What Your Hair Appointment Will Look Like Post-Lockdown
When the government announced a tentative date of 4 July for hair salons in lockdown Britain to reopen, it had already become clear that, when the day comes, appointments won’t operate in the same way they used to. David Mallett, whose eponymous salon in Paris offers an insight into what we can expect when UK salons reopen for business, now takes appointments six and a half days a week (from 8am to 8pm on full days), having carried out extensive work to the salon itself in accordance with social distancing rules.
“We’ve installed protective barriers to ensure the safety of our clients,” explains Mallett, who says the salon has been inundated with requests for appointments from customers emerging from weeks of lockdown – including many pleading for DIY haircuts and dye jobs to be fixed. “We had to measure every square metre of the space as it’s now required by law, plus we can only use one chair in every two. Since the salon is in a centuries-old hotel we luckily have sufficient space. We provide our clients with masks and ask them to arrive unaccompanied, not to eat or drink in the salon and we do not serve beverages at the moment,” he says, adding: “We must try our best to follow the French deconfinement laws to the letter.” Accordingly, staff wear masks and eye and clothing protection during every styling session.
In the Netherlands, hair appointment bookings increased by 4,500 per cent when the Dutch government confirmed beauty and hair businesses were allowed to reopen. Hairstylists in the UK are now bracing themselves to cope with a similar influx when they can finally get back to work. L’Oréal, one of the biggest players in the hair market, has announced a “back to business” guide to help support its network of 25,000 salons adapt as lockdown eases. From offering hygiene guidelines to supplying salons with over 100,000 hand sanitisers, it has also partnered with two industry trade bodies, the National Hair & Beauty Federation and the British Beauty Council, to help support salons during the reopening process.
Adam Reed opened his first solo salon, Adam Reed London, just four weeks before the lockdown restrictions were put in place. What should have been an exciting time descended into deflation and frustration. “All the hard work in the lead up to the opening was now pretty much redundant overnight, and the fear of not knowing what was going to happen was crushing,” says Reed. “But health and hygiene has always been number one, so we’re already set up and ready [for post-lockdown]. Initially, says Reed, ”we’ll be cashless, won’t be able to offer magazines or drinks, and there will be no walk-in appointments for a while”. Logistics aside, there’s also the issue of safety fears on the part of hairstylists themselves. “Because our work is on a one-to-one basis with a client, there’s a fear amongst hairdressers that we will catch Covid or pass it on. If this happens, it means salons being closed again,” explains Reed.
Here’s everything you need to know before your first post-lockdown hair appointment.
Your hairstylist will wear protective gear
Both Clarke and Reed’s salons will provide staff with equipment necessary to protect both clients and staff. “We’re going to make sure each member of the team wears a mask and a face shield while they’re working,” explains Clarke. Reed’s team will wear masks, face visors, gloves and a plastic apron – they’ll change daily and only wear the gear in the salon.
You’ll also be wearing a mask to your next appointment
Clarke explains that “hygiene is of the utmost importance, so every section will be disinfected before and after every client, who will have to wash their hands as soon as they enter the salon. If they don’t have a mask we will supply them with one.” Reed will be sending out the salon’s protocol to clients, and will ask that they arrive with their own mask. “We’ll also be using a fringe-cutting mask which will sit just above the client’s eyebrows so their face is protected, but will also allow our stylists to be able to trim fringes.”
You might not be able to book in for all services
According to Clarke, “some salons in the US aren’t offering blow dries, but we’ll decide closer to the time if we will or not. Colour changes are going to have to be put on hold as they can take up to five hours – clients can’t be in the salon for that long, to allow others to be able to book the services they need.” Initially, Reed will offer what he calls “maintenance” services to maximise the number of people he and his team can see, while allowing as many clients as possible to get the hair appointments they really need.
You might be able to book a hair appointment in advance of the reopening date
Clarke has already taken bookings for colour, but it’s cutting services that are most in demand. Reed is waiting until the government confirms an opening date before taking bookings, so that he can organise a fair shift pattern for stylists. He is hoping to start taking bookings a week before reopening, he says.
You’ll be meeting your stylist on Zoom
Reed and his staff will be offering virtual consultations to new clients the day before they are due to visit the salon. This will allow them to be able to extensively discuss colour and cut changes, without the time restrictions that would apply in the salon.
Salons will be opening for longer
To cope with demand – and because there will be fewer chairs and staff – salon opening hours will be longer. “There’ll be less appointments and less clients in a day, so we’ll be working longer hours and more days to cope with the demand,” says Clarke. “We’ve been working out rotas for our staff as we can’t all be in the building at the same time, and will be implementing social distancing by moving chairs so we can work at every other station.” Reed is splitting his team into two groups that will work alternate days from 7am to 7pm.
NHS frontline staff may be offered free appointments
“We want to have a dedicated evening or allow for one member of the team to see a key worker a day, so we can offer NHS staff free cut and colour services as a thank you,” says Clarke. Reed had already been offering NHS staff free hair washing and blow dries after their shifts before lockdown was put in place, and will continue to offer the service when his salon reopens. “We found that it was a simple way to make them feel a little better – that human touch at the backwash meant so much, so we want to offer that again, along with some cutting appointments.”