The Everyday Lore Project

12 June 2020 – Haircut

12 June 2020 – Haircut

Today I more or less chickened out of giving myself a lockdown haircut. I’m not a huge fan of having my hair cut at the best of times. I’m one of these people who go to the hairdressers with the equivalent of a mood board and a powerpoint presentation and still come out with the exact opposite of what I wanted. I once resorted to just asking for a Rachel, only find that by not specifying which season, I had doomed myself to a huge one-sided wedge. 

It’s been a while since my last cut, and despite my best efforts, my hair is now a heavy curtain of bird nest. So this morning, after yet another search and destroy mission on my split ends, I decided to give the lockdown DIY haircut a go. Only trouble is, it’s a Friday, and on balance, folklore rules say Fridays are bad for haircuts. However, I did find two entries in the plus column, the first was cut your hair on a Friday and you’ll soon attend a wedding, the other was it’s lucky to cut your hair on the first Friday after a full moon, which today is. I took this as a sign and shoved my Barnet under the shower. 

The method I used was the unicorn ponytail. Brush everything from the base of your skull up, and secure in a ponytail front and centre of your hair line. Then cut. I cut a teeny bit, about 2-3 inches. The sound of the scissors sheering through my hair was surprisingly unsettling. This wasn’t like snipping chives. I lost my nerve and shook out the ponytail. My hair didn’t look any different. So I re-girded my loins, and went in again, this time taking off another inch. Then stopped. It was just too traumatic, which is ridiculous as it’s just hair.

Except hair is never just hair when it comes to folklore, especially the disposal of hair. Some say you should burn the cut bits, others say it should be buried, and one source said if you want to raise a storm, throw it into water. Mostly the aim is to stop witches and birds getting hold of it. After considering all my options, I went for taking my chances, and binned it. The smell of burnt hair makes me queasy and it’s said how the hair burns can be an indication of your death. And I really couldn’t be bothered with the faff of burying it. I do worry about having washed the last bits down the plughole though, as it’s just started to rain.

When my hair was dry, I could make out a couple layers at the front, and the overall length was fractionally shorter. But at least the layers break up some of the frizz around my face. I doubt I’ll race to give this another go, but as a temporary fix it’s not the worst. And as yet, I can’t see any split ends. But give me time. 


Daniels, C.L. & Stevans, C.M (eds) (2003) Encyclopædia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World,Hawaii, University Press of the Pacific

Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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