Even when there’s a global pandemic, we’re going to want to look our best. Sure, we’re going to be venturing outside an awful lot less, but with video conferencing and weekly virtual pub nights, it’s not as though we have licence to revert to cavemen.
To make sure we don’t end up looking something like Tom Hanks in Castaway, us guys will still need regular haircuts. But when we’re told to stay inside and only head out for “essential” needs, does that include a trip to the barbers?
For now, hairdressers and barbershops have been deemed safe to remain open in Australia, although there are restrictions in place, such as having only one person per 4 metre squared of floor space. The Australian government initially implemented a 30-minute-only appointment rule, but that has quickly been scrapped.
Some barbershops, such as Tooth & Nail in Marrickville in Sydney’s Inner West and Tidory’s Barber Shop in the Eastern Suburbs, have decided to shut their doors, while others have made the effort to tell their customers about the restrictive measures they’re now legally required to put in place.
The Emporium Barber, which has four stores in Queensland and one in Bondi, NSW, has posted on its site the number of people allowed in each shop at any one time – they’re limited to 15 in Bondi, including staff – but reassures customers that they’re abiding by the government’s guidelines when it comes to cleanliness. Plus, they’re still allowed to serve alcohol!
We spoke to Trent Pridmore, Founder & CEO of The Emporium Barber, to find out what measures they’re putting in place and how they’re adapting to the ever-changing rules.
“Obviously we’re quite a bit quieter at the moment in comparison to normal. Our stores are in areas where there are large multinational commercial tenants, the majority of which have instructed their staff to work from home”, he begins.
“Our hygiene standards have always been extremely high but we’ve certainly stepped it up again since all this has started.”
“All staff are washing hands before and after client interaction, equipment is sanitised between each client with hospital-grade disinfectant, fresh towels and capes for all clients are sanitised and the entire store gets several cleans each day.”
“I would 100% say that it would be safer at the moment for one of our clients to come into the stores than having someone come into their house. ”
“It would be harder to disinfect your equipment/tools if people are mobile. How can you guarantee a house is cleaner than one of our stores?”
Fortunately for guys, a style or crew cut shouldn’t take long, but the idea of sitting in a chair that somebody else has occupied moments before, or being manhandled by a stylist who would have seen countless people come and go, can be more daunting than usual.
It’s therefore perhaps no surprise to learn that some gents are turning to cutting their own hair at home (or occasionally with the help of a partner) – and gay guys are “crisis-bleaching” their hair peroxide blonde. A lot of guys resorting to such drastic measures are posting videos of the process and results to online video sharing platform, TikTok, with the #quarantinecut, #quarantinecutchallenge and #selfcutchallenge hashtags all trending.
“If guys are going to do their own hair, I wouldn’t think that anything other than clipper cuts or buzz cuts are going to be happening. Anything else would be just too hard. Just grab yourself a decent pair of clippers, use the guards as a guide for length, start of longer as once you’ve cut it off you can’t put it back,” Trent tells us.
One such video, posted by Eli Clarke exemplifies just how different Australian haircuts are compared to the rest of the world, with the man in the video resorting to placing a bowl over his head to give himself a classic bowl cut. We think the results speak for themselves.
Another user, @claudia.mitchel8, has posted a video of her brother Lucas getting an at-home mullet trim. The mullet is a hairstyle championed by Aussies (there’s even a festival dedicated to it) and the comments section on the video appears to favour the look.
It’s not just Australians getting in on the act, as barber shops around the world are closed. One user in America, @therealslimpaigey1, decided his barnet looked good after shaving just one whole side off. Fortunately, he didn’t leave it that way, as a later video proves he shaved the rest off too.
Of course, you could play it safe, such as @bernardcastrillon, who decided to shave all his hair off in one clean sweep for a simple buzzcut.
@bernardocastrillon= Quarantine day 12
Or as we mentioned earlier, you could resort to simply dyeing your hair a different colour. This is your chance to get creative!
@himbeauWhen you’re gay and you’re legally required to bleach your hair every time there’s a crisis situation
Whether or not you brave the outside and head to a barber or salon is entirely up to you. But with a wide range of haircutting equipment available for you to use at home – not to mention the time for your hair to grow back should anything go wrong, we’re all for the quarantine cut.
But if you want it done by the professionals, Trent signs off by saying, “I think the best thing to do would be to come in now, don’t wait to be told we have to shut. Get a tidy up, maybe ask for it to be a bit shorter to last a bit longer than normal in case.”