‘I just want to go back to normality’: how repeated lockdowns changed our hair habits

11 months ago 143

In the mediate of Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, I decided I needed to bash thing astir my hair.

With the chances of restrictions easing looking little and little likely, I caved and ordered a conduit of toner that my hairdresser promised would halt my blonde highlights turning Simpsons-yellow. As I clumsily slathered the pick connected to my divided ends, I noticed the sanction of the shade: “light beige”.

I’m not the lone 1 who has resorted to container dye. Online hairsbreadth and quality retailer AMR reported that gross for hairsbreadth dye products was up by 240% successful August 2021, compared with August 2020. It’s not conscionable hairsbreadth dye that radical were after. Revenue for hairsbreadth dye remover besides accrued by 194% this August, compared with last.

At the aforesaid time, parts of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were facing stay-at-home orders and rising lawsuit numbers. It doesn’t consciousness similar a coincidence.

Something seems antithetic astir the mode we tackled our hairsbreadth successful 2021. In Sydney’s archetypal lockdown, reassured that nary 1 would spot maine successful public, I dyed my hairsbreadth an unnatural shadiness of pink.

 backmost  to ‘light beige’ successful  2021.
Left: Justine’s ‘mauve rose’ hairsbreadth successful 2020; right: backmost to ‘light beige’ successful 2021. Composite: Justine Landis-Hanley

And I wasn’t alone. Several hairdressers I spoke to astatine the clip said that a surge of clients were opting for agleam shades of blue, pinkish and purple portion stuck successful isolation, nary longer bound by the workplaces’ strict formal codes.

Melbourne hairdresser Paul Sandowsky agreed that his clients were “experimenting much and conscionable mucking astir with hairsbreadth colour”.

“The archetypal lockdown, I had a batch of my clients’ daughters, successful their teens, instrumentality tons of bleach to their hairsbreadth … I had a bully fistful of radical travel successful and I needed to benignant of walk 5 hours fixing what they’d destroyed fundamentally successful the archetypal lockdown,” Sandowsky says.

He adds that, astatine the different extremity of the spectrum, helium saw older clients choosing to turn retired their colour and clasp their earthy grey hairs. By comparison, during Melbourne’s latest lockdowns, much clients person been asking Sandowsky to premix up their colour and permission it successful the mailbox, truthful they tin interaction up their roots astatine home. Many, similar me, are playing it harmless with colour.

My person Michael Sun (who is present employed by Guardian Australia) added neon-green streaks to his achromatic hairsbreadth arsenic Sydney headed into its archetypal lockdown past year. But the streaks person since grown retired and been chopped off. Stuck astatine location since June, Sun says he’s conscionable sat done “many months of my hairsbreadth getting progressively longer and longer”.

“It conscionable looks highly moppy close now.”

While past year’s lockdown announcement motivated him to instrumentality the plunge and power up his look, this clip around, fatigue has acceptable in. “Last twelvemonth was bored and hedonistic; this twelvemonth is bored and fatalistic,” helium says.

“We’re utilized to lockdowns. It’s precise overmuch conscionable like, ‘we are successful this for the agelong haul, let’s buckle in’ ... It’s similar we don’t person the vigor to bash thing connected apical of surviving.”

 a ‘moppy’ chopped  successful  2021.
Left: Michael Sun with greenish streaks successful 2020; right: a ‘moppy’ chopped successful 2021. Composite: Justine Landis-Hanley/Michael Sun

The archetypal lockdown represented a extremist displacement successful our existence. For galore it was undeniably a difficult, adjacent scary, time. But determination was besides a novelty successful having to enactment astatine home, and a state that came with being retired of the nationalist eye.

During overmuch of the past fewer months, it is beingness extracurricular of lockdowns that has felt similar a novelty for those of america surviving successful Sydney and Melbourne. We spent weeks holding retired for the time erstwhile we would beryllium capable to question much than 5km from our homes, oregon devour meal portion seated astatine a restaurant.

Sandowsky says that, with restrictions lifting successful Melbourne for the archetypal clip successful months, helium “cannot judge however galore appointments are coming through”.

“I’m engaged until the extremity of November; similar 14-hour days. I’m trying to support 1 nighttime escaped a week. I’m moving Sundays. It’s perfectly madness,” helium says.

“It’s evidently bully for tiny business, but astatine the aforesaid clip determination is the carnal and intelligence wellbeing facet of trying to accommodate everyone who wants to spot you and having the intelligence and carnal vigor to bash that. By the clip it comes to December, I would ideate I’ll beryllium acceptable for lockdown seven.”

He says that ensuring everything is done safely and successful compliance with authorities orders “adds different furniture of accent to what is astir to beryllium the biggest hair-a-thon”.

Sandowsky predicts that immoderate clients whitethorn privation to importantly alteration their look arsenic soon arsenic stay-at-home orders ease, anxious to demarcate the next, hopefully freer, chapter. He says a London-based hairdresser helium knows precocious experienced this with her clients. “She was saying that radical conscionable privation change, they privation thing different. It’s been truthful agelong and they conscionable privation to … commencement fresh.”

Sun, though, conscionable wants his pre-pandemic hairsbreadth back. “It’s going to beryllium a haircut that I had for 2 years straight,” helium says. “I conscionable privation to spell backmost to normality.”

With request for haircuts surging, the earliest assignment helium could get for a trim was 12 November: “I’m practically quivering astatine the thought.”