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CUTS DEEP

We lose more than just haircuts when barbershops and salons are closed

The sign of a closed hairdresser shop is seen during a lockdown
Reuters/Charles Platiau
Closed for business.
  • Marc Bain
By Marc Bain

Fashion reporter

Countless men who would visit their barber every six to eight weeks for a trim, and women who would go into the salon for routine coloring or other treatments, are feeling lost. With their barbershops and beauty shops closed due to Covid-19, they now have to manage their hair on their own.

“I was in a Zoom meeting with women probably in their 40s and 50s,” says Julie Willett, a professor at Texas Tech University and author of Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop. “Out of the blue the first thing they start talking about was, ‘What are we going to do when our roots start to grow out?’” One woman said she went to her hairdresser’s house at night when nobody would see. Another said she called her hairdresser to guide her through dyeing her hair herself. Though many have taken the opposite approach and decided to proudly grow out their gray.

The grooming company Wahl, which makes hair clippers used by many barbers, says over the past few weeks it has seen traffic to its how-to articles on haircutting shoot up 1,865% compared to the same time last year. A spokesperson for the company says it has largely been sold out of clippers for a week, with stock of many models running out before April.

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