What’s Up With Donald Trump’s Hair? A Hairdresser Tells All
It’s his clinging to the past and some old-fashioned hair habits; I’ll explain
You may have noticed, there’s something odd going on with Donald Trump’s hair.
Twitter is talking about Trump; this is no surprise. But instead of buzzing about his mouth or the oddball things that come out of it, they’re talking about Trump’s hair. Our out-going president is a product of his generation, an old-fashioned man, some would say a conceited man, and his hair tells the tale. Donald Trump, television personality that he is, has the hair to prove it. With a mane resembling a fuzzy, golden bird’s nest or a bad toupee, we have all been taken aback when Donald Trump emerged from the shadows this week with in flyaway, disheveled gray hair.
What is happening to Trump’s hair? Twitter explodes. There’s at least 5 different Twitter profiles dedicated solely to the personality that is Trump’s hair, and many Twitter folks are tossing in their two cents on what exactly is going on here.
Trump’s hair is not a mystery. It is wildly unique and a bit outdated, ok very outdated, but his recent silvery mane is a matter of hair product selection and personal hygiene habits. Trump’s recent silver hairstyle is the outward reflection of some very messy things going on in his life.
How do I know? Because I spent 16 years as a hard-working hairdresser, earning a good living and accolades in my field as an educator. And on the president’s hair, I have thoughts.
Hairdresser’s Early Years — You Learn a Bit About the Habits of Older Patrons
I began as a hairdresser in the early 90’s and worked in a hair salon that was set up like two parallel rows of booths. I was the youngest person working there. The majority of these booths were filled with “women of a certain age” who had a steady stream of little old ladies, older women, and working women.
To be clear, the seated hairdryer stations and hair rollers were getting regular use. The salon reeked of the scent of permanent wave solution and hair color. One smell will never leave me; the smell of temporary hair rinse. (I am surprised the staining ever left my fingernails.) I’d bet you my left arm, the President knows this smell quite well.
These smells have waned over the years as people steer more toward natural haircuts and shapes over the curly perms, and the focus is more on permanent hair color maintenance over the “frosting” looks of the late 80’s and early 90’s. If this shift occurred before then in your area, I understand. Here in the south, updates to our habits happen a bit more sluggish. Eventually the young men also let go of their rat tails and mullets.
There are always stragglers though. Some of these folks were so set in their ways that I still see them from time to time scuttling about in public with their perfectly teased and coiffed bubble of curls. Sometimes I even catch the scent of a little Fanci Full, the drippy color formula that haunts my sleep… “Do you charge to put on my color rinse? It’s Frivolous Fawn” they’d say proudly as I prepared myself for a messy blow out and that caked-on color I’d later clean from my brushes.
What is Temporary Hair Rinse and What Does it Have to Do with Trump?
Hair color comes in several forms. Temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent. The hair color you are most familiar with is permanent hair color which changes the actual structure of the hair and the natural pigment of the hair. It has a strong odor due to the ammonia it contains and as your hair grows out, it leaves a distinct line of demarcation or a section of “roots” where your natural hair color is in contrast to the chosen permanent hair color. Permanent hair color naturally fades some but does not “leave the hair.”
Semi-permanent colors are similar, leaving a more gentle line of demarcation and fading from the hair more than permanent hair color does, but leaving more of the natural hair intact. These colors add a darker shade or a glossy tone to the hair and gradually fade off.
Temporary color works very differently. It can come in mousse form, mixed in with your shampoo or conditioner, and in a handy bottle of color rinse. Color rinses were very fashionable and popular in my early years of hairdressing. The older patrons guarded their bottles of temporary color rinse, which they bought at Sally’s Beauty Supply and brought with them to their hair appointments. It had a distinct smell and was very messy to work with.
Temporary color rinses like the one pictured above also leave very distinct effects on the hair: (As evidenced by Trump’s hair.)
- There are no lines of demarcation at the roots (This is true of Trump’s hair.)
- The gray of the hair is still visible, only with a slight “hue” of the temporary color rinse. (Also true of Trump’s hair.)
- Often the color rinse leaves an odd golden glow to the hair or a muted tone in various shades. (YES! So true of Trump’s golden mess of hair.)
Temporary color rinses are added after shampooing the hair and left in the hair. It comes out with the next washing and is reapplied each time. It one were to stop reapplying the color rinse to their hair, their hair color would be back to the natural hair color underneath; in Trump’s case, a natural mixture of gray and silvery-white.
Note: Temporary color rinse can also be sweated right out of your hair at a news conference — just as Rudy Guiliani!
Trump’s Hair is Projecting a Dejected and Homely Look Lately
For a man who spends a reported $70,000 on his hair, Donald Trump is looking a bit rough these days. No, he did not color his hair gray, which is technically impossible. He could let his hair color grow out and cut the colored portions off — but he is not using the kind of color to do this. In my professional opinion (as a hair color educator for many years working for Goldwell USA, and for TheraPro Mediceutical hair loss products) he is using a temporary color rinse product.
Since he lost the presidential election and crawled into hiding this past week, he has emerged with a new silvery tone to his hair, sending Twitter into a tailspin. It is less complicated that many are speculating.
He simply stopped having the temporary color applied and has visibly put less effort into his appearance. His old-fashioned clinging to hair patterns of the past are taking a back seat to his current state of mind. A vain man, the president (un-elect) is a dejected man, wallowing in his own desperation to find some way out of this mess. And his hair is showing it.
Trump’s Haircut, like His Current Election Loss, Is a Mess
His haircut, too, is a relic from the past. Often I’d run into these men who somehow had the impression that having extra length of hair around the collar implied youth, even when the opposite was often true. They’d tease it a bit around the top and comb it in circular motions or wave it all over to one side, their hair the last connection they had to a youth and story to tell, to which only they felt nostalgic longing. The hairdresser smiles and agrees, inwardly sighing and rolling their eyes.
For some men, their hair becomes a visual representation of their inner confidence, even when the chosen hairstyle over which they hold fierce control, is silly but important to them nonetheless. I had many clients like this and you don’t “mess” with their routine. To the rest of us, we snicker and shake our heads. We don’t get the stringy hair cut coiffed into a bird’s nest, the male version of the female curly perm and blow-out. (Hey, if it makes them happy!)
I imagine Donald Trump has such a routine, with people helping as they are so ordered, his poor hairdresser paid to secrecy. (You didn’t really think all that $70,000 was for Trump’s haircut and color rinse, did you?) In my experience, clients that walk around looking like Donald Trump usually insisted on longer appointment times, the full attention of the hairdresser, lavish compliments, and the ability to follow some bizarre hairstyling and cutting directions.
If they want it slopped with Frivolous Fawn, blow dried with their grandfather’s boar bristle brush, teased and sprayed with Aqua Net, then you comply and hope he’s a big tipper. Who cares if it looks ridiculous. It’s how their hair makes them feel, you tell yourself. I bet the President’s hairdresser is generous with compliments, has Roux-stained fingernails, and a well-deserved fat bank account.
Trump’s Hair Is an Icon, a Relic, a Parody of All Things “Elite”
The rich and powerful can do what they please. It goes with the territory of living a lifestyle of which most of us can only visualize. Quirks and habits for most of us go largely unnoticed, but for any member of a famous family like the Trumps, hair and fashion sense are scrutinized to the point of cruelty. I do not envy them this.
But for the Twitter-verse railing on about Trump’s hair, no, Trump has not changed his hair color at all. He’s just looking a bit rough around the edges. Give the man a break. He’s had a bad week.
Christina M. Ward is a creative writer, poet, and freelancing professional from the beautiful state of North Carolina.