this thing's incredible

This Gravity-Defying Barber Cape Lets Me Cut My Own Hair Without Making a Mess

The author, freshly shorn and not at all worried about cleanup. Photo: Tim Mak

A few months into quarantine, I realized that I would probably need some way to cut my hair in order to feel presentable — if not for myself, for my co-workers on Zoom calls. Isolating alone in my apartment, I dug into YouTube tutorials then bought an easy-to-use clipper set and cautiously trimmed away.

While I was proud of myself for not butchering my hair, any resulting smile on my face faded when I saw the hair all over my sink and bathroom floor. As the months passed and I kept cutting my hair, I tried to catch the clippings in different ways, including draping towels over my shoulders and cutting a hole in a garbage bag and sticking my head through. Once, I stood in my shower (which I do not recommend unless you have copious Drano). Everything left me with a mess. I would often delay my haircuts because I didn’t want to think about cleaning the follicular aftermath.

I shared my struggles on social media, and my brother responded to tell me about how he cut my toddler nephew’s quarantine hair with something called an umbrella barber cape. By putting my nephew in the tub and having him wear this contraption as he cut, my brother said it saved him from doing any cleaning afterward.