For those of us with outgrown roots and do-it-yourself cuts, hairdressers and barber shops just can’t open soon enough.
But when can you expect your hair or beauty salon to start welcoming clients again, and just how different will appointments be in the future?
We spoke to Helen Swiggs, the owner and stylist at XL Hairdressing in St Austell – and she told us what you can expect from the future of hairdressing.
Helen, 55, has been working at her salon on Clifden Road for almost 20 years and has seen a fair amount of change in the industry.
But if there is one thing she never expected would happen during her time as a business owner – it was closing down to the public for months.
Now she is making changes to the premises and the ways in which her stylists will work, as the business gears up to open in a completely different way than ever seen before.
There is no clear guidance at the moment for hairdressers from the Government and the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) on when salons can begin reopening to the public, but it is hoped that it will be sometime in July.
Hilary Hall, NHBF chief executive said: “We are asking the government to urgently complete the development of the guidelines and release them as soon as possible so business owners know exactly what is required of them to reopen and operate safely.”
Clients need to be on time for appointments so that the salon can plan the day and keep the minimum amount of people in the salon at any given time.
“What we have got on order is a screen to go at the reception desk, hand sanitiser will be here at all times,” Helen says. “And I’ve got lots of stickers and signs to say to people to use hand sanitiser and we will have strips on the floor for people to show that somebody can enter the salon – but one at a time.”
It is still unclear how social distancing can work for salons and barbershops and what PPE will be required but Helen Swiggs has started preparations and will personally be asking that both parties wear a mask. Her salon will be providing them if clients cannot bring their own.
“We will be socially distancing as much as we can in our profession, which is really difficult,” she said.
“But we do have to spread people out and we won’t be able to fit as many people in as normal and fit one client around another one.”
Ordinarily there would be three stylists working at a time in XL Hairdressing but moving forward there will only be two and only one stylist per client at any given time.
“That gives us a really good safe distance away from each other,” she said. “We will be staggering appointments and having a gap in between clients so that we have time to clean and sanitise everything.”
She says another problem they are expecting to encounter will be that clients are not going to be having their “usual trim”.
When they first open she is expecting there to be a catch-up process meaning ordinary appointments are likely to be longer than usual.
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One of the staples of your hairdressing appointment is probably the constant supply of hot drinks and reading material.
All of the magazines, books and children’s toys usually available in Helen’s salon have already been taken away.
They will also not be offering tea, coffee or soft drinks to clients so they are encouraged to bring their own and take it away again with them.
Salons will also be unlikely to take your coat or jacket from you so that is something to bare in mind.
Helen says that ordinarily groups of people – friends and family – could come in to be with a client during their appointment – something that understandably no one will be able to do now.
She says another concern is how exactly masks will affect interaction between the stylist and client.
“Going back to work is going to be lovely,” she says. “I think we are all excited about going back to work and also seeing clients again that we haven’t seen for ages.
“It is going to be different, we are going to have to stagger lunch breaks and coffee breaks for the staff and we are going to be wearing masks which can be difficult.”
She added: “Some clients could be hard of hearing and they could be elderly and a lot of the times its nice to lip read through the mirror and just to see someone smile and laugh.
With many small businesses out of action for some time there is no telling just how affected they might be moving forward.
Helen says she is aware that with the rise in unemployment, people might not be able to afford to get their hair done like they normally would.
“We all have fears of the unknown,” she said. “Hopefully the figures stay down and we can get back to normal as soon as possible.
“We just have to do our best to keep ourselves safe and also our clients. We have to stay positive because we work so closely with the public.
A recent survey of 1600 NHBF Members has shown that over three quarters (77%) feel “very well-prepared” or “as well-prepared as they could be” for reopening when it is safe to do so.
For Zeb Luke Gethen, owner of Zebrafinch salon in Falmouth, not much will change in the way of day-to-day-working.
He said: “Once I reopen, appointments won’t change too much – I work alone in the salon, so it will be just me present.
“Like the rest of the hairdressing community, I am anticipating that my first day back will be 4th July, so I have been working hard in advance of that to make sure that the salon is ready and safe for my clients.
“I had already planned a refurbishment of the salon so have taken this time to really work on making sure that it is a relaxing, comfortable and peaceful space, while making sure that the interior layout adheres to social distancing guidelines to keep my clients safe.”
Post time: Jun-30-2020