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.

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    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. People cutting their own hair has become such a trend in the last few weeks that hairdressers across the country have been urging people to put the scissors down, and wait until the lockdown is over to see their hairdresser. But when will hairdressers open again?

    When will hairdressers open again in the UK?

    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. However, the announcement  from the Prime Minister on Monday [May 25] that “all non-essential” shops can reopen from June 15 has suggested this could happen sooner, if safety guidelines can be followed successfully.

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

    Earlier in May Dominic Raab said, “I just don’t think we are ready yet, given where we are with the virus. There are three steps, there’s the modest changes we are announcing which will take effect from Wednesday [May 13]. There’s the other changes for things like non-essential retail, and people going back to school, particularly primary school, which won’t start until the earliest on June 1 – subject to conditions.”

    Keith Conniford is the CEO of the Hair and Barber Council. He spoke to woman&home and confirmed that there are people making plans to support the industry when the lockdown is eased eventually.

    when will hairdressers reopen

    Credit: Getty

    “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 them to come in and get their hair done, or whatever service they’re going to have.

    Keith has said that the most recent announcement puts “a question mark” over the July 4 date for reopening salons. He told woman&home that a letter was sent out today [May 26] 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.

    He said, “Having spoken to a lot of practitioners – hairdressers and barbers – they’ve said that if they could open on June 15 that would be wonderful. So the only update [on when hairdressers can reopen] is that this letter has gone in today and we’re expecting a reply. From that, we might be able to move the date forward for hairdressers [to open again] from July 4 to June 15 but I can’t confirm any of that because the letter has only gone in today.

    “As an industry, we’ll take as many precautions as we can and do as much as we can to protect staff and customers but we still have to be able to trade and make the business profitable. But we are ready to open on June 15 if indeed we are allowed to do so, if not then it will be July 4 as previously stated.”

    The Guild of Beauty Therapists confirmed their position on the subject with a post on Instagram earlier this month. They’ve 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.”

    View this post on Instagram

    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

    A post shared by The Guild Of Beauty Therapists (@beautyguildofficial) on

    When might mobile hairdressers resume work?

    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 4th July – 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.

    Which hairdressing salons are opening on July 4?

    With the confirmation from Dominic Raab that hairdressers could reopen from July at the earliest, many salons – including Toni & Guy and Regis – have announced plans to do so.

    The chief executive of Toni & Guy, 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.”

    He added that the salons would look at little different than they did before the lockdown, “We will have a period where magazines are removed from salons, and we will be offering a less extensive selection of refreshments.

    “Our professional standards were of course already high – but we have revisited all our protocols to ensure they are ready and appropriate for this new time.”

    Regis Salons chief executive, Jackie Lang followed suit and confirmed to the Sun, “We’re planning for reopening on July 4,

    “Over the last four to six weeks we’ve been working on the practicalities of what safety in salons is going to look like.”

    She also added that changes would be made to the salons to comply with social distancing regulations, including closing the waiting areas and installing perspex screens between customers and staff.

    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 today [11 May] while in Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, will see 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 spoke to founder of London salon SALON64, 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.