Editor’s letter: This is getting hairy!

On the regular Zoom and FaceTime meetings I have every week, people have stopped being polite to me about it. What started as the odd, ‘No, don’t be silly, it’s still looking great!’ when I had a little moan has now become barefaced, all-out guffawing and comments like, ‘Oh boy, yeah… What are you going to do about it?’

Good question. What am I going to do about my hair? Time was when my short, choppy pixie crop made me feel very smart and in control. It’s a fuss-free cut that has served me well for nearly 15 years. I can be washed, blow-dried and out of the door in 20 minutes. But short hair needs regular maintenance. My last trip to the salon was in late February. As I write this today, from my kitchen in mid-May… Well, I think I’d be breaching all sorts of trade-description regulations by calling it a ‘hairstyle’ at this point. The overgrown toadstool shape currently crowning my head makes Boris Johnson’s barnet look sleek and groomed by comparison. The bonus? Thanks to those endless video work meetings, I get to stare at my own unlovable moptop for hours, every day. My husband bought himself some clippers and gave himself a buzzcut. I’m starting to wonder whether I should do the same.

It’s just hair, right? No, actually. It’s not ‘just’ hair. While our rational minds know that our collective bad hair days (months) are not the most pressing issue right now, there’s a reason Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s ‘Hair is everything, Anthony!’ speech in Fleabag became such an instant cultural touchstone. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much we cannot control outside our own locked-down walls right now that we find comfort in the things we can. Take away our hair salons and you’ve taken away a small, but significant modicum of control – of comfort – that we value  more than ever. Trifling matter though it may seem to many, I’m willing to wager that even plenty of NHS nurses, whose minds are definitely on higher things, are also fantasising about the day they can finally get their roots done.

So we decided, here at YOU, to do what we can about it. I can’t unlock the doors of the country’s salons and frogmarch the hairdressers back to their washbasins. Rumour has it that I googled ‘How much is a hazmat suit?’ with the intention of buying both it and an Uber ride for my beloved stylist George, but I cannot possibly comment on that.

What we can do is enlist the experts to help us all. So our beauty director Edwina Ings-Chambers has put together a super A-team, sharing incredibly useful tips, tricks, tools and other handy hints to eke the best out of your hair for just a little longer. I know. It’s just hair. Hair isn’t everything. But, you know, it’s not nothing either. Enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

oliver bonas pasta machinePasta truly does taste better when you have time to make it from scratch. Pasta maker, £35, oliverbonas.com

plumo face masksGreat colours, washable and all purchases net a donation to Masks 4 NHS Heroes. Face masks, £10 each, plumo.com

rainbow socksFor a cheeky pop of colour peeping out of cropped jeans. Socks, £14.50, pantherella.com