I have a couple head bands with cat ears. I had a pair on once and encountered one of our regulars, who gave me such a wide look, and slinked by, and high-tailed it.
It probably is more with new acquaintances. At the shelter, I'm a strange new thing to each new cat. At home, and even the free roaming ones, can become accustomed to my shape, size, and ambiance, and gradually become unthreatened by it.
My locks are much shorted than yours, and not QUITE as out-there. I have stopped using a brush and just use a wide, long, toothed 'styling' comb. But even a pic makes it into a bush. A little hard to see, but you get the idea.
Maybe it's the beard...