When will hairdressers open again in the UK? We asked the experts when we’ll next get a trim

As Phoebe Waller Bridge's Fleabag poignantly put, "hair is everything". 
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  • With more home haircut disasters appearing on social media every day, many people are asking when will hairdressers open again in the UK.

    We’re into week 3,577 of lockdown – and some of us are looking rather unrecognisable. Considering that the average woman in the UK will get her hair cut every six to eight weeks and the average man has their hair trimmed every month, there’s likely to be a whole range of overgrown hairstyles out there at the moment.

    MORE: This is the hairdressing service you’re unlikely to be able to have once salons reopen

    But confusion surrounding when hairdressers will open again has led to many people to take things into their own hands – sometimes with success, but other times with disastrous results. But when will hairdressers open again?

    When can hairdressers open in England?

    Social distancing in a hairdressers is near enough impossible, thanks to the intimate nature of the job. So when can we expect to be able to visit our favourite salon?

    Dominic Raab has previously said, “From July 4, at the earliest, we’ll look at other sectors and that will include hospitality, but it will also include personal care and people like hairdressers.” So that’s the earliest it seems that hairdressers will be able to open.

    Will hairdressers open on July 4th?

    Credit: Getty

    Since Dominic Raab’s announcement that hairdressers would be able to open from July 4 at the earliest, big-name salons like Toni & Guy have been quick to reassure clients that they would be opening their doors again.

    Chief executive Nigel Darwin told the Sun that the company had been making plans to reopen for the July date. He said, “For staff, it’s all been about communication whilst being transparent and honest about our plans, and relaying what we do know and don’t.”

    This is a sentiment that has been expressed by many in the industry, as guidelines haven’t been relayed to salons about requirements for PPE and social distancing regulations as of yet.

    Imy is a hairdresser at Michael John London. He says, “We got the announcement that said we could [open again] but not definitely. We don’t know the guidelines, like we don’t know if we can do more than one person at a time – as in between our colour development time we would run between other people – we think that’s going to be a ‘no’.

    “We’ve got visors to wear, we’ve got masks, we’ve got scrubs as well. We’ve just got everything because we don’t know what we’re going to have to wear. It’s so weird because it’s so unknown, we’re just trying to do our best to get things set up for the worst scenario and then we’ll see what they allow.”

    Now with arrangements being made across salons all over the country, it has been reported that Boris Johnson will give hairdressers the go-ahead to reopen on July 4.  On Sunday, health secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News’ Sophie Ridge, “We’re on plan, we will of course be setting out more details of that plan and in the plan it states that on around July 4 we will take further measures if it’s safe to do so.

    “We talk about hospitality and outdoor hospitality in that plan but there are a whole series of other services especially where you need to be physically close to someone to carry it out like a haircut – a lot of the country does need a haircut.”

    What do the experts say about when hairdressers will open again?

    In May, Keith Conniford, CEO of the Hair and Barber Council spoke to woman&home about the plans for hairdressers and barbers to reopen again, confirming that during lockdown there were people making plans to support the industry in preparation for the restrictions being lifted.

    when will hairdressers reopen

    Credit: Getty

    He said, “One of the critical things that businesses need to do is ensure that they feel the health, safety and hygiene of their premises is as safe as possible for [clients] to come in and get their hair done, or whatever service they’re going to have.”

    Keith had previously hoped that the announcement about “non-essential” shops reopening on June 15 would bring forward the reopening date for salons. He told woman&home that a letter was sent out in late May to the secretary of state, signed by all the main beauty organisations asking whether they would change the date from July 4 to June 15 for the hairdressing sector. Unfortunately for salons and those looking to get their hair cut, this didn’t happen and the reopening date remained firmly on July 4, as long as all the guidelines for lifting the lockdown further were met.

    The Guild of Beauty Therapists confirmed their initial position on the subject with a post on Instagram in May as well. They said, “Beauty and hair salon businesses, holistic centres, practice training schools and nail bars including mobile and home-based businesses must remain shut” as “our industry involves touching clients, which makes it impossible to adhere to the 2m social distancing rule. Hence the industry remains in lockdown.”

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    Beauty and hair salon businesses, holistic centres, practical training schools and nail bars, including mobile and home-based businesses must remain shut. . Some of our members have asked if they can return to work following Boris Johnson’s announcement last night, when he said that workers in manufacturing and construction or in businesses where staff could maintain social distancing of 2m and could not work from home could start returning to work this week. Our industry involves touching clients, which makes it impossible to adhere to the 2m social distancing rule. Hence the industry remains in lockdown. . A new COVID-19 alert level model ranks the status of the pandemic into 5 stages, with 5 being the highest. Currently we are alert level 4. The Government will announce plans on how we can start to move down to level 3 later today. Hair and beauty salon businesses, holistic centres, practical training centres, nail bars including home-based and mobile businesses, may have to wait until the alert level drops to 2 before they can re-open. The new model only applies to England. The lockdown has already been extended until May 28th in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where salon businesses must also remain closed. . Further details of the Government’s plans of how the lockdown restrictions will be lifted are expected to be published today. The Guild will provide an analysis of how this will affect our industry shortly, and a more detailed update will be provided. . Stay beautiful inside 💜. . #TheGuildOfBeautyTherapists #LatestIndustryNews #BeautifulInside #borisjohnson #coronavirusupdate #GuildGazette #BeautyTherapist #Hairdresser #NailTech #holisticpractitioner #BeautyTrainer #TradeBody

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    They have since confirmed their position in another Instagram post, suggesting that their members get ready for salons to reopen on July 4 and advising them to seek guidance from their respective UK governments in advance of opening business again to customers.

