new normal for hair salons

The new normal for hair salons

This blog was started to help destroy the stigma around hairdressers.  To help educate clients and give you the tools to be able to get the hair you’ve always dreamed of.  As coronavirus has swept across the globe, hair salons have been shut for months in some countries.  However, opening back up is going to be something that comes with a lot of new rules.  So, let’s take a tour of what will become the new normal for hair salons.

Please note, this blog post is based on my own opinion and experience as a hairdresser.  While salons in the UK have not yet been given government guidelines, or a set date for opening.  These are the rule many salon owners I have spoken to will be implementing.  It is also based on the regulations that are currently in place for the retail sector, and what salons across the globe that have been able to open have put in place.

Appointments

Booking appointments has been something that has been progressively changing over the years, with a lot of salons offering bookings online and via apps.  This doesn’t suit everyone and has been known to come with its problems.  A lot of loyal clients rebook their appointments each visit, but now many have missed at least one due to the lock down. 

With a potential date for reopening set to be the 4th July, some salons have opened up their booking software.  Some will have staff ready to answer the phone in the coming weeks to take appointments.  But unfortunately, for the time being and probably the foreseeable future, popping in to book your appointment will not be feasible.

The back log

Yes, that is a hideously impersonable way to put it, but it is what it is.  Logistically the easiest thing for salons to do is wipe the slate and start again.  Trying to move previous appointments forward first and then opening bookings is just not possible.  Some salons will have a VIP or priority list, made especially for those very loyal clients.  This may seem like favouritism, but simply put, hairdressers know these loyal people will not mess them around.

Stylists value their loyal clientele as they are the people that helped them get to where they are.  If you have a tendency to cancel last minute or not show up for appointments, you will most likely not make the cut.  Due to how busy salons are going to suddenly become, and the restrictions placed on them creating the new normal, they can not afford to have last minute cancellations and no shows more than ever.

Social distancing

Probably set to be the most used phrase of 2020.  Social distancing is vital to be able to slowly return hair salons to a new normal.  This is where it gets tricky being in a business that requires human contact (same applies to beauty salons, tattoo parlours, dentists, physiotherapists and many more).  Your hairdresser has to touch you and break that social distancing rule, but they must still reduce your contact with any other person. 

This means for many salons that they can’t have as many working chairs as they would normally.  Ensuring that you are sat at least 2 metres away from other clients.  As a result of this, less staff will be able to work at any one time.

Opening hours

To allow staff to be able to fulfil their working hours, while having a limited number of team working at any one time, they will have to work split shifts.  You may find your stylist is working some very different hours.  A lot of salons will be open for longer and more days a week to accommodate this.  To reduce travel, stylists may work 12-hour days to get their hours in across fewer days.  Please be aware of this if you are trying to book and find the new hours are challenging for you.  I can assure you it’s a logistical nightmare for them as well!  

Prices

Unfortunately, the new normal for salons comes with a price.  PPE is necessary, and they can not under any circumstances operate without it.  This is a huge additional cost for them.  Having the salon itself open and running for more hours and days obviously comes with a price to them as well.  Stylists will also have to allow additional time for a thorough clean of each working station after every appointment.  As a hairdresser, I’ve seen a lot of debate about this within the industry.  As the situation unfolds people are realising, they simply can’t afford to operate without a price increase. 

Changes to the salon as you know it

Masks

This is where the hair salon starts losing a bit of its magical touch.  Alongside a few other rules we’ll cover, masks will be compulsory for clients and stylists.  Understandably, they are uncomfortable and will make conversation a bit more challenging than usual.  But it is possible to work around them, and you can still see the smile in people’s eyes.

Magazines

Magazines and refreshments will be banished from the new normal in hair salons.  For hygiene reasons, these are not something that can be provided during your visit.  Don’t fret – hopefully this part of the new normal for hair salons won’t be for too long.

Towels

Towels will most likely be replaced with disposable, biodegradable towels.  Standard towels are usually washed after every client.  But not often on a hot wash due to the turn around time, they go on a quick cycle and get tumbled dried.  Unless there’s an incident with head lice.  Then they’re either hot washed or thrown away while the staff grimace and feel itchy for the rest of the day.   

What will stay the same and always will, is your hairdresser will be there to do everything they can to make you look and feel fabulous.  Despite all the changes, you can rest assured your salon will be implementing strict guidelines for clients and staff to ensure everyone’s safety.  If you are uncertain as to why they may have done something – ask them!  Due to the lockdown and everyone being left in the dark for so long, a lot of salons are being very open and very honest.  All they ask in return is for your patience and support during what is a challenging time for everyone.  Until they are given more answers, they can only do what they deem is best for them to be able to deliver you the best service possible.

Hang in there, your roots will be under control again soon.  Personally, I absolutely can’t wait to catch up with my many clients and friends from behind the chair.  And, more importantly, hear what you’ve all been up to in this crazy time.

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