While the coronavirus rages on, another silent virus is making its way through the male population: the urge to give themselves at-home haircuts.

From Blake Shelton’s “quarantine mullet” as seen in this story in The Los Angeles Times to your next door neighbor who tried to trim him own sideburns, men all over are in need of professional help.

That’s why I called in reinforcements.

James Simon, owner/barber manager at Loyalty Barber Shop of Scranton, 342 Adams Ave., said your barbers understand how important a cut can be to make you feel better, but the best idea right now is to chill out and let your hair grow.

Similar to the box color conversation we had last week, Simon urged that, if someone isn’t a barber or stylist, it’s a good idea to keep their hands off the clippers and shears (and especially the kitchen scissors). While one-length all over is probably fine, this is not the time to attempt an at-home fade or any other more intricate cut.

“You would be best off just leaving it alone until this thing blows over,” Simon said. “Just a little bit of a ‘trim’ could end in a tonsorial tragedy.”

If you’re really desperate, reaching out to your barber for advice is a good idea. However, Simon said while any barber appreciates the sentiment and would love to get back to work, contacting your barber for a cut on the down-low is a no-no.

“Not only is it unethical, and counterproductive to what we are trying to accomplish by stomping this thing out by social distancing, but we could also lose our professional license,” he said.

However, the pros gave some tips on things you can do at home to keep yourself looking good.

Disguise it

While your hair is in between cuts, this is the best time to try different styling techniques or incorporate pomades or waxes to disguise the fact you need a hair cut. Also, if you are using this time to grow your hair out, this is a great way to maintain your patience get through the awkward stage.

“I think a lot of people are going to end up finding a new style when their significant other says, ‘I like it longer.’ And people are going to be heading back to the barbers when it’s time wanting a whole new style,” Simon said.

As your hair and beard get longer, they can become unmanageable so you should use this time to experiment with products and styles.

“Hair and beard products can make a night and day difference,” he said. “If your hair is in an awkward stage or not doing what you want it to do, you might be surprised what a heavy-hold pomade will do.”

Products are the answer for wiry beards, too. If someone has never used a product on their beard before, applying beard oil and combing it through will make a world of difference in its texture and appearance.

For facial hair

The “stay away from the clippers” rule stands here, too, but if someone absolutely must clean their beard up, less is more, Simon advised.

Slow and steady is the move, here. Definitely do it in the mirror and drop your clipper in “inverted” or, flip the clippers upside down, so you can see where it’s cutting. Take off the bare minimum to get rid of any strays and follow your natural top line (your cheek line.)

The same tactics go for the mustache. Use a slow, gentle hand to get those hairs off of your lip “so you can eat soup again,” said Simon.

Essential cuts

Longer hair isn’t an option for those in certain fields. State troopers must adhere to a certain hairstyle guideline, which can be difficult to maintain, said Larry Hamm, owner of The Barber Shop & Co., 721 Scranton Carbondale Highway, Dickson City. Hamm also noted certain clients, including business executives and other higher-ranking professionals, typically like to get their hair cut every 10 to 14 days. If you’re someone who needs to maintain a style, Hamm advised finding someone else to do it for you.
“Personally, I don’t even like cutting my own hair because you get used to a certain perspective,” he said. “Then, you get in the mirror and everything’s backwards. It’s a tricky thing.”
Hamm recommended always starting on the sides and beginning with a larger guard to leave some room for error. Clean up around the edges but try not to go too much into the hairlines. And, unless you have to, don’t touch the top of your hair.
“My best piece of advice is keep the clippers away from the top of your hair if you want to comb it,” he said.

The art of the buzzcut

During this time, lots of people may be tempted to either a.) have their partners give them a “2” all over or b.) just shave their heads. Simon noted that’s fine for some, though you must take into consideration the shape of your head, among other factors. Simon put it this way: if the last time that someone’s head was shaved was when they were a college rugby player, and now they’re 30 years older and 80 pounds heavier, they might want to re-think it because, naturally, they don’t look like they used to. It also takes a deceivingly long time for hair to grow back, and it could end up being another layer of stress during a trying time, he added.

If you are going to do it, again, the ideal situation is to have someone else do it for you. If that’s not an option, Simon said, set up mirrors so you can see every angle. Be aware of growth patterns aka the direction the hair grows out of your head and make sure they or you are going over the hair in various directions to get a consistent cut. Otherwise, you can end up with patches all over your head. Also, make sure your clippers are cleaned and oiled so they can perform the task properly. 

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How are you guys?! Like we’ve said and will keep saying, we hope you guys are staying safe, and healthy in this trying time . . As I’m sure you know we fall under the “non-essential” banner of workers which means we are unable to do what we love and we are now four weeks in, and in turn are challenged to earn the necessary funds to pay for living expenses. . . We know that a lot of folks are in the same boat, so we decided it would be a good idea and a fair deal for everyone involved to implement an online gift card system! If you wish to help us out and also pre-pay for your haircut for when we get back at it again all you have to do is go to www.loyaltybarbershop.bigcartel.com and select the Barber of your choosing, and check out! . . . The gift card item in the Big Cartel store is $25. If you wish to pre-pay for more, simply up the quantity to whatever you choose. After you check out bring the screenshot as a confirmation when you come to your appointment.  We also have updated all of our products on the web store and will be shipping products a few times a week. We are stocked on all items to keep your hair and beard healthy and looking good in the meantime. . . ***Please take note that the gift card price is $25 because that will be our new pricing for a haircut. We have been long overdue for a price increase, In that we have not raised our prices since we opened, which is six years now. All of our bills and overhead increase every year and we try to keep it as affordable as we can for everyone. Thank you in advance for your continued loyalty and patronage. . . We truly appreciate everyone’s support in these uncertain and difficult times. You guys are our friends as well as our clients and we love getting everyone’s messages and comments looking forward to when we can open again!

A post shared by LoyaltyBarberScranton (@loyaltybarbershop) on

Show your support

Under the orders from Gov. Tom Wolf, all non-essential businesses must remain closed indefinitely until at least April 30, which means your stylist or barber will be out of work during this time.

There’s still some ways to show love, though.

If you’re going to buy products, get them from the barber shop, not the drugstore. For example, Loyalty Scranton offers pomades, oils, waxes, skin and hair products, apparel and more in its online store, and is shipping items directly to customers at loyaltybarbershop.bigcartel.com.

Another way to support your barber is to buy a gift certificate for the same price as your normal service. Loyalty offers electronic gift cards for $25 each for your preferred barber that will be redeemable at the Scranton location when it re-opens. You also can buy multiple cards to use at multiple visits.

This is a difficult time for everyone financially and there’s also ways to show support without spending any money. You can leave a review, like and comment on your barber or barber shop’s posts on social media, or tag or refer friends.

“We are very blessed for the fact that we have such wonderful and loyal customers,” Simon said.

The Barber Shop & Co.

Visit The Barber Shop & Co. on Facebook, @barber_shop_dickson_city_pa on Instagram or call 570-343-8939.

Loyalty Barber Shop of Scranton

Visit LoyaltyScranton.comLoyalty Barber Shop of Scranton on Facebook or @LoyaltyBarberShop on Instagram.