    When might mobile hairdressers be out of lockdown?

    Of course, if we’re all unable to head to the salon for another couple of months – might we soon be able to bring the salon to us with mobile hairdressers?

    The Freelance Hairdressers Association urged that their hairdressers should not be working under any circumstances until July 4 – including going to clients homes or having them in theirs.

    They said, “It is illegal and you stand to be fined. The Government states that hairdressers cannot work until 4th July at the earliest. If you work not only are you breaking the law, you risk a heavy fine and it could be the end of your career.”

    As they say, it is likely that mobile hairdressers – just like salons – will be unable to cut any hair until 4th July at the earliest.

    What will social distancing in salons look like?

    The founder of London Soho’s SALON64, Ricky Walters has told us what clients at his salon might be able to expect when they return. He said, “We will be taking everyone’s temperatures upon entering the salon with an infrared thermometer to ensure there is not further spread of coronavirus within the salon that will affect our clients and staff.

    “Everything is going disposable! From the gowns our clients wear to the towels we use to dry hair, everything will be single use. Still conscious of our environmental responsibility, we are using eco-friendly bio-degradable towels and gowns that decompose at the same speed as a banana skin (from our favourite eco-brand Scrummi). Even our cups and glassware will all be single use. Still serving up incredible cocktails at the bar as well as delicious coffee, it will all be served in disposable tableware.

    “‘Sneeze Screens’ will protect clients at the front desk upon check in and check out as well as floor to ceiling screens between each section. Clients will be supplied with a face mask to wear along with the team all wearing gloves, branded 64 face masks and 64 shields.

    “We are currently looking into pre-payment options to eliminate unnecessary human interaction when paying at the front desk. We know with our innovation and high standards, we will continue to provide an incredible environment and positive energy even with these new restrictions”.

    While the same standards can’t be assured for every salon as guidelines have yet to be released by the government, it is thought that food and drink will be banned in salons generally, hairdressers will be required to wear masks and conversations will be “kept to a minimum” to reduce the spread of droplets through the air.

    Personal grooming and mental health

    Credit: Getty

    As Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag poignantly put, “hair is everything”.

    “Hair is everything, we wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is,” she defiantly told her hairdresser in the last series of the hit BBC show. And Keith agrees. He told us that while the hair industry is not considered to be a vital service, it has a serious impact on people’s mental wellbeing. “The effect of people not being able to get their hair done has been quite big in terms of people’s mental health,” he told woman&home. “The ‘feel good factor’ because the industry does a good job in terms of what they’re paid do – a haircut etcetera – but what we do beyond that has come into real, heavy focus recently in terms of people coming in, it’s a good atmosphere. People like being there.

    “We’ve also got some barbers doing great work in terms of loneliness, mental health and suicide prevention because people do talk to hairdressers and barbers and for some people, in some places, it’s their only point of contact in the week. So there’s a whole mass of things that the industry are champing at the bit to get back to. But let’s be honest, it’s going to be tough. And it depends when and how because the longer it [the lockdown] goes on, the harder it’s going to be for us and any industry.”

    What are other countries doing?

    Denmark was one of the first countries to go into lockdown and have since become the first to reduce restrictions. Their hairdressers, beauty salons and similar industries resumed service back in the middle of April. Australia was close behind as another country to reopen bigger businesses recently. In early May, shopping centres and hairdressers resumed their service after new infections of the coronavirus were reduced to 0.2%.

    In the Netherlands, businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons re-opened on May 11 while in Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, saw their hairdressers and barbers resume service from June 1 this year.

    Credit: Alamy

    While it may be tempting to look at these countries and use them to determine when hairdressers will be open in the UK, Keith says this isn’t helpful.

    “People are looking to these countries being good or bad in terms of what they feel they’re doing and relating it straight to us. It bears no relevance to what we might be doing, or may not be doing once we’re told.”

    Attempting a DIY haircut: the golden rules

    We asked SALON64’s Ricky Walters about what he suggests for maintaining (or changing) your hairstyle during lockdown. If your hair needs urgent attendance, or you’re just looking for a little lockdown pick-me-up, there’s nothing wrong with giving your hair a light trim. This is Ricky’s advice for cutting your own hair (or someone else’s) if you really can’t wait for the lockdown to lift.

    Find a video for guidance

    “There are huge amounts of videos and tutorials online on how to cut someone’s hair, but my first piece of advice would be to shop around for a video that speaks slowly, clearly and with plenty of detail.”

    Ricky says, “Do not just go for the first video you quite like the look of. The key is in the detail – whether it’s flicking out the clippers when fading men’s hair or the amount of tension in your hands when pulling ladies’ hair down to cut. Details are key.”

    Make a contingency plan

    Ricky says not having a contingency plan this is one of the most common mistakes you can make when cutting someone else’s hair. “Your husband or wife wants three inches off their hair and I cringe as I watch an amateur cut a line at exactly 3 inches with no margin for error.

    “Remember you can always take more off but you can’t put more on.”

    Start from the back

    For some reason everyone like to start at the front, says Ricky. “For me this is the most important area and the place most visible to your client. Try and take less off starting from the back as a little test patch to find your feet and work slowly and methodically following an experts tutorial. [Find someone] who is a professional hairdresser and not an amateur trying to gain followers.”

    Products that Ricky recommends for ensuring your DIY haircut and styling session runs smoothly

    Along with a good amount of confidence, these are the things that Ricky suggests you need before attempting a DIY haircut.