Will hairdressers close in new lockdown? The latest updates across the UK

We bring you the latest government updates, wherever you are in the UK, and what they mean for hair salons

woman colouring hair at salon
(Image credit: Brandon Colbert Photography via Getty Images)

As restrictions seem to change on a daily basis, the beauty industry has had to shut up shop several times in the last 12 months. Can hairdressers stay open in lockdown this time around? Here's how the new guidelines affect your area. 

With new lockdowns implemented across the country this week, many of us are wondering (among other things) when we'll next be able to pop into a hairdressers for a long overdue trim. Below we answer your burning questions about hairdressers, wherever you are in the UK.

Can hairdressers open in England?

No. On Monday the Prime Minister announced that England would go into a third national lockdown from midnight, meaning all non-essential retail and personal care services, including hairdressers, must close. The restrictions will be reviewed in mid-February, although it remains to be seen what will change then – if anything.

Can mobile hairdressers work in local lockdown?

No. All personal care services, including mobile hairdressers, barbers and beauty therapists, must close under the current lockdown rules. This applies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Are hairdressers open in Scotland?

No. On Monday 4th January First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that mainland Scotland would go into a national lockdown from midnight until at least the end of January. This means that all personal care services, including hairdressers, must remain closed until then. Mobile hairdressers and barbers are also not permitted to work.

Are hairdressers open in Wales?

No. The whole of Wales has been placed under level four restrictions, similar to England's tier 4, meaning that all non-essential retail, personal care services and gyms are closed. This was due to come into effect on the 28th December, but was brought forward to the 20th in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases. 

Are hairdressers open in Northern Ireland?

No. Northern Ireland is currently under a six-week lockdown that started on 26th December, under which all beauty services must remain closed. This is currently due to end in the first week of February, though the situation is likely to be reviewed before then.

What happened before Lockdown 3?

At the end of 2020 before it was confirmed hairdressers would be open from tiers 1-3 in England, beauty booking services Treatwell and Urban warned of the impact to the industry if salons are unable to open at the start of December.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, they outlined that 10% of the beauty industry has already gone out of business due to the pandemic, a figure that could jump to 30% if workers cannot take advantage of the all-important Christmas period.

The letter, signed by more than 500 members of the beauty industry, stresses the devastating potential impact on 370,000 jobs and 50,000 businesses across the country, and that tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost – 94% of these by women.

"Hair, beauty and wellness cannot survive another last minute U-turn from the Government," reads a statement from Treatwell COO Giorgia Rossi and Urban CEO Jack Tang. "We are seeking urgent clarity and reassurance that businesses will be able to open on 3rd December. Let’s come together to bring back hair, beauty and wellness and prevent it from getting left behind again."

when will hairdressers reopen

In May, Keith Conniford, CEO of theHair and Barber Council spoke to Woman & Home about the plans for hairdressers and barbers to open when the first lockdown ended. He confirmed that, during the initial lockdown, there were people making plans to support the industry in preparation for the restrictions being lifted.

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."

The Guild of Beauty Therapists also confirmed their initial position on the subject with a post on Instagram in May. 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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How does social distancing work in hair salons?

Ahead of hairdressers reopening in July, founder of London Soho's SALON64 Ricky Walters has told us what clients could expect when they returned to the salon. "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," he confirmed. 

"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”.

It's likely that, should hairdressers reopen in December, we'll see a return to similar safety measures that were seen in July.

At home haircut: the golden rules for a DIY trim

 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. If you really can't wait for the lockdown to lift, We asked SALON64's Ricky Walters for his top tips for maintaining (or changing) your style...

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.

Anself Pintail Comb

Anself Pintail Comb, £2.59

Combs play an important role in cutting hair. They help to divide it into sections and guide the scissors when making the cut.

Haryali London Professional 6" Hairdressing Scissors

Haryali London Professional 6" Hairdressing Scissors, £7.50

Easily the most essential tool for cutting hair. You can buy hairdressers' scissors in a huge variety of styles and colours - but we went for these basic ones that are easy to use, from Amazon.

CLOUD NINE The Curling Wand

CLOUD NINE The Curling Wand, £109

As recommended by Ricky Walters of SALON64, this CLOUD NINE curling wand will help you style your hair in whatever way you like.

ghd original IV hair straightener

ghd original IV hair straightener, £109

One of ghd's most popular products, these straightening tongs might not be the cheapest, but they're some of the most reliable around.

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Treatment

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Treatment, £24

Designed to give your hair a new lease of life, this hair mask from Avon will help moisturise and repair damaged hair.

Here's hoping we don't have to endure at-home cuts for much longer!