Hair salons will reopen their doors, all being well, on April 12, as part of the government’s planned easing of restrictions over the coming months, depending on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants.
Louise Howard-Long, owner of Architect Hair Salon in Headingley, Leeds, said: “We’re all thrilled. It’s great that we have a date to aim at and a guarantee of at least a week’s notice for an absolute go-ahead. Ideally, I want to be at work, my team wants to be at work and our clients want to get their hair done, but if it means that this is the last time we’ll ever do this, we are happy to wait.
“We now need to hear from government as to how they are going to help our industry with VAT cuts and support packages that will allow us to go forward and expand with confidence.”
When hairdressers were open during the tier system they had to operate in a Covid-secure manner and it is likely that these rules will be reinstated when barbers and salons reopen, with safety measures including staff wearing face shields and masks, plastic screens in place, reduced appointments, no drinks offered and increased hygiene rules for both staff and clients, including hand sanitising and wiping down chairs, equipment and surfaces.
Louise said: “As far as preparation goes we’ll be working backwards from April 12, making sure that the salon is immaculate and the team is ready for the big day. We have the problem of every single client wanting to be in on April 12, so we need to be extra sensitive to our clients needs.
“I feel that clients will still want to feel that we are absolutely on top of our covid safety, so once again we’ll be reassessing our client journey making sure that we maintain the expected standard of luxury whilst keeping everyone safe.
“When rebooking clients, our first calls will be to all the clients that had their appointments cancelled due to the lockdown to get them rebooked, then we’ll be booking all of the clients that have prepaid vouchers. We’re advising clients to email rather than call – so that we can make allocation of appointments fair. For new clients we are offering online consultations beforehand, however, we will still need to see them for a patch test. It’s a gargantuan task.”
Being looked after and chatting with someone outside your bubble is in itself a marvellous tonic, says Louise. “Our clients will be looking at lots of blonde - we are heading into summer - balayage top-ups, highlights and creative blonde techniques. There will be lots of grey management in the form of root re-touches, but also conversions for those who have decided to embrace their grey. Lockdown allows people to rethink a lot of things including their hair, so there will be lots of big changes which for us as a creative salon is fun and exciting.”
Robert Eaton, creative director of Russell Eaton salons in Leeds and Barnsley, said he was keeping everything crossed that the numbers continue to improve and that this marks the end of lockdowns.
“Since the announcement, we have been inundated with calls, emails and messages from clients who can’t wait to visit us and we have already begun working our way through our list and confirming appointments. Lockdown has once again reinforced how much we all love our jobs and everything that hairdressing offers.
“The safety of clients and salon staff will still be a huge priority after lockdown, so social distancing will still be in place and clients will have to wear masks when visiting their salon. Stylists will also be wearing face coverings, in most cases visors, and PPE that will be disposed of after each client.”
In terms of pre-booking, most salons will already have a long waiting list of eager clients, Robert says. “My advice is to follow your salon online or on social and check what their pre-booking policy is – most salons are contacting clients directly to arrange appointments.
“I’m expecting to be working on a lot of root regrowth, and also correcting the odd DIY hair colour. We are seeing a real trend towards clients embracing their greys, so rather than covering them up, we can blend or highlight these gorgeous tones with conscious hair colour placement.”
In Thirsk, Emma Simmons of Salon 54 said there was a feeling of relief at the announcement. “It’s exciting having a date to work towards although there’s still some apprehension and uncertainty as we won’t know for definite if we can reopen on April 12 until the week before.
“It’s fantastic to think that we are going to see clients again in a matter of weeks and we will be doing everything in our power to keep everyone safe when we reopen, but we’re hopeful that with the gradual relaxing and the vaccine roll-out this could be the last of the lockdowns with a bit of luck.
She added that salon owners are now facing the mammoth task of pre-booking hundreds of clients. “Like us, many will want to make sure they have their staff rotas and salon hours adjusted to accommodate any restrictions or government guidance before we actually start calling clients to book.
“Many will prioritise those that had bookings during lockdown and lots of salons have created priority lists on their websites for clients to add their details to. So a good idea would be to go take a look at your salon’s site and get your details added or send a quick email with your contact number. Once they’re ready, salons will contact the clients on their priority lists to pre-book, and then open up their book to everyone else.”
Emma added that she was looking forward to summer hair. “After months of lived in colour I think we are going to see things brighten up a little, with some playful pops of colour. Colour blocking as it’s known - small panels of contrasting colour - is going to become a popular trend this spring and summer. And after putting up with shaggy locks for months we are going to see a lot more edgy pixie crops, tight and structured at the outline with soft texture internally to keep that flexibility.”
Meanwhile, at Room 97 Creative with salons in Wakefield and Leeds, Marcello Moccia said: “We’re delighted to have a potential reopening date . As creatives, we’ve found lockdown particularly hard. Hairdressers are a social bunch and we love seeing our clients. I think the past 12 months has taught us the value of getting your hair done - a visit to the salon not only means you leave with a great new hair cut or colour, but it’s an opportunity to escape from everyday worries - it’s important for your wellbeing and mental health. It’s a chance to catch up with people, have a good old chat and be pampered. Feeling great is as important as looking great. “Our waiting list is open and we will be contacting clients to make their appointment. The team is getting the salon ready - we have plenty of PPE, station spacing in the salon, hand sanitisers and disposable towels. Our phones have already been ringing and we can’t wait to see everyone.
“After months of waiting, plenty of people will be wanting to go for a change - it’s the perfect opportunity to get something new for the summer. We expect those first appointments to take a little longer as we hold consultations with all our clients and work our magic.
“Face-framing colour has been gaining popularity for a few months – and looks to be exploding in 2021. The perfect seasonal update to balayage or highlights, the nicknamed Money Piece, gives long and shorter hair an instant uplift and is ideal for all hair types and tones. It’s totally bespoke and you can go as strong or as subtle as you want.
“Beckie Eaton, colourist at Room 97 Creative, Leeds, says it’s the perfect personalised service for everyone. “The Money Piece is a section of hair around the hairline that lifts your complexion, highlights your eyes and makes your hair colour pop. It’s striking but subtle, and gives your hair a luxurious and expensive finish. It also gives your hair a sun-kissed feel – just what we need when we can’t go away on holiday.
“It’s a favourite with celebrities such as Beyonce, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid and is set to be one of the key colour trends for 2021. First made popular in the ‘90s, this modern version adds dimension to hair, is seamless and easy to look after.
“The Money Piece is a great way to bring some lighter colour into your hair, can be bold and different in tone, or subtle and lighter than your usual colour. It’s easy to look after and is ideal on blondes with honey or caramel tones, while warm browns and chocolate hues look great on brunettes. The finish leaves hair looking luxe and lustrous,” says Beckie, adding that this low-maintenance colour look requires minimum upkeep – a purple shampoo for blondes to avoid brassiness and a colour shampoo for brunettes to prevent fading.