We all know someone who shaved their head during quarantine. It seems to be just another side-effect of this pandemic. Not only that, but the internet is littered with social media posts and YouTube videos of people undergoing drastic home makeovers, from growing long wizard beards, to cutting bangs, or even piercing their own ears. There’s something about being locked down in the house that has many of us feeling an urge to do something drastic to our appearance because…well why the hell not? But it seems like there’s a lot more to the fact that lockdowns make you want to dye than just boredom: It’s may actually be a coping mechanism.
The fact that women change their hair after a break-up hasn’t become a stereotype without reason. The desire to alter your appearance during trying times may be a way to seek comfort by exercising control in one of the few areas you still can. Strict quarantine exercise regimes, the kind everyone’s bragging about in their Instagram, stories right now, could be seen the same way.
In fact, Kim Johnson, professor emerita at the University of Minnesota, was quoted by Wired as saying that “Women who were sexually assaulted often change their appearance after the assault. It’s a renewed sense of control.” She adds that when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, the thinking might be that while we cannot control what happens out there, but we can control our own appearance.
According to Jessica Defino for Allure: “It’s human nature to crave a physical change that matches the magnitude of an emotional one to correct that cognitive dissonance with a fresh cut or colour”.The fact that we’re seeing it happen all over the world, from celebrities to all of us mere mortals, proves that this is a very common, and very human, phenomenon.
Defino quotes hairstylist Andi Scarborough, who says that “There is something profoundly empowering and cathartic about cutting your own hair. The very same way a distressed animal sheds or molts, we, as human animals, are also subject to these primal impulses”.
While the magnetic pull towards the hair dye aisle or the scissors may be predominantly felt by women, all the men who are growing out their facial hair may be experiencing something similar.
Granted, many stores stopped selling razors during strict lockdowns, and some men were forced to get grizzly without having much of a say in the matter. Others though, in the opinion of Christopher Oldstone-Moore from Wright State University, may be drawn to that display of masculinity and resilience that beards may represent. It’s a scary world out there, but with a robust beard, you’re that much closer to magically turning into Jason Momoa.
Emma Grey Ellis at Wired writes that adding to the appeal of the quarantine makeover is the way that these changes in our appearance mark the passage of a significant time. A new look is an automatic way to signal to the entire world that something major has changed in your life. Those buying kits with which to tattoo themselves at home are probably particularly drawn to this aspect. They’ll one day be able to point to their badly drawn stick and poke design and tell their grandkids about the time they had to lie at home on the couch for two months to save the world.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be quarantining with a hair stylist or a real tattoo artist, you’re probably going to have to manage achieving the new you on your own, which can be tricky, and a little daunting. Allure reports that Pinterest searches for “home haircut” are up by 417 percent since quarantine measures started being implemented, while “how to strip hair colour naturally”is by 156 percent.
On the other hand, though, being stuck at home without access to a nail artist, hair dresser or beautician gives us the perfect opportunity to reevaluate our beauty standards and embrace ourselves au naturale. The pressure is off, and we finally all have a chance to give our hair and skin a much needed break and look inwards. perhaps instead of spending time trying to get our liquid liner to stop looking like a drunken raccoon did it, we should focus on becoming better people.
Just a suggestion. Do what you want. If repeated lockdowns make you want to dye your hair, then I say go for it ( but be ready for the look of disdain you’ll get next time you do actually see a real hairdresser).
We’re all getting tired of working from home (or not working at all), but in one respect it does have its perks. It’s never been a better time to experiment with a hair colour or style that might end catastrophically and leave you looking like Joe Exotic. There’s very little we can do to live our best lives right now, so why the hell not try to brighten up our lives a little in the bathroom mirror?
If your bangs are so short you end up looking like a little Dutch boy, they’ll have some time to grow out before you have to show your face to anyone. And if you, like me, are feeling the urge to pour some blue dye over all of it, just have a nice, dark brown on standby for in case you hate it when you’re done.