WASHINGTON (AFP) – The economy may have slowed and normal life come to a standstill, but in the world of hair, a follicle free-for-all unencumbered by COVID-19 has Americans asking one critical question – to cut or not to cut?
For Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, the answer was clear, “I thought I would do it myself but I thought it would be a disaster.”
She only admitted to having had her hair cut after being caught red-handed when her hairdresser posted on Facebook that giving the mayor a trim had been a pleasure: cue the chorus of public shaming.
In her defence, Lightfoot invoked her visibility and the fact that the hairdresser wore a mask, but the accusations of privilege and elitism poured in.
Stuck at home for several weeks, Americans are finding their normally carefully coiffed ‘dos growing roots or even transforming into mullets.
Rather than despair, many are using their intriguing growth patterns and bird’s nest-like locks as an antidote to tragedy, posting jokes, memes, video montages and even helpful video tutorials online.
Even The New York Times has gotten in on the act with articles explaining How to Take Care of Your Hair at Home and How to Touch Up Your Roots at Home.
Not everyone – celebrities included – has seen success.
Actor Riz Ahmed of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story appeared to have taken a razor to his head with a near buzz cut.
“Anyone else do a #StayAtHome haircut that got outta hand?” he posted on Twitter, along with a photo of his new look and a forlorn expression.
“At least now feels like there’s someone else here when I look in mirror.”
Mary Lee Gannon, a 59-year-old Pittsburg resident, is not a celebrity but said her spouse was beginning to look like one.
“I offered to cut my husband’s hair two weeks ago because he looked like Mike Jagger – he turned me down,” she said.
When he finally took her up on her offer, she armed herself with an old pair of scissors previously used to cut their dog’s hair and took his tresses to task.
The end result, “He was very pleased, it worked out okay,” she said.
For child star Julia Butters from Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, cutting her father’s hair did not end in a happily-ever-after storybook finish, even if the experience – and extremely patchy looking ‘do – provided a bit of fun.
“This is one of the bravest fathers I have ever met,” she said as she goes to town on his hair in a video posted online.
His response, “There is a thin line between bravery and stupidity.” Most hairdressers live by the adage that it is better to wait for a cut than embark on experiments that will later have to be fixed.
“Don’t cut your hair! You’re going to have more anxiety,” celebrity hairstylist Scotty Cunha, who has counted the Kardashians among his clients, said in Page Six Style.
This is even more true for chemically dyed hair. “I worry that some of the individuals who put products on their head do not understand the impact of those chemicals,” said Vice President of Communication for the Associated Bodywork and Massage Corporation Leslie Young, an organisation of workers in the field.
According to Young, some people are “so desperate” that they insist on going to their hairdresser’s house or having the stylist come to their home.
With salons closed, some hairdressers might be tempted to accept, but Young strongly advises against the practice, “It’s dangerous,” she said, and insurance will not be valid in the event of any issues.
In the meantime, some stylists are trying to make a little side money by giving their advice in online videos or directly to their clients by videoconference.
Even though Americans normally go every six to eight weeks to the hairdresser, Young said most seemed resigned to waiting longer.
And too bad it if means revealing a few secrets in the meantime, particularly in the very blond world of television.
Faced with that very prospect, journalist Kayla Tausche of CNBC tweeted a picture of herself as a child, “You’re going to find out soon, and it’s best you hear it from me directly,” she said.
“I’m a dark brunette.”