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For back-to-school haircuts, celebs inspire but mom still rules

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The aptly named Harry Styles of the band One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are inspiring many a back-to-school hairdo.

The buzz of back-to-school across the country comes with the buzz of razors and the clip of scissors, as kids get new hair looks for the new year.

So what styles are kids sporting this fall? Think teen idol inspirations, from Justin Bieber to Taylor Swift to the hunky dudes from One Direction, says Nick Stenson, jcpenney salon's artistic creative director.

jcpenney salons have given more than 1.5 million free haircuts during the month of August, as part of a back-to-school promotion.

“It’s funny because women have always come into a salon with a picture of a celebrity that they are inspired by. Kids have caught on to that,” says Stenson.  “They are picking teen idols they want to look like. Younger and younger the trends are starting.”

Stenson says that grade school boys are going for the tousled, just-out-of-bed style that One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles has – Stenson calls it a “messy, unkempt urban look”  – or they want to copy Bieber’s latest, more mature look. "Rebel" kids are still interested in the faux-hawx that was popular last year. For girls, long hair is in and many are requesting bangs similar to crooner Swift. The feather, which caused anguish to many fly fishermen last year, has gone by the wayside in favor of clip-in colored locks of hair.

While kids make their requests, Stenson says that moms usually dictate the hair do’s and don’ts. “There’s always still a battle between moms and kids. Boys will say they want their hair long, but then you have the mom saying, ‘You can’t see and you look shaggy – you need to trim it up.'”

Caught in the middle? Stenson says it’s the role of the stylist to be “the rational one of the group.”

“You get the pros and the cons and find the happy medium. The parent is the one we want to patronize the salon again and again, but you don’t want miserable kids. Sometimes it’s much easier to get the child to cooperate with the stylist and not with mom.”

Stenson says his favorite story from the month of free jcpenney haircuts was when a family of five boys came in with their mom. Each kid was a little bit bigger than the next, and when the stylist asked if they had an idea of what they wanted, each boy produced a piece of paper with the look he wanted. “They were very prepared,” says Stenson.

When asked to share her daughter’s back-to-school hair cut inspiration, TODAY Mom Facebook reader Jenny Hurt Williams said:

“My daughter had asked for her head shaved on one side and long on the other side…she is 6 and was inspired by one of the contestants on The Voice.”

TODAY Mom Kristi Knox said her 9-year-old son had been wearing longer hair, but this year decided it was time for a change. He “decided he needed a new ‘do like David Beckham, just in time for soccer season.”

For the son of Nancy Gianni Gutierrez, the back-to-school cut was a little less successful. She shared on Facebook:

“My mother decided to cut my son’s hair – her inspiration came from him brushing his hair out of his eyes – and now he kind of looks like Lloyd from ‘Dumb and Dumber.’"

For Traci Born’s 10-year-old son, his decision to shave his head entirely was an act of solidarity. Says Born: 

“When I asked if he was sure, he told me he wants to shave his hair because it’s his way of supporting his brother who… lost his hair many times because of chemo. While his brother has hair (and a new lease on life), I now have a compassionate 10 year old bald son and I could not be more proud.”

According to the National Retail Federation, the average family will spend more than $688 to stock their students with school supplies for a new year. TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew shares her secrets on how to reduce that cost dramatically.

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