Cutting Edge Haircuts in Quarantine

Discussing the influence and effects of cutting or dying your hair in quarantine.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Sophie Poget

As the months of quarantine drag on, it is beginning to sink in that we won’t be seeing any classmates in school for quite a while. So what better time than now to take a hair risk? Complete access to online retailers, YouTube, your father’s razor, and safety scissors allows your innermost hair desires to come to life. This is certainly true for Stuyvesant students who get creative during times like this and choose to take a cut of faith.

Sophomore Joshua Gindis, who shaved his entire head during quarantine, attributes his dramatic hair transformation to his desire for change and the advantage of a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that the seclusion of quarantine offers. “I just felt that I'd never get a chance like this again. I’ve been wanting to shave my hair for years, and I always joked about it, but I never did it because of the fear of it looking bad and having to go out in public that way,” Gindis remarked. He continued to express his feelings about the end result of his haircut: “Looking so different that you seem unfamiliar even to yourself is a crazy feeling, and it totally shakes up your perception of yourself,” he said.

Unlike Gindis’s long-time desire for his haircut, junior Stella Oh referred to her decision as an “act of impulsive transcendentalism” inspired by a “huge urge” to cut her hair. Very much an impulse action, Oh’s mother had quite the reaction to her new look. “She stopped in her tracks and just stared at me as if she saw a ghost and she went: ‘Oh my god! What did you do to yourself? You look like one of those scary Asian ghosts.’ And I just laughed at her and myself and went back into my room to wonder why in the world I cut my hair,” Oh described.

Though Oh is a little bothered by the fact that her new look makes her feel like a freshman (“no offense to you freshman,” she commented as a disclaimer), she still feels content with her experience and very much supports the trend of cutting bangs in quarantine, which she said boosted her self-confidence and “spiced” up her life. She remarked, “You might end up surprising yourself, and whatever the outcome, at least you made some good memories you can laugh or cry about in the future.”

A fellow bang-cutter, sophomore Erica Huang followed Oh’s footsteps, but did not surprise her mom with her new hairstyle. Instead, Huang had her mom cut her bangs. She credits the inspiration for the new haircut to the rising trend of bangs as well as the day-to-day boredom that inevitably accompanies social distancing. Happy with her latest look, Huang offered wise words of advice to others who might want to follow her footsteps: “Even if it ends up like a Brad Mondo-worthy catastrophe, hair grows out. You might really like it,” she said. “Luckily, there were no mishaps for me; my mom has pretty steady hands.”

For others, the consequences of home haircutting have not been as positive. With unsteady, untrained, nervous hands handling sharp metal objects, turning your home into a hair salon has its fair share of difficulties, especially when the scissors are in somebody else’s hands. Sophomore Andy Lin was persuaded by his mother and reluctantly agreed to let his brother style and cut his hair into a mohawk. Unlike Huang’s smooth experience, Lin’s brother ran into some mishaps and Lin ended up with a ruined haircut. Lin reflected on his less than perfect haircut, stating, “Maybe it just temporarily made me uglier. When it was botched, I sorta felt like I would’ve gotten flamed for it.” Though he was forced to wear a hat to conceal his botched haircut in public, Lin is still a home-haircutting enthusiast but thinks of it more as a “last-ditch thing,” preferring the work of a professional barber instead.

However, scissors have not been the only thing picked up during quarantine. Dye bottles and bleach have been used by thousands of teens to alter their looks in a more colorful fashion.

Junior Sydney Yang, who decided to dye her hair purple with the help of her mother, justified her decision, stating, “Even if I messed up on my hair, no one at school would be able to see it until hopefully September—or even over the summer.” Despite a few unfortunate accidents with the dye and a newly dyed purple neck, she, like many others, concluded that she would “recommend dying or cutting your hair during quarantine” and very much enjoyed the experience.

Sophomore Olivia Tedesco, another risk-taker who decided to experiment with hair dye by coloring a streak of her hair blonde behind each ear, echoed Yang’s thoughts on the process. Both she and Yang remarked that though box dye wasn’t the most efficient method and both experienced minor accidents, they were very pleased with the finished product and their new look. Tedesco explained their shared ideology: “I wanted a change, since quarantine can feel so repetitive sometimes […] It was a great way to spice things up during quarantine.” She remarked that it was a great bonding experience with her sister and elaborated that it helped her feel confident in herself, since it didn’t involve seeking the approval of her peers and those around her. Like almost all of the others who cut their hair, Tedesco reported feeling excited and re-energized by her sudden change in appearance, and was quite pleased with the end result, even though the process had involved stepping out of her comfort zone and doing something she normally would not have done.

Many Stuyvesant students have taken it upon themselves to change a seemingly simple feature and take risks they might not have considered pre-quarantine. With the never-ending boredom of quarantine and the disconnect between peers caused by the coronavirus, the blow of a risky (potentially botched) at-home haircut is softened. As teens at Stuyvesant take on the completely unprecedented consequences of the coronavirus, “spicing it up” has become a reality, and they have begun to realize that the little additions can go a long way. Boosts in self-esteem, a changed outlook on life in quarantine, and a brand new experience are all welcome effects of quarantine haircuts and hair dying; in the wise words of Joshua Gindis, who so perfectly encapsulated the very essence of at-home hair alterations, “[quarantine haircuts are] a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”