Lockdowns and restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic have rendered it essentially impossible for Americans to have their bangs trimmed or sideburns touched up (at least by a professional).
Some stylists, though, have decided that just because they can’t physically tame their customers’ cowlicks, doesn’t mean they can't help their clientele look their best.
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Katharine Cali is one of the styling gurus who has taken her hair-trimming talents to the internet in the wake of pandemic-spurred closures. With a speciality in bangs, the stylist, who works in Los Angeles, Portland and New York, started recording video tutorials for her clients to help get them through a tough time in quarantine.
After one London-based customer asked for a virtual one-on-one with the stylist, Cali realized that, with guidance, people are capable of cutting their own hair.
Cali’s customers can order anything from a DIY bang trim video tutorial, to a one-on-one bang trim coaching session and even a full-blown haircut, with each service priced differently.
After they book a service, Cali’s customers will receive a link to a Zoom session for their scheduled time, as well as recommendations for scissors and combs to purchase on Amazon Prime.
When the haircut starts taking place, Cali carefully and patiently guides her clients on seemingly daunting tasks like how to cut certain areas, which angles to cut, how and where to part hair, and the best way to apply product.
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The service has generally been helpful, but Cali notes that in some situations, the virtual barbershop isn’t as ideal.
“I'll show them step-by-step what I’m doing on hand, and sometimes they don’t pay attention and they’re just going rogue,” Cali said, “And I have to say 'put the scissors down, just stop what you’re doing, follow step-by-step what I’m doing, don’t go ahead of me, even if you see a hair that needs to be cut.'“
“This is a process, we have to go from beginning to end," Cali reiterated.
The online haircutting service provided by Cali and other stylists is inventive and helps customers address their hair-grooming needs. But, it's also one that may seem counterintuitive. If people can cut their own hair, wouldn't they no longer have to see stylists like Cali?
“I have no concern about that," Cali said, noting how a Zoom haircut is not going to look nearly as good as what she offers in the salon. "The idea of these virtual haircuts is just to get you through until I see you next. I want people to feel more confident in their Zoom sessions for work or with their families."
“I think people are capable of doing anything, just knowing that it’s not going to be perfect," she said.
If you’re looking for a virtual haircut, here are some helpful tips that Cali provides:
1. Be in an area with good lighting
2. Have the right tools prepared
3. Understand the virtual haircut is not meant to be perfect
4. Pay attention to the directions from your barber
5. If you’re very nervous about doing it, don’t do it
Beyond Cali’s services and even prior to the pandemic, there are a slew of self-haircut tutorials available on YouTube. Others have taken to social media to share their own self-cut experiences, such as Ali Ateeq.
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Floyd's Barbershop, a national chain, has also released online videos with humorous haircut tips.