Local hairstylists say enjoy your long hair while you can
If you think your long hair looks bad now, it may look worse by trying to cut it at home.
The best advice from local barbers and hair stylists is to let your hair grow while staying at home during the pandemic.
"Everybody should be looking shaggy, in my opinion," said Connie Cook, who has been styling hair for 40 years. She is co-owner of Amour de Hair salon in Libertyville.
She says her clients are "constantly calling" and asking for haircuts, but she refuses because of the stay-at-home orders in place since March 21.
"I want to get back to the salon. But I'm not touching my hair, either. I have one-inch gray roots," she laughs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports hair grows at an average rate of one half inch every four weeks. That means all of our hair is an inch longer since barbershops and salons closed.
"It's gonna be brutal if you cut it at home," said Anthony Imbrogno, owner of Sorrentino's Barber Shop in downtown Arlington Heights. "Just hold out a couple more weeks. Then come to us and we'll fix it."
Longtime Batavia barber Craig Foltos is using the forced closure to clean and paint his eclectic shop, Foltos Tonsorial Parlor on Main Street. "You're only going to get a chance to live like this once in your life. Enjoy it," he said about having longer-than-normal hair. "Even though it's inconvenient, it's OK."
The only advice he gives on cutting your own hair is: Be careful.
"Accept the fact that it's going to look like crap. But remember, you're wearing a mask, so nobody knows who you are anyway," he joked.
If you can't wait another day, Cook said, there are a couple of steps to making your hair more comfortable and presentable for an online video chat or meeting. Her advice applies mostly to men.
First, you should have clean hair and the best pair of scissors in the house. And the most important rule is to start slow and cut only a quarter of an inch at a time.
"Take as little as possible because you can always go back and do it again," she warned.
Start by trimming around the ears, front to back. Make sure both sides look the same.
Move on to the sideburns by pulling the hair toward the cheek and cutting back toward the ear.
Moving to the bangs, gather the bangs together, to the center of the forehead, and use the tip of the scissors, pointed toward the forehead, to cut just one quarter of an inch. Spread the bangs out and repeat if necessary. Do not cut straight across the forehead from one side to the other.
"You'll get a bowl cut and it will be a nightmare," Cook said.
To trim the neckline, you only need to trim what you can see from the front. It's best if you have a family member to help.
Fernando Rodriguez, a barber at Meraki Hair Design on Second Street in St. Charles, agreed less is more. He advised trimming only around the ears and sideburns, using electric clippers that can be purchased at most department stores.
He likes to use two mirrors, one handheld, to clearly see the whole side of his own face while using the clipper to shape his sideburns. He starts by brushing the hair straight down so it lays flat and even, then applying slight pressure with a level clipper and pulling straight down.
But the first piece of advice from every stylist we talked to was the same: Don't do it.
"We're all in this together," Cook said. "We're all going to be a little shaggy."
And that's OK.
• Daily Herald photographer Brian Hill contributed to this story