Forget about his music, fans want Justin Bieber's hair

Local salons say customers as young as 4 are requesting the side-sweeping mop

  • Justin Bieber's straight, side-sweeping mop has created almost as much news as the throngs of fans that have made him the reigning prince of tween pop.
Justin Bieber's straight, side-sweeping mop has created… (Brendan McDermid, Associated…)
September 01, 2010|By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Bieber fever has found its way into the barbershop and beauty salon.

The Canadian crooner's straight, side-sweeping mop has created almost as much news as the throngs of fans that have made him the reigning prince of 'tween pop.

Rowan Sher, a stylist at Dakota Salon in Columbia, has been flooded with customers as young as 4 wanting their longer locks to be transformed into sweeping bangs across their foreheads just like Justin Bieber, who performs this weekend at the Maryland State Fair. It's not just the youngsters. Sher has had customers as old as 25 requesting the style — but not always by name.

"Once they start describing what they want, I'll say. 'Like Justin Bieber?' They'll say, 'Yes,' " Sher said with a laugh. "They just don't want to advertise it."

The haircut typically takes about a half-hour and is fairly easy to complete, according to stylists, who said that the look works best on longer, straighter hair. Costs typically range from $25 to $50.

Sher said he loves to create the haircut.

"You get to use a razor to create frayed ends," Sher said. "You get to get in there and have at it. It's fun."

Bieber isn't the only celeb to rock the 'do. Actor Zac Efron and NFL star Tom Brady have both been spotted with versions of the same cut. But neither has caused the stir that Bieber has. "American Idol" also had its fair share of Bieber hair this past season. In addition to Bieber appearing on the show in May, heartthrob contestant Tim Urban sported the look, to the delight of screaming fans. Judge Ellen DeGeneres also wore a variation of the cut. (Some might argue that she is the one who popularized the look.)

The origins of Bieber's hair can be traced back to Baltimore's Dorothy Hamill and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, according to Sher.

"The haircut has been around since forever," said Sher, who added that Bieber's hair is a modified version of that worn by figure skater Hamill.

Reginald Dowdy, owner of Geometrics Hair Studio in Baltimore, said Bieber's hairstyle reminds him of the emo music movement, California surfer style and the skater look of the '90s.

Dowdy credits Bieber with allowing men to embrace more of a feminine side while showing off their luxurious locks.

"I believe it is allowing younger boys to show their voice more," Dowdy said. "It has always been unacceptable for men to have longer hair. I think this is a way for them to make this more acceptable. It allows them to show off their hair. I think this is a way for sexuality to come to the surface. I think it takes a pretty confident man to wear pink shirts and longer hair. It allows them to deviate from the norm."

With that said, Dowdy is not a fan of the style on men.

"It's an older emo look," Dowdy said. "It's nothing that is recent, nor is it something that is coming back. I see him [Bieber] dragging it on."

Most of Dowdy's male clients are looking to Europe for hair inspiration. That means more Mohawks, fauxhawks and more fixed hair styles.

"They are looking for hair that stays in place more than movable hair," he said.

Dowdy loves the style on lesbians, however, who request the haircut often. But they, too, ask for it by a different name.

"They would never say his name," Dowdy said. "They would rather pull out a picture of Ellen or someone else. I'd say Justin Bieber's inspiration is Ellen."

Lesbians are among the biggest fans of Bieber's hairstyle, according to Sher and Dowdy.

"We have a lot of lesbians that like that style," Dowdy said. "It is a style that is acceptable from 9 to 5."

Bieber's hair has inspired "Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber," a website that encourages visitors to upload snapshots of lesbians sporting Bieber's do. Since the site launched in March, it has received 2.5 million visits and 5.5 million page views.

"I think it's an easy hairstyle to have," said site creator Dannielle Owens-Reid, 24, who is based in Brooklyn, N.Y. "It looks good. It's comfortable. And JB is a total hottie, so, like, it works."

Owens-Reid created the site after being told on numerous occasions that she looked like Bieber. She thought the comparison was "hilarious," so she decided to launch the site.

"I've had mostly positive reactions," she said. "I haven't gotten hate mail from tiny teens, which I sort of expected, so that's cool. Most people just think it's really funny."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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