Gray hair, don't care: Cuts and color lead to home travails

Full Screen
1 / 6

This combination of photos released by Kody Christiansen shows him before, at left, and after coloring his hair in New York. As the spread of the coronavirus sends more people into isolation around the world, trips to beloved salons and barber shops for morale-boosting services are a thing of the past. (Kody Christiansen via AP)

NEW YORK – Sister love playing out in a living-room hair trim. A botched home dye job with a silver lining. Stylists shipping out kits of personalized color with promises to talk their regulars through the process via FaceTime.

As the spread of the coronavirus sends more people into isolation, trips to beloved salons and barbershops for morale-boosting services and camaraderie are on hold.

While some brazenly cut themselves new bangs, turn to over-the-counter color or try picking up electric clippers and scissors to work on the heads of loved ones, others are letting nature take its course.

Memes and real-life stories are flying about cuts gone bad and the onslaught of gray hair, along with out-of-control eyebrows, sad lash extensions and overdue nail work. While such things seem frivolous in the sad and desperate crush of the pandemic, many people are reaching for rituals as emotional relief and connection to their longstanding way of life.

Mary Beth Warner in Syracuse, New York, has a lighthearted air about her as she hunkers down with her husband and 17-year-old son, but she isn't laughing on the inside.

“I remember my mom used to say during the war, as long as they could get lipstick they were happy,” she said. “That's how I feel right now about my hair.”

Warner, 63, usually travels to Manhattan for color appointments every four weeks with Frank Friscioni at Oon Arvelo Salon. He's been doing her color (blonde) for 25 years.

She's past her regular appointment, but rather than take on the task herself, she's wearing a baseball cap to walk her dog until she can coax Friscioni up for a house call, something he's doing with other clients closer to the city.