Donald Trump’s tax returns are the talk of the internet today — and one expense in particular that he wrote off has been heavily commented upon: the more than $70,000 he paid on haircuts and hairstyling for his infamous head of hair while making The Apprentice.
While there are still a lot of unknowns about the expense in the returns, unearthed by the New York Times in its bombshell report on Sunday, it still seems like a hefty tab for what he’s working with. Even if the $70,000 was over the duration of the series — and, for the sake of argument, we’ll include The Apprentice (2004-2010) and Celebrity Apprentice (2008-2015) — he spent $6,363 a year to style his hair for professional appearances.
And that amount would be in addition to the hairstyling services covered by the production company for the NBC reality show and its celebrity spin-off. It’s no secret: When someone stars on a show, hairstyling and makeup services are provided as part of production costs. The stars aren’t paying each time they get their hair done. Further, if they go from the set to promote the show at an event or on TV, they can get their hair and makeup done or touched up before they go without having to hire and pay someone else to do it. So it sounds like the $70,000 in hairstyling fees are additional fees off the set.
For someone who dropped a whopping $70,000 on his hair for public appearances, Trump is a guy who, historically, got inexpensive haircuts — and reportedly was a DIY guy in many capacities.
For more 30 years, the future president got his trims by the same person: English barber Adrian Wood, who owns the Paul Molé Barber Shop in Manhattan. While today the going rate of Trump’s preferred “gentleman’s cut” is $47, according to the salon, two years ago it was $38, so assume it was even less during the Apprentice days. For comparison’s sake, there are certainly more expensive spots for men’s haircuts in NYC. For instance, at Warren Tricomi Salons, a high-end hairdresser, a barber cut starts at $100, while a men’s cut (that includes a blowout) starts at $165.
And Trump didn’t even demand that his barber come to him — as presumably many stars would. According to Wood, Trump became his customer in the ’70s and continued as his stardom grew. Wood said in a 2018 interview, “He would come in unannounced and have his bodyguards and a limo outside.” Trump even did a photo shoot at the barbershop in 2004 with the Season 1 cast of The Apprentice. It was for People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, and it hangs on the wall of the shop.
About Trump’s hair: Wood told Inside Edition that his client was always very specific about the cut, only allowing him to trim around the edge and never the top, which Trump insisted on trimming himself. He made a point not to let Wood near his bald spot, which he famously combs over.
Meanwhile, Trump’s former hairstylist on the early seasons of The Apprentice, Amy Lasch, has said she thinks he did his coloring himself.
“The color was so inconsistent,” Lasch told the Mirror in 2018. “It was not done correctly. They just colored the top and did not color what was underneath properly. It was someone in his inner circle who was cutting and coloring his hair. His wife or maybe his daughter.”
Trump explained his no-fuss hairstyling to Rolling Stone in detail in 2011, saying, “OK, what I do is, wash it with Head & Shoulders. I don’t dry it, though. I let it dry by itself. It takes about an hour. Then I read papers and things. … I then comb my hair. Yes, I do use a comb. Do I comb it forward? No, I don’t comb it forward. I actually don’t have a bad hairline. When you think about it, it’s not bad. I mean, I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it’s not really a comb-over. It’s sort of a little bit forward and back. I’ve combed it the same way for years. Same thing, every time.”
The New York Times also reported that in Trump’s newly revealed tax filings, an additional $95,464 was paid to a favorite hair and makeup artist of Ivanka Trump, making it a total of more than $165,000 in Trump hair write-offs. There are a lot of rules about deducting these types of expenses if you are an entertainer.
So how does Trump’s hair care expenses compare to other celebrities? Well, let’s not forget what a big deal was made by Republicans over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $250 haircut and color, which was a “treat” for her. She hasn’t forgotten.
Last year Republicans blasted a firehose of hatred + vitriol my way because I treated myself to a $250 cut & lowlights on my birthday.
Where’s the criticism of their idol spending $70k on hairstyling?
Oh, it’s nowhere because they’re spineless, misogynistic hypocrites? Got it. https://t.co/xCQGwW7EK5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 28, 2020
In history, there have been scandals over cuts Democrats have gotten. Let’s not forget John Edwards’s $400 cut, which led to him later becoming a regular at Supercuts. And Bill Clinton made headlines for a $200 haircut in 1993 (though it was actually $150.)
Potential tax scandals aside, it’s interesting to know what the rich and famous pay for these services, as many out there are just scraping by. That’s why there are articles like From Her Tan to Her Booty, We Break Down the Yearly Cost of Looking Like Jennifer Lopez. That story, from Britain’s Sun, speculates that Lopez paid more than $11,000 on haircuts and coloring in 2017 to look as fabulous as she does.
For one very famous celebrity — Britney Spears — we know exactly how much she spends on hair and makeup each year (and everything else in between), due to her conservatorship. In 2010 — within the same time frame as Trump’s — she spent $2,595.80 on makeup and hairstyling. By 2015, that total had increased to $20,000.
A few years back, the whole price breakdown was revealed for what a Bachelor contestant — a nobody until their season debut — spends before they even walk into the bachelor pad. For the ladies, it’s between $1,800 to $8,000 in total, with the hair in the $300 range. And it’s less for the guys, who spend between $300 and $5,300 with a $50 hair bill.
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