Restaurant Workers on How to Actually Keep Hair Out of Your Face

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In ELLE.com’s series Unexpected Expert, we’re going straight to the source to find out which items are actually worth your hard-earned cash.

Mia Feitel

As so many people adjust to a new normal of working from home, gone are the mornings spent intricately styling your hair before a day at the office. My personal new routine? Get my hair out of my face as quickly as possible, so I can hunker down in my pajamas for another day on the job.

To get some expert advice on which accessories are the best for keeping your hair up, up, and away, ELLE.com asked nine restaurant workers for their holy grail picks. And because restaurants have been hit especially hard by the current pandemic, we’ve also included information on how to support each spot.


When You’re Extra Busy

“We’re a small restaurant and always zooming around in a tight space, so having the perfect hair tie is one of the most underrated necessities of our trade. Sometimes when we forget our hair ties and have to use regular rubber bands, it’s a major bummer. The one that many of us use is the Scünci brand of black hair ties. It never pulls and has great grip so the hair doesn’t fall into your face. Nothing is worse than fiddling with your hair while your hands are working.” —Joycelyn Lee, owner of Burma Superstar

How to support Burma Superstar:

“We have a GoFundMe for our employees where 100% of the money raised will go to them. There’s a 20% discount on all gift cards purchased during the San Francisco shelter-in-place order. They can be purchased at the restaurant or online. We’re also offering takeout during this time, with pickup and delivery options every day. The community support is what’s keeping our restaurant alive.”


In-Between Styles

“I’ve been growing out my bangs and a shag cut for six months now, and headbands and bandanas don’t really stay on my head. It’s not sanitary to keep adjusting your hair while cooking on the line, so I mostly use Scünci clips to hold everything back. When you have to wear a chef coat and apron everyday without much jewelry, hair is basically the only way to express yourself so I like to switch it up with different colors. Around New Years and the holidays I mostly used sparkly silver and rose gold, and now for spring I’ve moved into bright colors and pastels.” —Megan Mooney, executive sou chef at Juliet

How to support Juliet:

“We have a gift shop on our website with great merch, and we’ve launched a new project specifically geared toward pantry cooking in the time of COVID-19, called the Bean Zine, available here.”


The Perfect Combo

“I have really long hair and found that this no-slip Scünci hair tie works the best for me. I am also always wearing a headband to keep the extra whispies out of my face and away from food. My favorite headbands, like this Under Armour one, have the silicone lining on the inside. I wore this combo when I cooked on Chopped with the Food Network in February!” —Rachael Collins, chef de cuisine at Juliet


No Creases

“I use these wonderful silk scrunchies from Nordstrom when I’m at work baking and decorating custom cookies at Manny’s. It stays in, and at the end of the day, there are no creases in my hair.” —Patti Raskin, baker at Manny’s Deli

How to support Manny’s Deli:

“Right now, we’re doing our best at Manny’s to support our community by raising funds to send food to first responders and to hospital staff. Although the restaurant is closed, we are available for carry out, delivery, and curbside delivery. We are also taking orders for suburban deliveries, twice a week, so that those customers that are working from home and staying at home can also have the opportunity to enjoy some comfort food.”


Bucket List Bobby Pins

“I often work in the kitchen, and my go-to is always bobby pins. I am very specific about the ones I use so that my hair stays secure; I have very Asian hair that is straight and strong. If people with strong hair have not gotten introduced to these, they haven’t lived!” –Donna Lee, founder of Brown Bag Seafood

How to support Brown Bag Seafood:

“People can support by ordering our fresh and sustainably-sourced seafood if they are in Chicago or (soon to be) Atlanta. More than anything, I’d love to see people support as many local, independent female-owned businesses as possible in this time—and certainly when we come out of it.”


Get Colorful

I usually tie my bun up with a fun, colorful Madewell silk bandana. Lately, my bangs are going through a real awkward growth stage since I’m a month overdue for a haircut with no end in sight, so I’ve resorted to sporting a beanie my girl Kim makes.” —Kelsey Brito, head baker and director of bakery operations at Milo & Olive

How to support Milo & Olive:

“For people who live in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, our restaurants are open for curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery. We’ve enhanced our takeout offerings at both spots, like daily Farmers’ Market Boxes, Take & Bake Family-Size Meals, and Baking Project Kits. We’ve also launched an online shop for our entire family of restaurants where people can buy gift cards to Milo & Olive, our sister spot Huckleberry Cafe, and more.”


For Long, Thick Hair

I only use one very specific hair elastic. I’ve only ever seen it at the Longs Drugs in Hawaii, and I buy about six packs every time I’m there. I have extremely long, thick hair that I rarely get cut—I call each haircut my ‘annual’—so these Scünci hair ties keep my bun in place.

Just as important to me as these hair ties are the B3 Balm oils I use on my skin and ends of my hair. When the world is normal and I’m cooking on the food truck, I depend on a touch of B3 Balm oil since cooking smells and fryer oil can cling so heavily to my hair.” —Kiki Aranita, chef and owner at Poi Dog Philly

How to support Poi Dog:

“We keep looking for creative ways to continue paying bills and supporting our staff of 14 employees. Our online store is full of swag from poi dog-generated lard candles poured into Spam cans to homemade lip balms made with Hawaiian beeswax. We also feature art by our employees. You can also add a tip to your order that will go straight to the food truck staff we have (except for me, of course) and the staff of our food truck friends Sweetbox Cupcakes and Mac Mart (all female-owned and operated trucks that now have brick and mortar locations in Philadelphia) struggling to make it through this crazy time.”


Beauty and Function

“These hair pins are super functional and a little jazzy. Accessories make me happy, and being food-safe makes me even happier. They’re also my favorite color combo.” —Erin Carlman Weber, co-owner of All Together Now

How to support All Together Now:

“We have a GoFundMe to support hourly workers. We also encourage people based in Chicago to buy Family Dinner or delivery.”


Top It Off

“My favorite is this hat with strings in the back that was custom designed by my friend and hat designer Tsuyumi Kumazaki. I usually braid my ponytail and wear her hat to fix. I like the simplicity of the design, and once I wear it, I can concentrate on my work unlike bandanas that I need to fix few times during the day.” —Ayako Iwata, owner of Burrow

How to support Burrow:

Burrow is still accepting online orders for baked goods, as well as selling gift cards.

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