4 May 2020

New Zealanders take haircuts into own hands in lockdown

From Checkpoint, 5:56 pm on 4 May 2020

Supermarkets are reporting a 140 percent jump in hair dyes, and hair clipper sales have doubled, as New Zealanders take their hair into their own hands during lockdown.

Bad hair days have turned into bad hair weeks for some, and professional help is still a while away. Salons and barbers will not be able to open until level 2,  nd things may look a little different with new social distance and safety measures.

On Parliament's livestreamed select committee meetings via Zoom, ACT leader David Seymour has been getting lots of attention for his new voluminous look.

"It's about three times larger than usual. I really thought about getting one before lockdown, because I could kind of see it was going to happen sooner or later. I was just so busy at that time, and I'm now regretting it.

"The ACT Party's always believed in freedom but my hair's been taking the philosophy to heart more than I'd like. So I've thought it's actually time to institute some rigorous control. 

"So every morning I get up and wash it to soften it up then beat it into a shape that's vaguely coherent."

Split ends, unruly roots, and tangled tresses - everyone's hair presents its own unique challenges.

Seymour says his is a welcome reminder of days gone by.

"I last had hair like this when I was 17. An old mate said, 'this is the Dave I remember, all you need is a Grammar rugby jersey and a box of Stella Artois under one arm.'"

But some have found it easier than others to wait until they are reunited with their hairdressers.

For Hamilton woman Corrie Walker it was a case of desperate times and desperate measures. She used a kitchen knife to hack off her shoulder length locks a few weeks into lockdown, sharing the experience in a video on Facebook. 

A somewhat drastic measure at the time, but she told Checkpoint she definitely does not regret it. But when lockdown lifts she says she may get some help finishing the job. 

"It feels nicer, not having to stress about the hair. 

"Maybe just tidy it up a bit ... there are bits of shortish hair, a couple of longer strands. I'll definitely get it tidied up.

"I think if you are in my boat - you've done it and you do need to get it fixed up - just pre-warn them don't just rock up, because they definitely won't like that."

Wellington hair salon Miss Fox owner Karen Madams says she has had a few clients attempt to take their hair into their own hands.

"I have done lots of Zooms or Houseparties with clients - they're halfway through cutting their husband's hair. So actually teaching them, going through step by step. And there's been a few home colours, when we've talked to people I can see little shiny roots going on ... and they can't wait to come back, which is awesome."

Countdown has reported a 140 percent increase in its hair dye sales during lockdown. Shades of blonde are apparently proving the most popular. The Warehouse says hair clipper sales have doubled.

But there's an end in sight for those DIY jobs. Hairdressers, barbers, nail salons and non-medical massage services will be able to open when New Zealand eventually moves to level 2 lockdown restrictions.

Government advice recommends against magazines and refreshments being served, and Madams says there will be fewer people in salons.

"We do have to touch our clients, we can't do hair without that. So it's better to only go in when it's safe for us and safe for our clients."

She says bookings are already filling up for the expected move to level 2, and everyone is trying to request an appointment on the first day of reopening.

"They talk about the santising of the salon, washing your hands - all of that sort of thing - clients don't come in if they're sneezing and coughing - that should really always be happening."