – seems to me that would give one the volume they might want for a pony or a bun.

  6. I have had my hair cut and coloured once since the pandemic started. I am mostly fine cutting it myself – sometimes I can’t figure out what’s wrong and it’s really annoying and then I figure out the right layer to cut and it’s magical. I look bad with long hair or my hair up, otherwise I would have it longer and in a messy bun all the time. I still prefer my stylist’s colour job. I let my roots go for a while or use tinted powder to cover them. I can’t use any of the Cake stuff – I love smelling it in the store, but it’s too strong for at home. Your short hair was cute but it looks more you a little longer.

  7. You look great. Love your hair either way, but I am with you on putting hair up which for me is only possible when longer.

    I might try that Biotin. My hair is crazy thin. I tried taking some pricey supplement, the name of which escapes me, that did nothing for me. Less expensive is worth a try.

    I do not color my hair. I have some gray but not enough to bother with it. I’ve had my hair cut twice since the pandemic. I am embracing the longer length. Love being able to put it up. My hairdresser layers it to try to keep the scalp from showing. When my hair was shorter, I would always wear a baseball hat to workout. Now I can pull it into a pony or an itty bitty bun. I could never pull off a bun outside of working out. Too much scalp shows through to be a mainstream hair style. Your buns are so cute. Green with envy.

  8. My pandemic hair is fun! I have started using a “coloring clenditioner” that is basically a shampoo that I leave in for a little bit before rinsing. It is hot pink! Which does not actually turn my hair hot pink, since my hair is a lovely combination of brown and grey, but sort of shows up pinkish in the sun and sort of makes the greys less grey. It’s fun!

  9. Your hair looks great at either length, but surly longer makes the bun part easier.
    I too take those vitamins, but haven’t noticed much change. I was really trying for the ‘nails’ part of the vitamin.
    Lemon cake, valley girl. I’m digging all of this.

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