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No salons, (mostly) no problem: Parents share their quarantine hair cutting and dyeing experiences
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Right, Keith Smith cuts his 7-year-old son's hair in the bathroom. Photo courtesy Kaitlin Smith.

With barbershops and hair salons closed, people are either letting their mops grow wild or taking matters into their own hands.

Laura Fowler, a Hall County mother of three, said she couldn’t stand her three-year-old’s rat tail and decided to trim it off. However, she’s reluctant to fully enter home haircutting territory.

“I’ve been trying to find YouTube tutorials on how to cut their hair,” Fowler said. “I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Every time we go to a stylist they butcher his hair, and I’m scared to do it myself.”

While some parents like Fowler are holding back until after the pandemic, others have taken on the title of home hair stylists. 

From dye disasters to bootcamp buzzcuts, Hall mothers and fathers have shared their quarantine haircutting stories.

Entertainment for most of the family 

Kaitlin Smith swallowed her anxiety and let her husband cut her 7-year-old son’s hair. 

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Right, Kaitlin Smith watched reluctantly as her husband, Keith Smith, cuts their 7-year-old's hair. Photo courtesy Kaitlin Smith.
“I won’t even let him take them (children) to get a haircut,” Smith said. “That’s how nervous haircuts make me.”

Despite her fear, she said the trim was successful. 

Smith said her son, Clark, didn’t like the itchiness and amount of time it took his dad to cut his hair. Clark blatantly expressed his preference for a professional hairdresser. 

Smith said the most difficult part involved trimming the bangs and around the ears.

“I didn’t want him to look like Lloyd from ‘Dumb and Dumber,’” she said. 

Although Clark didn’t take much joy in the process, Smith and her husband had fun with it.

“We for sure laughed a lot,” Smith said. “It was great entertainment for the quarantine.” 

Buzzcut season

To Fancy Pettit, giving her 8-year-old son a buzzcut seemed like the easy answer to his overgrowing locks. 

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Asher Pettit after a fresh clipper cut from his mom. Photo courtesy Fancy Pettit.
“It was nice because if I did mess up, he said he really didn’t care,” Pettit said. “And no one is seeing him anyway.”

Gaining inspiration from her father, who would cut his brothers’ hair with sheep shearers, Pettit took the leap. She said it turned out well, to her surprise, and now her husband has asked her multiple times to cut his own hair. 

“I’m terrified to do that because he works at the bank,” Pettit said. “He’s still having to do business meetings on Zoom.”

If parents are considering giving their son a buzzcut, she said if their child is OK with it, “go for it.” She also recommends watching YouTube tutorials for guidance.

Mohawk mania

Trey McPhaul looked at his son’s hair one night, and said he realized it was “out of control.”

“I said, ‘Hey, man come upstairs real quick and I’ll cut your hair,’” McPhaul recounted. 

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Parker McPhaul gears up for a home haircut from his dad, Trey McPhaul. Photo courtesy Trey McPhaul.
He said his son, Parker, always wanted a mohawk, so that’s what he gave him.

“His mom said, ‘Oh, no, what did you do,’” McPhaul chuckled. 

Instead of taking 25 minutes to cut his son’s hair like the family’s barber, McPhaul said he spent a full hour. 

If he could give one piece of advice to parents wanting to use clippers for a haircut, he encourages them to start with the largest guard possible.

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Parker McPhaul opted for a mohawk during quarantine. Photo courtesy Trey McPhaul.

“These mistakes can be undone, but it can take a couple of weeks,” he said. 

McPhaul also recommends placing sheets under the person receiving the haircut, and wrapping a towel or other fabric around their necks to catch little hairs.

Leave haircuts to the professionals

Getting a 4-year-old to sit still for a haircut isn’t the easiest of feats.

Alison Odom said the pandemic prompted her to give her son, James, a buzzcut. 

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James Odom gives his approval of his new home haircut. Photo courtesy Alison Odom.

“For us, it became a necessity,” she said. “It was growing over his eyebrows and ears.”

After watching a couple of YouTube videos, Odom decided to give it a go. 

She said the process gave her a stronger respect for hairdressers.

“I think for the circumstances we are in, it’s certainly OK,” she said. “I prefer taking him to my cousin who cuts hair, and I definitely want to leave haircutting in the future to her.”

I didn’t ask for plum

Not going back to school gave 13-year-old Jesse Muller the chance to dye his hair a bright violet. Unfortunately, his hair color dreams didn’t come true. 

“He ended up with this deep plum,” said Belinda Muller, Jesse’s mom. “It looks incredibly feminine.”

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Jesse Muller waits as bleach soaks in his hair, so he can later add purple dye. Photo courtesy Belinda Muller.
Muller said her son wasn’t happy with the color, so she picked up a bleach powder and shampoo mix to remove the plum hue. The concoction did cancel out the plum, but transformed Jesse’s hair into a shade of copper. 

“He’s happier with the copper,” Muller said, laughing.

Muller also helped her 11-year-old daughter, Georgia, lighten the tips of her hair with bleach.

“If you’re doing color, make sure you have a ton of old towels around,” she said. “If you’re cutting hair, the bathtub is the easiest spot to do it. It’s easier to sweep and clean.”

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