The 12 Greatest Haircuts of the Pandemic

A 50/50 of a clean cut guy with long hair and beard

The last 13 months are going to be remembered basically exclusively as a tragedy. But there were some silver linings: watching Stanley Tucci mix a Negroni, say, or the surreal hijinks inside the NBA bubble. And the hair! It turned out to be a phenomenal year for unkempt-but-kempt grooming. During the months when it was difficult or illegal to get to a barber, some of our most cherished stars managed to grow out their scraggly mustaches and goatees, to forego the hair dye and let the gray shine, to let their locks all the way to their shoulders. 

The pandemic isn’t over, but a big and ever-more-rapidly growing portion of the population is getting vaccinated and returning some semblance of normal life. So as we approach re-entry, and the likely Mass Haircut to come, here’s a toast to all our looks of the socially distant era—and a little prayer that some of them stay with us after we throw away our masks. 

Brad Pitt

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Before last year, there was no telling whether Pitt aging like fine wine was just a product of really talented makeup artists and groomers. Lo and behold, this year gave us proof that he was just born with it, in the form of a deep side part and some salt-and-pepper chin fuzz.

LeBron James

The King took advantage of his down time to add even more length to his robust chinstrap. He must have touched it up a bit at some point between calling himself “Tom Hanks off Castaway” and Zooming into a high school graduation (above), though: you don’t get that clean shape without at least a little trimmer action.

Kyle Chandler

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Courtesy of MoMA

It would appear Coach Taylor’s beard is writing a sports comeback script of its own: an underdog lying dormant for years, during its owner’s most public-facing era, blooms late in the game with the grit and determination. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t shave.

Tiffany Haddish

Ah, the quarantine buzz. Working up the guts (or, in many 2020 cases, the mania) to take the plunge is one thing—nailing the grow-out is a beast of its own. No one did it better than Tiffany Haddish, who handily switched things up at each step, from totally bald through close crop into a platinum blonde phase that amps up the look entirely.

Andy Cohen

An answer to what happens when Bravo royalty gets stuck at home with a kid: a lot of grizzled goodness. Never hurts to bring a little extra wildness to the reality TV landscape.

Pete Wentz

Wentz, already the reigning champion of hair growth, made a left turn with some bleach deep into quarantine and started flaunting an Andre Agassi-level dye job to match his well-publicized fervor for tennis. This length was four years in the making, and bleach’s tendency to wreak havoc on hair makes this the keratin equivalent of cliff diving. High risk, high reward.

Trevor Noah

Like the diligent reporter he is, Noah carefully tracked his growing hair as he zoom-hosted the Daily Show from his living room. The result, as GQ told you in our December Men of the Year isssue, is pretty glorious, helping to mark the dawn of a new, more experimental era for his show—and, of course, for Noah himself.

Chris Pine

Chris Pine’s paparazzi streak in the summer of 2020 lives on as one of the greatest celeb-pap interactions of our time, rocketing him temporarily to the top of the Hollywood Chris power rankings. It happened to coincide with a great scruff period that didn’t hurt his case. Maybe letting one’s hair stretch its legs a little has benefits heretofore unknown.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Another tabloid highlight of this year: Schwarzenegger’s bike rides, which gave us the chance to glimpse that bright gray beard. A little Clooney, a little Letterman, a little Terminator retired to The Villages. 

Danny Brown

Brown’s hair has been gradually growing every which way for the past ten months, culminating in this explosive look. We are in full support.

Jude Law

This year Jude Law’s beard finally caught up with his penchant for hempy coats and drapey pants, rounding out a sublime sort of “apocalyptic hippie” look that takes everything we’ve been feeling this year and elevates it to something edgy and cool. He looks like he’s auditioning for The Lighthouse while dripping Kapital, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Michael B. Jordan

We got to know Jordan as one of the cleanest faces on the red carpet, so seeing him let it all hang out with a mustache so thick it’s practically jumping off his face is major. He even managed to reach enough length to venture into braids. Most of it’s been shorn off by now, but we hope to see that length outside of a pandemic one day. 

Our Quarantine Scruff Is Here to Stay

GQ grooming columnist Phillip Picardi says the long hair, mustaches, and beards of coronavirus quarantine are the start of a bold new era of men’s grooming.

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