Hairdressers brace for post-lockdown frenzy

Author
Katie Harris,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 May 2020, 8:52PM
Some hairdressers expect to get an influx of customers. (Photo / 123RF)
Some hairdressers expect to get an influx of customers. (Photo / 123RF)

Hairdressers brace for post-lockdown frenzy

Author
Katie Harris,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 May 2020, 8:52PM

New Zealand hairdressers are sharpening their scissors in preparation for a deluge of clients and botched DIY cuts following the lockdown.

Wellington's Miss Fox salon has received a flood of frantic messages from clients with patchy lockdown dye jobs and those who took cutting bangs into their own hands.

Co-owner Loren Svensek said a lot of blonde women had tried to patch up their regrowth during the lockdown period, turning their hair orange at the roots and "blotchy" white blonde at the tips.

"It's fun hearing about those stories but obviously it will be a little more difficult going back into it, but we're excited to get into it. The more colour corrections the better."

The salon already has triple the amount of bookings compared to usual scheduled for the first week they open and she said it will be even busier than Christmas.

"People haven't had their hair done for what, six weeks? If not more if they didn't get in before the lockdown, so your compiling eight weeks of clients into the first two weeks."

Hairdressers across the country are hoping their breath salons will open under alert level 2 and are anticipating what safety protocols they will need to implement in order to open.

On top of regular hygiene protocols, Svensek said they would be opening for longer hours and leaving middle seats empty to space out clients and comply with social distancing rules.

"We've got hand sanitiser already set up and will be checking people aren't coming in when they're sick."

Unlike other countries, where hairdressing was deemed an essential service, New Zealand salons were unable to operate during the lockdown.

The Prime Minister is expected to outline what can and cannot open under level 2 conditions tomorrow, but a decision on whether New Zealand will move out of level 3 will not happen until a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday.

Julian Maloney, of Maloney's Cut and Shave on Victoria St in downtown Auckland, said his team of barbers was looking forward to getting back to work.

He estimated they do 500 or 600 haircuts every week, so a lockdown backlog of 3000 or 4000 shaggy customers was going to be "insane".

"We're really looking forward to opening at Level 2, it's not confirmed, but we're very lucky and grateful to be coming back to a busy industry," said Maloney.

He had spent the lockdown preparing the barbershop for new social distancing rules. Only five of the barbers, out of the team of 10, can work at any one time. With fewer barbers onhand, they'll work seven days a week.

The biggest change for a traditional barbershop will be no waiting in a queue, customers will have to book an appointment like a salon.

Maloney urged customers to be patient and not take matters into their own hands.

"I've seen some shockers in the supermarket. We'd rather cut a Tom Hanks' Castaway look, from long to short, than try to fix a homemade Peaky Blinders look," he said with a laugh, referring to the harsh styles of the popular television show.

While bottle blondes across the nation wallowed in self-pity over darkening roots, some industry leaders are hoping stigma around the profession will be lifted along with the lockdown.

Ara Institute of Canterbury Industry academic manager Katrina Picillo is optimistic that New Zealanders will have a renewed appreciation for the work hairdressers do because of the shutdown.

"In terms of the relatability and communication skills that hairdressers need to have, it's huge."

She said a lot of people don't appreciate that hairdressing is more than skin deep and for many clients, hairdressers are the only people they feel comfortable offloading to.

Although their physical classes had been cancelled, Picillo said the students had been practicing online consultations and had got creative with their practical training - with even dogs and dads being used as hair mannequins.

The Hair and Beauty Training Organisation chief executive told the Epidemic Response Committee yesterday there was a lack of understanding of mental health importance of grooming services.

Kay Nelson said a lot of people see grooming as frivolous but for some it can really help their mental health.

"I don't think any of us understand until it's taken away from us, its a bit like anything you don't know what you've got until it's gone."

She said its all about self-esteem and it really does make people feel better about themselves which is important for their mental health.