Emily Leopold cuts the hair of her husband, Al Leopold. With hair salons closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and Governor Jay Inslee’s emergency orders, people are taking a do-it-yourself approach to hairstyles. (Courtesy of Al Leopold)

Emily Leopold cuts the hair of her husband, Al Leopold. With hair salons closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and Governor Jay Inslee’s emergency orders, people are taking a do-it-yourself approach to hairstyles. (Courtesy of Al Leopold)

COVID home haircuts: A bad coif is better than a bad cough

Watch your ear, wear a hat: DIY hairstyles flourish with “non-essential” barbers and salons closed.

EVERETT — Ardelle Dennis watched a 4-minute YouTube haircut tutorial and got to work. She draped a tablecloth around her husband Rich’s shoulders and drove over his head with a cordless beard trimmer.

What’s up with that?

Luckily, he didn’t lose an ear.

Flattening the curve is good for health but bad for hair.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s ban of all “non-essential” services on March 16 closed salons and barbershops through at least May 4. It also prohibits our stylist superheros from making house calls.

So how does Inslee stay so dapper at those press conferences?

“First Lady Trudi Inslee cuts his hair,” the governor’s spokesman Mike Faulk said.

Inslee said she used to cut his hair “all the time when we were first married.” That was in 1972, when he had more of it.

Some people are just letting it grow or ’fro.

Many are taking scissors into their own hands. Social media is full of pictures of crooked bangs, bowl cuts, “Tiger King” Joe Exotic mullets and color jobs gone wrong.

“Kool-Aid is a better option than a cheap box of hair dye,” a stylist warned.

COVID gray is now a color.

It’s hard to say who has it worse during the lockdown, men or women. Or kids, whose parents practice on them.

Professionals also are feeling the razor burn.

“I’m a hairdresser and I look like hell too. It’s going to be a new fashion movement maybe,” read a Nextdoor Digest post.

Another pro said: “Don’t attempt to cut your own hair. Ever. Men. Women. Your dog’s. Don’t cut anybody’s hair. I know it looks easy, but it’s not. No scissors to your hair, ever.”

Wait until salons reopen? No way.

We have too much time on our hands for that. And nowhere to go.

By the time this pandemic is over, we are all going to be teachers, barbers and potheads.

First it was toilet paper on our panic shopping list, then cannabis and yeast. Now it’s electric trimmers and hair products that people are seeking.

One DIYer used a GoPro to see the back of his head. Camera in one hand and clippers in the other. Hat at the ready.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tweeted a selfie that showed him holding a pair of shears he used on his head. He’s a neurosurgeon, so of course he has the fine motor skills to pull it off.

The singer Pink botched her own hair after a few cocktails, and told her 8 million Instagram followers all about it with this message. “Stay home. Stay safe. Cut your own hair. Screw it!”

View this post on Instagram

Quarantine diaries

A post shared by P!NK (@pink) on

Mukilteo police officers and citizens got guidance from Chief Cheol Kang in a “Let’s Get Haircuts Together” Facebook video.

The lower the number of the clipper blade guard, the shorter the cut, Kang explained. A #12 guard on the top and a #2 on the side is his secret.

He didn’t address the touch of COVID gray going on in his temples. Maybe that’s for the next video.

Some branches of the military have lightened up on hair length.

The barbershop and salon at Navy Exchange sites on the main Everett base and at Smokey Point are closed.

“The relaxed policy applies only to hair on the head, regular standards regarding facial hair remain in effect,” Navy spokeswoman Kristin Ching said.

The Air Force is also easing up. Not the Marines, where barbershops remain open on installations.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot got a haircut recently, despite the state mandate against it.

Lightfoot defended her tapered ’do.

“I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media,” she told reporters. “The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves. I am practicing what I’m preaching.”

Well, sort of but not really.

For Everett resident Ardelle Dennis, an executive assistant by trade, cutting her husband Rich’s hair brought back childhood memories.

“My dad was a commercial fisherman and he would come home from being gone six to eight months and was rather bushy,” she said. “My mom would wrap something around him and put him on the back patio. It was a whole family thing to watch her cut dad’s hair.”

That, and a YouTube video, was all she had to go on when she put Rich in the chair.

Rich Dennis after a home haircut by his wife, Ardelle, in their Everett yard. She watched a YouTube tutorial and used his beard trimmers. (Photo by Ardelle Dennis)

Rich Dennis after a home haircut by his wife, Ardelle, in their Everett yard. She watched a YouTube tutorial and used his beard trimmers. (Photo by Ardelle Dennis)

The resulting high-and-tight fade is a bit shorter than usual, but he looks just as dapper as Gov. Inslee.

Ardelle turned down Rich’s offer to return the favor and cut her hair.

“I spent $180 on this,” she said. “I’m usually good for about three months.”

Heed the words of retired Indiana arts journalist Roger McBain: “I’ve cut my own hair for about 12 to 15 years, I think. Mistakes grow in quickly and I’ve come to realize that other people don’t pay anywhere near as much attention to your appearance as you imagine.”

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

What are doing to better yourself or your house during lockdown? Learning to cook, code, juggle, hammer?

Let me know for an upcoming What’s Up With That?

Hair styling tips

Make sure the clipper guard is firmly attached. If it pops off it can take out a chunk.

Watch out for ears.

Don’t use scissors from the kitchen drawer.

Wash your hair less often. Use conditioner.

Air dry instead of using hot tools.

Wear a hat.

Buy gift cards for your hairstylist or barber for when they reopen. They will have a lot to fix after this.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Ron Detrick teaches his geometry class Wednesday morning at Lakewood Middle School in Marysville on May 12, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
For real, these Lakewood pupils are back in class full time

Elementary and middle school students are getting in-person instruction five days a week.

Darren Redick is the new CEO of Providence’s Northwest Washington service area. (Providence Health and Services) 20210514
Providence stays local in selecting a new regional CEO

Based in Everett, Darren Redick will lead the health care provider’s Northwest Washington area.

Georgie Gutenberg
Death of Lake Stevens woman not suspicious

Police had asked for the public’s help to search for Georgie Gutenberg. She was found dead Sunday.

Everett man shot while walking his dog identified

Ryan S. McFadden, 33, died of gunshot wounds.

Man killed by train near Snohomish is identified

The Marysville man, 45, was hit Thursday morning south of the Snohomish River.

Students lead charge as Langley council takes climate action

The Whidbey Island city has declared a climate emergency and has pledged to involve United Student Leaders.

Douglas Ryner, 8, brushes twin cows Thelma and Louise at the Evergreen State Fair on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 in Monroe, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
11 days of glee: Evergreen State Fair ‘Back in the Saddle’

The fair was called off in 2020 due to COVID-19. Organizers are planning a revised event this year.

Firefighters douse the flames at the NOAA Fisheries Building Friday evening in Mukilteo on May 14, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fire damages NOAA site near new ferry terminal in Mukilteo

Smoke flooded the waterfront Friday night as fire crews descended on the abandoned research center.

Claire Swander, 6 months old, gets an H1N1 vaccine from nurse Soon Ku at Providence Physician Group in Mill Creek on Oct. 31, 2009. The site had lines with a three-hour wait for portions of the morning. (Heidi Hoffman / Herald file)
Vaccine approval for kids a reminder of 2009 H1N1 outbreak

As swine flu scare closed some schools, parents flocked to public clinics to protect their children.

Most Read