With the doors of hairdressing salons and barbers firmly shut despite lockdown easing, things are getting dire for those who depend on professional help to keep their trims in check. Some have quite literally taken matters into their own hands with the aid of their trusty kitchen scissors and a bottle of hair dye. Others have made an arguably riskier move: they’ve entrusted their mops – and their looks (at least for the following weeks) – to their partners. We spoke to some couples where the results have been a little less than ideal.
STEVE AND LILY, BEEN TOGETHER FOR 18 MONTHS
VICE: So Lily, how did you end up giving Steve possibly the patchiest fade in history?
Lily: I always have an opinion whenever he gets a haircut and what I think suits him best is a square top, so when he said that his hair was getting too long, I was like, “I’ll cut it, I cut my fringe every two weeks, I can do it.” Eventually he caved. The thing is, I thought we were using scissors but then he pressured me into using the clippers.
Steve: That’s not true.
Lily: Anyway, I started doing it and we settled on a number four but he was like, you need to push down to the scalp harder, so I start doing that. Then, about half an hour in, I realised that I’ve accidentally had the setting on number two for about ten minutes. I didn’t tell him. I just turned it back to four and carried on.
Steve: Yep, because that was going to be fine, the difference of two wasn’t going to be noticeable on my head.
VICE: Steve, what was going on for you during this process?
Steve: When we started, I wanted to make a funny video about doing a home haircut. It was just a funny little thing where Lily pretended to be a hairdresser, asking me how my day was and stuff like that. But when she started, she wasn’t taking hair off with the clipper initially, so I asked her to dig a bit more or at least get the same pressure across the head. I thought it was going to be fine. It was only when she showed me that I realised that I looked like a dog who had just been spayed.
Lily: It did look like he’d just had massive surgery on his head. You know, when they just shave a patch?
VICE: How did you disguise it for your state-sanctioned exercise?
Steve: I didn’t. I was going to wear a hat but I don’t really like wearing hats anyway, and it didn’t really cover up anything because the patchiness just sat around the sides. So I just walked about with it uncovered. People were looking. I think they knew.
Lily: They could also see the guilt on my face.
VICE: Is there any chance of allowing Lily to have another crack at it?
Steve: She’s claimed that now it’s slightly longer, she reckons that she can even it out. There’s absolutely no way that I’m gonna trust her to do that. I now don’t believe anything she says she’s good at because she did say that she was good at cutting hair and now we have evidence that that’s not the case. Some might say it’s actually quite damaging to our relationship.
IONA AND ASH, BEEN TOGETHER FOR TWO YEARS
VICE: Iona, what happened? How did you ending up giving Ash a very extreme makeover mid-lockdown?
Iona: Ash had been meaning to go to the hairdressers for ages and then forgot about it. So that’s when I had to go in with the scissors and then progressively, as lockdown continued, we decided that we wanted to dye his hair as white blonde as we could.
Ash: We were going for Robert Pattinson in the film Good Time.
VICE: How does this all tie into the 24-hour livestream you’ve got going on in your flat?
Iona: We decided to do a livestream of us plodding about in our flat getting through our average every day, it’s not all that exciting. We’re doing it to raise money for the charity Mind because a lot of people are lonely. It’s nice for someone to have a place to check-in and see that they don’t have to be productive all the time.
Ash: Yeah, they can pop in and see us lazing about playing video games and stuff like that. We’ve started to get messages from people all over the country.
Iona: We started incorporating challenges if we raised enough money. We got to £100 – that’s the reason why we initially decided to dye Ash’s hair.
VICE: How was the dyeing experience itself?
Iona: The first round of dye was fine because it didn’t look like it was changing colour too much. But as I was spreading it through on the second round, it had already started to go white on some parts. I was like, oh shit, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do this time.
Ash: Half of the reason why we did it was because I’d been toying with the idea for a bit and it looks alright.
Iona: I did a great job, don’t know what he’s talking about. But yeah, I’d say to anyone thinking about cutting their hair or in a bit of an in-between stage, bloody go for it. It’s just hair.
MATTHEW AND JASON, BEEN TOGETHER FOR SIX YEARS
VICE: Jason, before we get into your hair fiasco, what was your normal go-to ‘do before the pandemic?
Jason: I’ve got a lovely barber around the corner who I see at least every three weeks and he normally does a number three on top, grading it down beautifully into my beard. We’re completely in tune with each other, so one of the tragedies of the lockdown for me is not being able to see him. Matt always says he wants it shorter and shorter, but I just don’t want that.
Matthew: But I got my way.
Jason: I let it get as long as I could possibly dare because I finally had to give in and let Matthew do it.
Matthew: He actually asked me to show him the clippers every time I changed the guard.
Jason: I knew he didn’t want to do a number three on top so I had to know for sure.
VICE: How did the haircut itself turn out?
Jason: He did what I asked him to do but it wasn’t exactly a fade. I sort of had three stripes around my head.
Matthew: I wasn’t really given an opportunity to correct my work.
Jason: I sat there with gripped firsts and there was only so much that I could endure. But I’ve come out realising that it wasn’t actually so bad and I actually can trust Matthew. I even thought, ‘you know what, it could’ve even gone a bit shorter’. Though I’ll be honest, I’ve been wearing a baseball hat every time I go out.
Matthew: The one bad thing that I feel quite guilty about is that he was supposed to have a call with his family the evening I did the haircut and he didn’t.
Jason: It was meant to be a Saturday evening get-together on Zoom and I was so traumatised that I couldn’t. It took me a while to pull myself together.
Matthew: But you got there in the end. Anyway, I was quite proud of my work. Plus, the only difference between a good and bad haircut is three days.
RACHEL AND CHET, BEEN TOGETHER FOR FIVE YEARS
VICE: Right, so talk me through what happened.
Chet: So I kept bringing up Rachel cutting my hair like maybe once a week and I didn’t want to pay 40-50 bucks. It’s the principle.
Rachel: And I kept saying you should go get your hair cut before things shut down because you’ve got a new job that you’re starting. I’ve never even cut my own hair. But yeah, everything locks down and he has the first day of his new job right after the lockdown, so now we have no choice.
VICE: So you now had to take one for the team?
Rachel: I had to be brave and go where I have never gone before. Which is cutting hair.
Chet: Fast forward and I’m in this garbage bag, which I think was Rachel’s idea, and I said, “Man, this is the worst haircutting experience I’ve ever had, like no pampering, no head massage.”
Rachel: He tells me to try and do a fade and that’s really where he fucked up.
Chet: There was obviously no gradation so it just looked like a layer of cake.
VICE: How did it go down with your new work colleagues?
Chet: We’ve been doing everything over Zoom, so bad lighting and a pair of headphones means that no one asks any questions whatsoever.
Rachel: It’s also New York City so there are a lot of purposely weird haircuts. If you’re going out to the grocery store in a pandemic with your mask on anyway, the last thing anyone is going to notice is your haircut.