For those of us who have not seen our hairdresser since before Christmas, the thought of hair salons reopening next in less that two weeks’ time on April 12 is a cause for celebration and much relief.
Hairdressing salons in England have been closed since January 5, as part of the third national lockdown, but are expected to reopen on April 12, alongside beauty salons, non-essential shops and outdoor dining under stage two of the government roadmap. Mobile hairdressers are included in this new easing measure, as professionals who carry out work in your home.
Hairdressers have been busy contacting the clients whose appointments were cancelled due to lockdown and making sure they are rebooked. Demand is high and it will take time so many of us will have to be patient, as we might not be able to book a slot as soon as we might wish. Indeed, there might be a wait of a few more weeks after than April 12 date.
Robert Eaton, creative director at Russell Eaton Hair Salon in Leeds and Barnsley, says: “We are so close to welcoming clients back to our salons and we can’t wait to help get people’s hair care back on track.”
To make sure you get the most from your first appointment, Robert suggests preparing for it by researching new hair looks, colours and trends, so that you know what is possible before you get back in the salon chair.
“Screen-grab images of haircuts you like as you scroll through Instagram and then book a virtual consultation ahead of your appointment to discuss ideas for your post- lockdown look with your stylist,” he suggests.
Robert also suggests concentrating on getting your hair in really great condition before salons reopen. “Treat your hair to some TLC with a rich hair mask, once or twice a week, to restore moisture and improve the health of your hair. I love Aveda’s Botanical Repair Strengthening Mask, which not only protects the hair but is 100 per cent vegan,” he says.
Step away from the kitchen scissors. “You’ve done so well for such a long time, resisting the temptation of a home haircut. It’s not easy to cut your own hair and I would recommend waiting until you can see your stylist. Don’t worry if you have had a go, your hairdresser has the expertise to fix any DIY disasters.”
You can be creative with your hair in less drastic ways, however. “Trust me, the next few weeks will all be about the Up-Do,” he says. “There are lots of great, easy hairstyles that are perfect for hiding root growth, dodgy DIY haircuts or a box dye disaster. Why not try out a simple, messy bun or play round with braids? Look online for inspiration and tutorials. Large hair accessories and headbands are a great distraction, too.
“If you’re really despairing at your faded hair colour, there are some brilliant professional products that you can buy from salons to bridge the gap until you’re in the chair. Something like Wella Professionals Color Fresh Mask, which is a zero-damage temporary colour-depositing mask that will gently refresh your colour and leave your hair feeling smooth and moisturised. A much better option than a box dye, which can be difficult and costly to correct.”
Don’t forget that hairdressers are already used to working in a Covid-secure manner, and the rules in place when they were open before this lockdown will continue. These guidelines include the following:
Appointments should be limited to take account of social distancing, customers should be asked on arrival if they have had any Covid symptoms and encouraged to use hand sanitiser when entering the salon.
A one-way system should be used where premises are large enough, along with queue management.
Salons can provide hot or cold drinks to clients in disposable cups or bottles. Customers should only remove their mask to consume the drink with staff keeping a distance at that point.
Contactless payments should be encouraged and disposable items should be used where possible.
Bookings should be spaced out to allow for frequent cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of work areas, tools and equipment between clients.
Reusable equipment, including client chairs, treatment beds and tools such as scissors, should be sanitised after each appointment.
Fresh or disposable gowns and clean towels should be used for each customer.
Salon staff should be put in pairs if they have to work within an arm’s length of another staff member for a sustained period of time, to minimise social contact.
Type II face masks should be used by staff, made of protective three-ply construction that prevents large particles from reaching the client or working surfaces.
Customers’ contact details should be recorded for NHS Test and Trace as well as staff shift patterns to identify who was working at the time of any reported case of Covid.
Music should not play at a loud volume. Steps should be taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces.
Good ventilation should be provided by using fans and keeping windows and doors open where possible.
Toilets can stay open and should have clearly visible signs about handwashing plus markings for social distancing, and a limited entry of one in, one out. More frequent cleaning and bin emptying should be carried out in toilets.
Hair salons need the support of their customers more than ever. The British Beauty Council reports that the industry has lost 10 per cent of its salons with many more concerned that they will not be able to survive much longer. Unlike other sectors within hospitality and retail, the personal care sector has not received funding outside of that given to non-essential retail businesses.
Robert Eaton says: “Your stylist will just be so happy to see you, it’s important to remember that you won’t be judged for any hair decision you made in lockdown. It’s been a long road but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’ll be there with our scissors and hairdryers ready to go with no hair shame.”