How Trump’s Hair Works

A visual guide according to one operating theory


With its overwhelming accumulation of WTF moments, Michael Wolff”s Fire and Fury has dominated the national discourse since it was rushed into bookstores last week. But beyond the dysfunction, backbiting, and general chaos it describes, one passage seems utterly believable, no matter how many times POTUS tweets about the fake newsiness of it all. That passage can be found on page 79, in which Wolff describes the relationship between Donald and Ivanka Trump. “She treated her father with a degree of detachment, even irony, going so far as to make fun of his comb-over to others,” writes Wolff. “She often described the mechanics behind it to friends.” So what’s the secret? Read on.

1. An absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front

What we know: In the May 2016 article “Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation,” the now-shuttered media and gossip site claimed the the folliculo-nimbus cloud surrounding the president’s head was the result of “microcylinder intervention.” The article prompted a complaint from Hulk Hogan’s lawyer, citing “nineteen false and defamatory statements,” and — if Wolff (and Ivanka) is to be believed — Hogan’s camp may have been right. In fact, microcylinder intervention sounds far less medieval and invasive than scalp reduction, which involves stretching flaps of hair-bearing scalp up over the top of the skull and then sewing it all together like an old sock with a hole in the toe. The procedure was popular in the Eighties but is now mostly used to treat severe burn victims. Trump has always claimed the hair we see is his own, and with scalp reduction surgery that may in fact be true. Plausible deniability for the win!

2. “All ends are drawn up to meet in the center…

What we know: The problem with this alleged procedure was that it left that “contained island” of bare scalp, which still called for a comb-over. According to Wolff’s theory, Donald would gather up the fringe surrounding his bald spot, as if he was going to put it in a high pony.

3. …and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray.

What we know: The structural dynamics of Trump’s coif have long baffled observers, but according to a 2011 interview the president gave to Rolling Stone, he whips it into its final, frothy form with a comb, after having let it air-dry:

Do I comb it forward? No, I don’t comb it forward.” He pushes the leading edge of the flying wing of his hair back, to show where the hairline is. “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.

(It’s a comb-over.)

4. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got.

What we know: The color of the presidential pompadour has been likened to everything from patriotic “amber waves of grain” to “an Aperol spritz aperitif.” According to Ivanka, though, it’s regular, old Just for Men.

5. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.

What we know: Trump? Impatient? Fake news!