How Hollywood Hairstylists Navigate Changing Regulations: "It's Like Hair Prohibition"

Courtesy of Subject; JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images
Studio City’s Capella Salon (Inset: Ciara)

Pros for Miley Cyrus and Gabrielle Union are resorting to outdoor visits, Zoom calls and home deliveries.

After nearly five months of changing regulations, L.A. hairdressers have been put through the wringer. Salons were cleared to reopen May 29, ordered closed again July 13, and allowed to resume exclusively outdoors July 20.

"It's like hair prohibition," says Shai Amiel of Studio City's Capella Salon, who counts Zendaya as a client. As a result, he and some of his fellow Hollywood hairstylists have resorted to house calls. Amiel also has dropped off hand-mixed coloring for clients.

Sally Hershberger, stylist to Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon, has launched Supreme Head Agency, a concierge service for booking appointments at home (and outdoors) in New York and L.A.: "Our clients still want to look and feel their best — especially for Zoom calls and social media content," says Hershberger.

For others, Zoom is still the only way they're comfortable treating clients. Kiyah Wright, of Muze in Beverly Hills, caught the novel coronavirus while her salon was open for a short two-week window. She is doing only online appointments until she receives a negative test result. With regulars including Laverne Cox and Gabrielle Union, Wright says some of her clients, like Ciara, have enlisted her for distanced wig assistance: "She'll be like, 'OK, send me this wig,' " Wright says, "and she knows how to put it on."

While outdoor visits may help some businesses survive, Benjamin Salon's Benjamin Mohapi says it's nearly impossible to do coloring and blow-drying outside, nor does it come close to the salon experience: "A tent in a parking lot under 100-degree sun doesn't exactly inspire." 

This story first appeared in the July 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.