Yesterday, on his way to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, President Donald Trump boarded Air Force One with his hair shining blond in the sunlight. Today, he disembarked in Hanoi looking…darker.
Trump’s hair color always has a protean aspect to it; beyond what seems to be a regularly shifting dye job, the puffed and teased mass of it is highly influenced by surrounding lighting conditions. It is difficult to ever be sure exactly what is going on with it. But the difference between its color on departure and on arrival was, if anything, more than night and day.
The darkness of the sides and back might, in theory, have been the result of a touch-up with a wet comb right before he got off the plane. Yet the crest of it, where it floats over his bald dome, had also somehow gone from the pale tone of unbleached flour to a rich, heavy cinnamon.
We zeroed in on C-SPAN footage of the hair as it deplaned in Hanoi. Brilliant overhead lighting just inside the door on Air Force One caused the hair to appear luminously blond, and a moment later, the same hair mass was darker, reddish.
The average images from before and after still do make it look as if something happened to his hair color en route. But the only thing we can be sure about is the underlying reality: out of sight beneath the coif is the president’s bald dome, reflecting the incoming light and making his hair glow from beneath. Under a spotlight, his whole head shines; in darker settings, it saturates his hair-construct with the color of the ambient light. There is no true hue, only the impression of the moment.