EVER sat in a hair salon, with your head in the hands of a stylist, and thought “I could do that”? Bet it doesn’t seem quite so easy now.

Since hairdressers closed, due to Covid safety guidance, people have taken it upon themselves to cut their own hair... or have trusted loved ones to do it. And the results are bad - often spectacularly so.

Lockdown hair is a leveller of our time. You see it everywhere; newsreaders and TV presenters, without professional stylists at their disposal, look pretty much like the rest of us, with stringy hair and tell-tale roots. Once-hip beards look wild and dishevelled, like they might have bits of old food in them. Sneaky grey hairs taunt us with mortality.

No good comes of letting amateurs loose with kitchen scissors and clippers - as is clearly apparent in the lockdown DIY hair disasters currently raising a smile. My hair has gone Rapunzel; it’s the longest it’s been in years and is driving me crazy. You can keep your non-essential shops and Greggs pasties - what I want most right now is a cut and blow dry.

At least I can tie my hair up, so it's out of sight. Some lockdown haircuts have left people looking like cut-price Peaky Blinders or with Joan of Arc fringes... or no hair at all.

It got me thinking about my hair disasters over the years. I grew up near a salon called Ron and Yvonne, it seemed impossibly glamorous and I briefly fancied being a hairdresser. Aged about seven, on a whim, I asked my mum to cut my long hair short. In that way of Seventies mums, she hacked away at it, and I instantly hated it. I was mortified when, wearing shorts one day, I was out with my brother and someone called us twin boys.

Aged 15, I was at a bus stop when a girl came up and said: ‘Do you want a free perm?’ Turns out there’s no such thing as a free perm, but she was a hairdressing student, offering to do it for £2.50. Alarm bells should probably have rung, but this was the Eighties; I was desperate for a ringlet perm and the closest I’d got was using my crimping irons.

I wanted to look like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin. What I ended up resembling was Twisted Sister. It quickly became clear that the apprentice didn’t know her way around a bottle of perming lotion. After cutting my hair way too short, she spent ages applying layers of the foul-smelling stuff, wrapping what was left of my hair in a mound of silver foil. Her tutor would occasionally wander over to peel back some foil and wince.

I sat there for six hours. My friend who’d been with me, eventually got bored of laughing at my silver beehive and went home. When my perm was finally unveiled, it looked like a pile of straw dumped on my head. Blinking back tears, I handed over £2.50 and went back to the bus stop - with my hood up.

But my perm obsession continued. I spent the Eighties in a cycle of perms, until one hairdresser decided my hair was too damaged, and cut out the frizz, chopping the rest into a bob. Finally I was perm-free. Until years later when, two days before a romantic weekend, I decided my hair needed ‘a lift’ and, unwisely, booked a perm. I looked on, horrified, as the stylist turned my perfectly nice straight hair into tight Deirdre Barlow curls. It took a lot of smoke and mirrors, and straighteners, to get through that mini break.

Ringlet perms, like mullets, backcombing and bleached fringes, belong in the Eighties. They are the hair horrors that come back to haunt us in photos and TV clip shows - just as lockdown hair will define this era in years to come.

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