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Longmont hairstylist keeps in contact with customers during coronavirus pandemic, cautioning them on home-style cuts

Owner and Stylist Shelbie Borgman poses for a portrait outside Top Knot Salon and Boutique in Longmont on April 10, 2020. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Owner and Stylist Shelbie Borgman poses for a portrait outside Top Knot Salon and Boutique in Longmont on April 10, 2020. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

When Gov. Jared Polis ordered all “nonessential” businesses to close down in the hopes of stopping the spread of the new coronavirus, hair salons were among those shuttered starting March 19.

Since then, hair has lengthened, split ends have multiplied and roots and grays have appeared like unwanted pests.

Aching for a sense of normalcy in a tumultuous time, some residents are itching to take matters into their own hands. As hairstylists await the day they can open their doors again, they advise residents to put down the scissors and store-bought hair color and wait until they can get back to the professionals once more.

Shelbie Borgman has run Top Knot Salon, 941 Main St., for the past four years. On an average five-day week, she works roughly 10-hour shifts.

Borgman said she has been trying to make the best of her new-found time and has been brushing up on virtual tutorials and remodeling her business to give it a fresh look for the day she can open her doors again.

Jazlin Laughlin , who co-owns The Spot Hair Salon, 724 Main St., with Vanessa Pietch and Karina Dufour, has also been keeping her skills sharp through online tutorials. Laughlin has helped run the business for nine years. Like Borgman, she’s used to 10-hour days in the salon.

Both Borgman and Laughlin said one of the most challenging aspects of being closed is not being able to see their clients face to face.

“It’s kind of weird,” Laughlin said. “We are social people, who can’t connect with anyone.”

Borgman echoed this.

“It’s been depressing. It’s been really hard,” Borgman said. “I definitely feel like a bit of my social life has disappeared.”

Despite not being able to be with their customers, Laughlin and Borgman have kept in touch with them. Many have asked the stylists for tips on how to maintain their hair until they can get back to the salon.

“They have been reaching out saying ‘Can I cut my own hair? Should I get the buzzers out?” Laughlin said. “No, don’t do it. No kitchen shears and no Clairol.”

Borgman said waiting to see a professional will be worth it, because if residents mess up their hair now, who knows when she can fix it.

“Let your roots show, we are all in this together,” she said.

If they are going to take matters, or scissors, into their own hands, Borgman suggested they do some preparation.

“If you’re going to do it, there are tutorials and free sources online,” Borgman said. “If you have to do it, do your research.”

When they can, both Borgman and Laughlin have been offering their guidance to their clients and continuing to keep in contact with them.

When Gina Cameron wanted to touch up her roots, Laughlin walked her through it. Cameron, of Longmont, has been a customer at The Spot Salon for the last two and a half years. Until the pandemic, Cameron got her hair touched up every four weeks.

“It’s the first time in over 30 years that my gray roots have shown,” Cameron said. “Jaz and I have been in touch. She referred me to a root touch up product.”

The fix, however, wasn’t salon quality, Cameron said.

Jeanne Manigold, of Longmont, got her hair cut shortly before businesses were order to shut down. Like Borgman and Laughlin, she said something she misses most is the human connection that comes from a regular hair cut. Manigold has been a client of Laughlin’s for almost eight years.

“She just makes you feel like you’re her only customer and gives me a great haircut,” Manigold.

On Twitter, a few other Boulder County residents shared trials and tribulations of tending to their tresses and locks.

“We’ve lost sight of my 15-year-old brother’s eyes,” wrote Emma Agatston . “I attempted to shave my dad’s hair. It’s harder than it looks.”

Masyn Moyer, of Boulder, said she is preparing for some damage control.

“As a hairstylist, I look forward to seeing what I get to repair after this,” Moyer wrote.

Lauren Rankin , of Boulder, got so fed up with her hair, she asked her boyfriend to shave her head. Standing over the bathtub one night, he helped her to snip and buzz off 3 inches of her former pixie cut.

“When you’re cooped up it feels like you don’t have much control, cutting hair has always been a way to physically refresh,” Rankin said. “Shaving it was the easiest way for it to not look completely haphazard and have that control.”

For Rankin, a freelance writer, her new style is a reminder that not all things are permanent, including tough times.

“Hair grows back,” Rankin said. “This pandemic situation is serious and scary, but it’s temporary.”

Polis’ order called on non-essential businesses to remain closed through April 30. Both Borgman and Laughlin are continuing to book appointments for the months ahead and hope they will be able to re-open in May.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing everybody,” Borgman said, “and giving people hugs and catching up with everything that’s going on in peoples’ lives.”

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