#Letitgrow movement gains momentum

Local residents forgo grooming in support of out-of-work stylists

#Letitgrow movement gains momentumBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Social media consumption (and internet usage in general) has increased sharply amid sheltering-in-place protocols as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One of the trending topics is pictures and stories telling the misadventures of residents cutting, coloring and styling their own hair at home.

While these “quarantine cuts” provide plenty of laughs, they’re also an indicator of another industry that has been forced to shutter as a result of virus concerns. With no available clientele, hairstylists and salon workers – most of whom are independent contractors – are among the millions of Americans finding themselves out of work.

As a result, stylists are asking clients to just “let it grow” until social distancing measures are relaxed.

One resident, before he heard about the small-but-growing #letitgrow movement, said he and some of his co-workers would try to hold off on haircuts and beard trims until they could return to their salon of choice.

“We were talking about not being able to get our pets groomed or our haircuts. said Adam Bingham.

Adam Bingham, a geologist for Searles Valley Minerals, is among those fortunate enough to continue collecting a paycheck. Because most of his job entails field work, it’s easy to produce while social distancing.

“We have trailers and offices far enough apart from each other with walls in between so that we can maintain a safe environment while continuing our work,” he said.

He and his work associates were talking about being unable to get haircuts or pet-grooming services under current directives. “We were excited and glad to able to continue going to work, but talking about the difficulties in providing income to other business.”

Bingham said he then realized that if his dog can stand to skip a grooming appointment or two, so can he.

“So I am going to continue to grow my hair and my beard and wait until the businesses can open back up. I’ll have my beard trim and my hair cut and then I can give them additional payment for the cuts I missed to help them get back into the swing of things,” he said.

“I think it’s an amazing idea,” said Ladies & Gentleman owner Lacie Morales. “Stylists, barbers and the beauty industry in general are starting to feel the pressure just like everybody. This virus is really starting to rear its ugly head.”

Morales – who does nails – has seven hair stylists and four barbers at her salon, all of whom are out of work.

The majority of hairstylists pay “booth rent” to salons for a space to work. “If we don’t work, we don’t get paid,” she said. “And I don’t have the heart to keep charging them rent for their space.”

Others haven’t been so lucky and have been asked to clear out their things and turn in their keys as a result of missing rent payments.

Ashley Jones, a local hairstylist, has joined the ranks of salon workers asking their clients to hold off on cutting their own hair and to wait for their stylists. But she said there are other ways for clients to help.

“The biggest thing you can do is get a hold of your stylist and prepay or buy a gift certificate. There are a lot of virtual options – PayPal, Facebook Pay, Apple Pay, etc. – I’ve sent out a couple digital gift certificates already,” she said.

She added that the Professional Beauty Association is currently offering free memberships and is providing grants for industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet.

“We’re all doing our best to maintain safety and keep things going as best as we can, but this is hitting them hard,” said Bingham of the beauty industry. “So keep letting everything grow – it will indicate to others that we’re thinking about them and the impact this virus is having on our community.”​

Pictured: Adam Bingham shows his various phases of facial hair as he approaches his final follicular form. — Courtesy photos

Story First Published: 2020-04-10