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

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Public Works Senior Engineer Randy Loveless looks out over Everett’s 101-year-old reservoir at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Reservoir 3 Replacement Project on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
With looming earthquake threat, Everett breaks ground on $80M reservoirs

Contractors will replace a 100-year-old reservoir east of Evergreen Way with two smaller ones.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
Former Monroe High teacher charged with sexual misconduct

In a police interview, Giles Stanton acknowledged relationships with former students, reportedly saying “he felt a bit like Bill Clinton.”

Lauren Davis, left, Lori Theis, Dunia Wabenga
Public safety is a central question in south Snohomish County race

Rep. Lauren Davis is running for a fourth term. Republican Lori Theis and Democrat Dunia Wabenga are trying to unseat her.

Lynnwood
Boy, 15, stabbed after fight on bus north of Lynnwood

Police arrested a suspect, 32, for investigation of assault in the alleged stabbing Tuesday off Highway 99.

Lily Gladstone poses at the premiere of the Hulu miniseries "Under the Bridge" at the DGA Theatre, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mountlake Terrace’s Lily Gladstone nominated for Emmy for ‘Under the Bridge’

The nomination comes after Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe wins for her performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Lead Mammography Technologist Starla DeLap talks about the different ways the Hologic 3D Mammography Exam can be situated around a patient on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Providence Everett launches early breast cancer detection program

Prevention4Me, the hospital’s new breast cancer risk assessment tool, will help doctors and patients expedite diagnoses and treatment.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.