'Shampoo socialist' Hollande mocked for £99,000 hairdressing bill

A Twitter post showing Hollande with a mullet

French president Francois Hollande has been dubbed a 'shampoo socialist' following reports that he pays a barber £99,000 a year.

The news was first reported in satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaîné, which claims that the stylist, named as Olivier B, travels with Hollande on most of his foreign trips.

At nearly £8,500 a month, the hairdresser is paid as much as a government minister, and is also reported to receive a housing allowance and family benefits.

The Élysée Palace has attempted to justify the pay, telling the magazine that the stylist starts work very early and 'redoes the president's hair every morning and as much as needed, for each public statement'.

Hollande's wispy, receding hair has remained mysteriously black over the years, leading to speculation that it's dyed - something the palace refuses to confirm.

Hollande has received the sort of scrutiny of his appearance that's usually confined to women. He was widely teased for wearing a crash helmet on his trips by scooter to visit girlfriend Julie Gayet, for example.

But since the news emerged, the hashtag #CoiffeurGate has been trending on Twitter as users post fanciful pictures of hairstyles they believe might suit the 61-year-old president.

But there's a more serious side to the story. After his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was nicknamed President Bling Bling, Hollande tried to present himself as 'Mr Normal'.

And while he did manage to cut the operational budget of the Elysée Palace by as much as 20%, France's far-right Front National is now trying to paint him as totally disconnected from the French people.

However, politicians can't afford to ignore their hair. Donald Trump's, for example, has been compared with everything from candyfloss to a small rodent, and he's been forced to deny that it's a weave or a wig.

Italy's ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was teased for a hair transplant - although at least he paid for this himself.

However, French presidential hopeful Alain Juppé should have an easier ride than Hollande - he's almost completely bald.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's makeup artist earned more than $8,000 a month.

Much ado about a hairdo, Francois Hollande's 10,000 euros haircut

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