Like most Americans, I began to feel a sense of fear and anxiety when news of the coronavirus hit the United States. Doom crept in as the West Coast began to shelter in place. Then schools all over the country closed. Businesses shut down. Depending on your profession, work became remote, or a remote memory. Questions about health, safety, money, and the future flooded every corner of the media and our minds. With so much uncertainty, I could only think about one thing: What will happen to my fade?
Seriously folks, those of us who rely on haircuts and the skilled hands of our barbers and stylists every two weeks to keep us feeling confident and fresh are not okay.
Instead of taking to the street like a privileged asshole, demanding that my stylist sacrifice her safety and return to work, I took matters into my own hair clipper-holding hands. Based on my news feed full of folks who are sharing photos of before and after DIY hair makeovers, I am not alone. Some have turned out pretty well. Others have, well, provided substance to those memes hitting close to the bone.
For those of us who haven’t acted like the idiots who clearly think their high and tights or Karen cuts are more important than people’s lives, I think we need to wear those lopsided lines and horrific “fades” with honor. I’d rather be bald than be one these dicks.
Right before lockdown started, however, I was not above sending a frantic text to my stylist to see if she could fit me in before everything closed. She couldn’t. I understood, and a week later I touched up the sides, thinking I could be satisfied with just that.
Before the coronavirus hit the fan, I was in the middle of transitioning my hair to a new style. Without maintenance, I began to look like a Chia Pet. Two weeks had passed since my first trim. I was having a rough day with the kids, my skin was crawling, and my hair was driving me nuts. Look, I know. If those were the worst of my problems. But they’re not, so lock it up. I went full mohawk because I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed change. I needed normalcy. I needed to do something.
I don’t dare touch the top or the back of my head if I can’t safely make an attempt to keep it even, but I have taken some risks to get the fresh-cut feeling I crave every two weeks. It’s not awful, but it’s not ideal.
A lot of folks have had a startling wake-up call regarding the talent and skill of their stylists and barbers. There is a reason why after food, shelter, and other essential living expenses, my most expensive item on my budget is my haircut. Not only is my stylist qualified to shape the hair on my head but she has the proper tools. Justine Marjan tells Allure that before you decide to cut your hair, ask yourself if you can wait just a bit longer. If not, try some restorative hair serums or masks. Read: Walk away from the sharp objects.
But if you just can’t stand the split ends or length anymore, go slow and take a little bit off at a time. And for the love of Edward Scissorhands, look beyond the junk drawer and butcher’s block. Marjan says, “Don’t use kitchen scissors! They aren’t sharp enough and can push the hair as they cut, resulting in crooked lines that are hard to fix.”
God. There’s going to be some fixing to do. Or some wait-and-let-it-grow-back to do.
There are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to cut your own hair, but there are also YouTube videos on how to rewire a light socket. Some of us just need to know our limits. At some point, no amount of paying attention to the direction of your hair or scissors or starting with a clean and styled head of hair will help you.
And then there are the folks who either tried to trim their own bangs or went completely rogue and gave themselves new ones. Self-destructive and regrettable actions are coping mechanisms.
For as many poor hair choices that have been made during this pandemic, some risks have paid off. Parents have trusted their kids to cut their hair and the results aren’t bad!
And some kids have allowed their parents to cut and dye their hair. Even if Mom gets carried away, no one is going to see it. Kids are forgiving right? They’re resilient if nothing else, but these moms nailed it.
Cutting my hair is a small form of self-care during shitty times. I don’t need to get out the clippers, but feeling less shaggy makes me feel better. My stylist has warned me to walk away from the clippers, but I can’t. I will continue to keep my distance from her, but until I can receive a professional cut, I am keeping my personal hair cutting supplies nearby.
I’m not sorry, but I do know I will need to give my stylist a big tip after we are reunited. And from the looks of the mess many of you have made of your own hair or the hair of the people you say you love, you should be prepared to make it rain too.
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