Lockdown restrictions have been easing, and in the last week several businesses have reopened their doors, allowing customers to take a few steps back to normality by returning to shops they haven’t been to in months, or even visiting bars and restaurants.

Few things have been anticipated as much as the return of hairdressers and barbers. Many longhaired customers will have been counting the days, while others have long since taken matters into their own hands, with sales of Remington Hair Clippers having trebled all the way back in April. But for hairdressers and barbers themselves, the return, though anticipated, brings with it a number of serious challenges.

small business owners

We’ve mentioned before on this blog, that the lack of franchises is a bonus for people hoping to start their own hairdressing salon. For anyone hoping to challenge in other high street industries, such as coffee shops, cafes, restaurants or even fashion shops, there is always the difficult problem of overcoming big name franchises. But while big international companies can make it hard for local newsagents or independent coffee shops to survive, hairdressers don’t face such a dominant figure; it’s a career path that encourages independently owned businesses, and local success.

Coming out of lockdown, however, this means that individual salons and barber shops are facing all the same challenges that much bigger, more established high street names face. PPI expenses can be high, and although there is guidance on how to use it, and procedures that have to be in place, decisions and responsibilities lie at the feet of small business owners.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWR3CKhTlZY&feature=emb_logo new rules and new challenges

Many of the rules that these small business owners will have to enforce come directly from the government. For hair salons: markings on the floor will show people where to sit, and customers will be encouraged to turn up to their appointment exactly on time rather than congregating in waiting areas. Customers can expect to be seated away from others and side-to-side, with at least one metre (and preferably two) between themselves and other clients. Till points will have perspex screens between customers and cashiers, and doors and windows will be kept open to increase ventilation.

Screens will be used to create a physical barrier between workstations, where possible. Hairdressers must also wear a protective visor, and although you can still have your hair blow dried, there won't be magazines or coffee on offer. Even music must also be turned down low so that people do not end up shouting to one another, which increases the risk of transmitting the virus. Salons will also keep a temporary record of all clients and visitors for 21 days, in case there is a coronavirus outbreak – and anyone with even mild symptoms will be told to stay at home and self-isolate.


Yet despite these obvious choices, hairdressers and barbers will perhaps been keener than most for a return to work. High up on the list of reasons for why people get into hairdressing is a pre-existing passion for it, meaning that when they do, they’re in an environment they enjoy and can be creative in – it’s something they’re qualified in, but also genuinely want to be doing. Hairdressing is considered one of the happiest jobs in the world, and for many workers it isn't just their job, it’s also their craft and their passion; and being able to do it again will be a cause for excitement.

If you think a career in hairdressing or barbering could be in your future, you can watch the South West College Hairdressing and Barbering Webinar on our YouTube page, and find out more about the courses on offer at the South West College website.