It was closing time at Esther Tognozzi’s salon when Britney Spears and her bodyguards showed up at the door.
“I thought she was trying to run away or hide or something, not get a haircut,” said Tognozzi, who let Spears and two guards into her cozy Tarzana studio Friday.
Instead, Spears sat down at one of the stations and asked Tognozzi to shave off her recently brunette-colored locks.
The hairstylist said Saturday that she had advised Spears that “we all have these hormonal things” and cautioned “you might regret it in the morning.”
But Spears grabbed a sideburn trimmer and started shaving her head herself, Tognozzi said, extensions and all.
“I tried to talk her out of it,” said Tognozzi, whose voice was raspy after a day spent fielding media calls from around the world. The stylist said she cleaned up the close shave only after Spears was done.
Spears’ shocking new hairstyle was the latest turn in her well-chronicled struggles since splitting late last year with husband Kevin Federline, the father of her 17- and 5-month-old sons.
The Associated Press said Larry Rudolph, Spears’ manager, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Long a tabloid staple, Spears has provided much fodder in recent weeks, notably for partying with Paris Hilton and reports of sloppy behavior that has drawn criticism even from some die-hard fans.
Friday night, after one of her bodyguards paid $50 cash for the $45 haircut, Spears got two new tattoos as a walk-in client at Body and Soul in Sherman Oaks.
Angelique Uram, a Spears fan who stood on the tattoo parlor’s sidewalk for Friday night’s spectacle, was aghast at the singer’s new look.
“We could see her in the mirror, and her head is completely shaved,” she told KABC-TV Channel 7. “It looks terrible.”
Police arrived to control the crowd and helped Spears’ bodyguards guide her into a waiting SUV, her head covered by a hooded sweatshirt.
At Esther’s Haircutting Studio late Saturday, the proprietor said Spears had been emotionless as the hair came off.
Once the deed was done, Tognozzi said, Spears looked in the mirror, teary-eyed, and said, “Oh, my God, my mom is going to be so upset at me.”
J.T. Tognozzi, the hairstylist’s husband, said they planned to either sell the shorn hair on EBay or give it to a charitable organization, possibly even Spears’ own.
Although the couple said they still had not made up their minds, Saturday evening a Pennsylvania-based EBay seller claimed to have “Britney Spears Hair Several LOTS available DNA.” The “Buy It Now” was $50.
J.T. Tognozzi called them scam artists.
Times staff writer Megan Garvey and the Associated Press contributed to this report.