A hairdresser explains why Donald Trump’s hair looks like that

The hairstyle of a thousand enigmas.
The hairstyle of a thousand enigmas.
Image: AP Photos/Rex Features
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Donald Trump makes a lot of polarizing statements. Yet for a lot of American voters, the matter of the Republican presidential candidate’s hair remains the biggest subject of debate.

As a licensed cosmetologist and active hairdresser, I’m here to take a stab at what is actually going on with Trump’s crispy crown. I’ve thought about this a lot.

Trump keeps his wheat chaff-colored hair long so as to reach all the way to the back of his head, where it seems to be sprayed firmly in place. That would explain the top flap’s unified upward movement in a gust of Iowa wind.

The most common assertions about the mystery of Trump’s head are that his hair is either a toupee or combover. It’s definitely not a toupee. His hair does sort of combover in an unusual direction, but it isn’t hiding a bald spot, so I say combover doesn’t qualify. (Hair combed on top of more hair isn’t technically a combover.)

There’s also a rumor about an alleged scalp surgery, as referenced in the extremely unauthorized 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump. This is important to mention because it could raise suspicions of a hair transplant or scalp alteration. Allegedly, after having painful surgery to remove a bald spot or two, Donald physically attacked his then-wife Ivana because he felt her surgeon had botched the job. He denies this, however. His lawyer also denies it, with liberal use of expletives, and even Ivana now denies it, despite her sworn testimony. But even if Trump did have a scalp reduction, or plugs, these wouldn’t substantially contribute to his frontal hair shelf.

So what’s the answer to the mystery of Trump’s hair? What’s happening in the front of Trump’s hairline to make it look like he’s wearing a Kangol hat made out of spun sugar is nothing more than an aggressive cowlick with a forward-aiming growth pattern.

Hair follicles are embedded in the scalp at all different angles, and those angles determine the direction that each strand of hair grows. A cowlick is a cluster of hair with follicles laying at the same steep angle, causing that hair to grow in a direction different from the surrounding hair. In the event of an aggressive cowlick, the longer the hair, the more the growth pattern can be controlled by the weight of the hair itself.

Preposterous as his hair may seem, unbelievably, I find myself siding with his stylist’s choice. If Trump caved and finally cut his hair shorter, the growth pattern in front would force the hair straight out and down, possibly resulting in a George Clooney 1990s Caesar effect, except with Trump’s face.

Perhaps that explains why, when you look back at photos of Trump from the 1970s, his hairstyle looks almost exactly the same, albeit fuller and darker. Sometimes a person finds a style and sticks with it forever. Think Fran Lebowitz, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Don King. In Trump’s case, this unusual style may be his only option.

George Clooney’s classic “Caesar haircut.”
George Clooney’s classic “Caesar haircut.”
Image: AP Photo/Rene Macura

In conclusion, Trump’s hair is growing out of his head, long, combed back, and dyed the nascent yellow of a baby chick. Really, the color is what I find most offensive, but that’s a hairdresser thing that I don’t expect a layperson to identify with. I’m sorry to sneeze on everyone’s cake, but my professional assessment is that Donald Trump just has a dated hairstyle nobody likes.