The great undoing of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani

Sonia Haria
·6 min read
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On Thursday evening Trump’s legal advisor Rudy Giuliani, 76, gave a remarkable hour-long press conference. It was noteworthy for two things: the sweeping and unsubstantiated allegations of election corruption, and secondly for the melting hair dye dripping down Giuliani’s cheeks.

Throughout the conference, the flustered former New York mayor wiped away sweat from his forehead and cheeks, and the treacle-brown hair dye in the process. This is likely to be a result of using a spray-in or powder hair colour, which is a liquid or powder that adheres to the hair and scalp to darken its colour - however the product Giuliani used clearly doesn’t stand the heat under bright studio lights. 

xx - Drew Angerer/Getty Images
xx - Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This is a lesson in the power of public image and how a politician can get it so embarrassingly wrong. But he’s not the only one in Trump’s camp that seems to be feeling the heat. Trump himself - built on the image of a deep, chestnut tan and bright, dyed-blonde hair, has undergone a metamorphosis since losing the election. His hair is less blonde and more white, and his skin doesn’t look as tanned as usual

“Trump’s malignant form of narcissism is legendary,” says the behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings. “Highly manipulative, the cult-like, unquestioning, adulation of his followers fed his preoccupation of success, power and the fantasy of beauty. Another trait of malignant narcissism is to be overly concerned about one's appearance and his trademark orange face/sprayed hair comb-over combo represented the mark behind his weak sense of self.  

“Well, now he has been defeated and while he clearly has no intention of going quietly, his appearance seems to indicate otherwise. With his paler hair and face, he no longer has the determination or inclination to maintain his grooming and maintenance regime and this is a big give away, that while he may not have conceded power, there is an element of his character that has already submitted.”  

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As for Giuliani, Hemmings tells the Telegraph: “Seeing the images of Giuliani, with his black hair dye running down his face, reminded me of the final scene in the film ‘Death in Venice’ when a dying and helpless Dirk Bogarde sits on a deck chair on a beach as his own black hair dye pours down his face. While not quite in the same, dramatic or tragic category, it certainly indicates that Giuliani feels equally lost and helpless, profusely sweating with anxiety, having lost the energy to wipe away the dripping colour along with the loss of his perceived integrity, dignity and power melting away simultaneously.”

If dyed hair and a tan is a supposed show of strength and youthfulness, is this great undoing of Trump and Giuliani sending a very public message of defeat? 

Here’s where they’ve gone wrong (and how to get it right)

The hair dye disaster

“We try to steer clear of temporary colour touch ups such as powders that go over the top of the grey hair, as when any perspiration happens or if you’re caught in the rain, they end up dripping down your face,” says Anita Rice, the colourist at London salon Buller & Rice. The hairdresser Luke Hersheson agrees, and thinks it’s either a brown hair rinse that hasn’t been washed out properly, or a root spray that colours perspiration brown. “It shows the extremity of his vanity. It’s a bit like the villains in a Bond film - we're seeing their demise,” he adds. 

From blonde to white

As for Trump, Hersheson believes his bouffant hair is an attempt to cover up thinning hair. “It’s like when you see elderly ladies with a big blow out, teasing and backcombing, to give the illusion of more hair. It’s his attempt to cover up thinning, he probably has very little hair to play with. As for the white hair, it looks like he’s decided to ditch the rinse hair colour he was using and embrace the greys.” For an older gentleman (Trump is 74) the colourist Rice would usually look to blend in greys with a softer approach where you don’t give an opaque coverage. “You just give a slight glisten over the grey hairs. It should have more of a filter effect, and that way you can transition to full grey easily,” she adds.  

The older man tan 

“Having a tan brightens up your complexion so you look healthier, less tired and gives you added confidence,” says the tanning expert James Read. “With all these factors combined it gives you that added strength and power. However the key error of Trump’s tan was that he was using too much of it, as well as wearing a bronzing powder on top. These heavy bronzers don’t suit his skin tone. When using self-tan, applying heavy bronzers over the top is a no-go. His heavily bronzed look reflects his overpowering nature - it’s all or nothing.”  

x - Steve Helber/AP
x - Steve Helber/AP

Read has noticed a huge rise in the number of men wanting to self-tan, and sales have tripled over the last five years - his own James Read Tan H2O Mist is often requested by actors including Ryan Reynolds and the Bodyguard’s Richard Madden. “Self-tan takes focus off fine lines on the face and adds volume and confidence to your skin,” he adds. “However with Trump’s hair going greyer, he has to be careful how he tans. It needs to be stripped back and work with his look - rather than overpower it. His power is slipping away and that’s reflected in his look.”  

To do a man tan properly, Read suggests exfoliating the face 24 hours before tanning. Add moisturiser on your face first before applying your tan - this will add extra hydration and helps the tan to look more even. Using a water tan or bronzing spray mist from the left to the right of the face and the front and back of the neck. Moisturise daily so your skin stays hydrated - and this will help your tan last longer. After 3 days exfoliate so your tan fades evenly and finally - never, ever over-apply it… 

Youthful tweakments for men in their 70s 

“For men in their 70s, the best treatments are those that help remove the ‘sins of the past’,” says the Dr Tijion Esho, an award-winning aesthetic doctor. “For many men of that generation, sunscreens were not used as they are now, and in many circumstances sun-worshipping was favoured over using SPF 50.” However, over time this leads to pigmentation, deep lines and wrinkles and loss of collagen resulting in lax skin.  

Dr Esho recommends full ablative skin resurfacing to help erase all of the above but with downtime several weeks it tends not to be a treatment of choice. An alternative is the Alma Hybrid Laser. “This new device gives a combination of fractional CO2 and pixel laser to give excellent results with only weekend downtime,” and it’s a treatment popular with both men and women. 

“We lose on average one gram of collagen a year from the mid twenties, so at 70 there is significant volume loss leading to further sagging of the skin and face. You can replace volume loss with dermal fillers in key areas in the face, in combination with laser resurfacing. This ‘liquid face lift’ would have a hugely youthful effect on a man in his 70s,” he adds.