What will the future of hairdressing look like post-lockdown?

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What can you do to support your favourite salon and what will the future of hairdressing look like post-lockdown?

Redken has reported a 950% rise in those searching ‘when will hairdressers reopen’ in the last week alone. However, over 40%* of the 41,000 hair salons in the UK won’t be able to remain closed for much longer as the bills pile up. Some may have to shut permanently.

Lockdown has confirmed that salons are important to both the appearance of our hair and our happiness, as Millie Kendall, Director of the British Beauty Council, explains: ‘not only should hairdressers be considered highly skilled workers, but they are a source of emotional support in times of crisis.’

Many – particularly those who’ve had a botched foray with cutting or colouring their own hair at home – have realised how talented hairdressers are. ‘There’s a real appreciation now that hair cutting and colouring is a professional skill honed over years of training,’ says Catherine Handcock, Publisher of Creative HEAD and Director of the British Beauty Council.

But what can you do to support your favourite salon and what will the future of hairdressing look like?

According to Handcock there will be limited appointments, no waiting area, multiple extra hygiene routines, Perspex screens between each client, face masks for both client and hairdresser. ‘Obviously, this all costs money and so prices will need to rise accordingly – almost three-quarters of salons say they will be charging at least 10% more after lockdown,’ she says, and ‘The best way to support salons will be to understand and accept the price rises.’

‘Lockdown has taught us to value the professional skills of our hairdressers; now we need to accept those skills are worth paying a bit more for.’- Catherine Handcock

Many companies like L’Oréal are reinforcing their support for industry professionals by working collaboratively with industry trade bodies, including the National Hair and Beauty Federation and British Beauty Council. They have produced a ‘Back to Business’ support guide that includes post-confinement operating and hygiene guidelines to support its network of 25,000 salons when planning their reopening.

To keep spirits high, L’Oréal Professionnel launched #PROPOSITIVITY, a campaign spearheaded by Trevor Sorbie MBE, where renowned hairdressing professionals share their stories, advice, and ideas to offer inspiration to support and promote wellbeing among both the hairdressing and client community.

There’s also the issue of recruiting new talent. A study has found that 75% of people were not told about hairdressing as a career option when they were at school (One poll, L’Oréal Professional Products Division 2020). This is impacting the industry, with the National Hair and Beauty Federation reporting young people going into the profession fell by 13 per cent between 2018-193. This will potentially only be heightened by the current crisis.

The answer to this might lie in encouraging those choosing a career to train in hairdressing once this pandemic has passed its peak. ‘This is a fabulous industry and the public could really help young people choosing their career path to look at hairdressing as an option,’ says Millie Kendall.

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Direct those who are curious to the new digital hub The Industry, which is dedicated to smashing decades of stigma surrounding a career in hairdressing and aims to give a true representation of the opportunities available in the industry. The site provides information on the options available to get qualified, highlights training and showcases the different career paths available through practical information and relatable role models to help guide future hairdressers on their path. They are hoping to create a campaign of change to support this creative, valuable industry and encourage new talent to see it as the lucrative, rewarding career path it can be.

Finally, you might be able to purchase a voucher for a future appointment, as around a third of UK salon owners* are offering them to help maintain cash flow. For the rest, it’s a case of waiting patiently until they are told they can re-open. We must do everything we can to ensure that’s the case – not just for our hair, but also for the huge boost salons give it economy; we spend £6.3 billion annually in them.

*Stats are from a Creative HEAD survey of 100 hair professionals conducted May 6 and 7, 2020. 

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