The Kindest Cut

The Hunt for Donald Trump’s Hairdresser, and How to Make ‘It’ Better

As Donald Trump courts controversy on the campaign trail, his hair remains mesmerizing, defying both taste and gravity. Who’s responsible, and what can be done?

07.12.15 4:01 AM ET

On Wednesday, as Donald Trump insulted a female reporter during a live television interview with MSNBC, it was business as usual for the presidential hopeful who has seemingly offended everyone from NBC to Mexico to the FAA

But to a more suspecting eye, something was different.

Sure, his arrogant, belittling, and aggressive personality was on point, but the subtle glow that typically surrounds his head was askew.

The once marmalade-colored locks of his one-of-a-kind hairstyle had become a muddled mess of silver and faded blond.

The Trump hair really is something: it’s orange and matted-looking on the sides, and now white/silver, wispy, swept back, defying the laws of physics and practicality, on top.

“It’s like he woke up and said, ‘You know what? Fuck my hair,’” said celebrity groomer Adrian Fanus, whose clients include Forest Whittaker.

Fanus told The Daily Beast, “If you saw someone walking down the street with their hands cuffed to a briefcase, you’d think, ‘There’s something in there he doesn’t want me to see.’ I feel the same way about the way Donald Trump combs his hair over on top. What is it concealing?”

“My agent got in touch with Trump’s office around 1997 to put me forward as someone who could cut or restyle his hair,” Losi, the celebrity men’s hairdresser for New York salon Martial Vivot, told The Daily Beast as she was en route to Toronto to style Jake Gyllenhaal’s locks for the premiere of his new movie, Southpaw.

Losi has also styled the likes of Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Liam Neeson, Zachary Quinto, and Steve Buscemi.

“We were told, ‘His hair is the way it is,’” Losi said of the firm word from Trump’s office. “He gives strong direction about how it should be, and he’s not very interested in changing it. Apparently, he does his own. He starts from the back. He combs it forward, so it reaches down past his nose, and then he folds it back, and then he sprays it.”

Losi, on the other hand, would have tried “to brush some of it to the side,” she said. “You can’t cut it too short. He’s a big guy with a fat face. Cut it too short and he’d end up with jowls.”

As for the color, she doubts it’s natural.

“He is probably like one of my clients who dyes his hair once every four months, leaving it until the roots really start coming through,” she said. “You would also have to blow-dry that kind of hair: the nature of white hair is that it cannot be contained.”

On Friday, when he spoke to the Friends of Abe, the ginger flank of Trump hair was plastered firm down at the sides, and a side parting had emerged. The back was long, straggly, and running free.

Trump’s hairdo, or hairdon’t, has been a meme-worthy fixation of pop culture for years.

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Experts have debated its naturalness. Comedian Seth Myers used it as the butt of his jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011. And, most recently, the iconic Homer Simpson was sucked into the golden abyss of its “gravity-defying comb-over.”

And as Fanus, observing recent pictures of the Donald, said, “It’s also all the color going on. The hair colors and his red face are all clashing.”

Which stylist is responsible for the world’s most notorious male haircut? Hope Hicks, Trump’s spokesperson, did not return The Daily Beast’s enquiries for the name of the Trump barber.

So, how did it happen? Where is it coming from? And exactly what is hiding under that “it’s not a comb-over” comb-forward? Could it lead our nation? And is it responsible for chemtrails

“People always comment on it,” Trump told Nigel Farndale of Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “But it’s not that bad, and it is mine—look,” Trump added, reportedly tugging at the front to show this was no wig or toupée.

“I mean, I get killed on it. I had an article where someone said it was a hairpiece, but you can see it isn’t.”

Farndale assents that this is true, then asked whether Trump used gel. “No, I use spray, actually. I’ll comb it wet, then spray it so it doesn’t get blown away by the wind.”

According to a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Trump confessed that his daily routine consists of one part Head and Shoulders and one part air dry (approximately 60 minutes).

“Yes I do use a comb,” he told Erik Hedegaard. “Do I comb it forward? No, I don’t comb it forward…I actually don’t have a bad hairline. When you think about it, it’s not bad. I mean, I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it’s not really a comb-over. It’s sort of a little bit forward and back. I’ve combed it the same way for years. Same thing, every time.”

Determined to find out more about this evolution and how his infamous hairstyle came to be, and who keeps it buoyant, unapologetic, and camera-ready on the campaign trail, we sought answers from those close to Trump.

We reached Sharon Sinclair, Trump’s key hairstylist and makeup artist on The Apprentice, but—after agreeing to speak—we were unable to get her on the phone. All communication with her quickly went radio silent.

Hair salons close to the Trump Empire refused to comment, or point us in the direction of those who might help.

Anthony Cristiano, of his namesake salon in Chicago’s Trump Tower, declined due to the nature of their close business relationships.

It seemed that there was a Trump hair omerta in operation. The Donald’s follicles inspired fear. No one would speak of the origins and inspiration behind that marmalade and silver color combo, that defiant, wispy undo…

Even current and previous presidential hairstylists were hesitant to comment.

Zahira Zahir, who groomed George W. Bush’s locks, quickly hung up.

Bill Clinton’s stylist, Cristophe Shatteman, never returned our calls.

And Zariff, who is the current “first barber,” declined to comment out of fear that many could misconstrue his remarks.

There were a few who were bold enough to speak—and these brave souls even attempted to persuade the real estate tycoon to switch to a more updated look, as the forward-sweeping nature of his current style is generally suited for a much younger demographic. (Or, as Fanus put it, “Trump looks like an 18-year-old skateboarding kid with a bad tan.”)

While Trump has sported the same ’do for decades, many of his peers have adapted their styles to their advancing age, opting for much more mature looks.

Over the years, the color of Trump’s hair has visibly had its ups and downs. It has gone from a dark strawberry blond to a very bright ginger with a subtle touch-of-gray to white to his now platinum mix of blond and gray. 

“I’d darken the roots,” said Fanus. “John Boehner has got it right. He has black hair, a touch of gray. He is wearing his age and maturity well. I would darken Trump’s hair, and his brows. A lot of how bad he looks is accentuated by what looks like bad tanning.” (Or is it makeup, or both? More mysteries.)

“He needs to lay off the tanning,” said Fanus. The solution to Trump’s hair woes, as well as some darker brown coloring, Fanus thought, would be to cut the sides, shorten the front bangs, add some layering and—as Losi suggested—comb to the side, rather than its current, mesmerizing forward and back swoosh.

“He’s got so much money why should he care what anyone thinks?” Losi said, laughing. “Imagine saying to him as a hairdresser, ‘Mr. Trump, why don’t we try this?’ Silence. Then he says, ‘You’re fired.’”