Coronavirus: Hairdressers in Wales open to fix lockdown mistakes
Hairstylists say they are ready to fix DIY lockdown hairdressing disasters when salons and barber shops reopen in Wales on Monday.
People in Wales can get their first professional haircut since the coronavirus lockdown began in March in the latest easing of restrictions.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in Wales are allowed to start serving customers outdoors from Monday.
One stylist said he was "prepared for whatever comes our way".
An estimated 15,000 people work in hair and beauty businesses in Wales - with the sector contributing up to £237m to the economy - and hairdressers reopening in Wales will be followed by beauty salons on 27 July.
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Although the organisation that represents the hair and beauty industry is happy one part of the sector is reopening, it is "disappointed" that beauty salons "will have to wait" another two weeks.
"We have always recommended that hair and beauty open at the same time," said a National Hair and Beauty Federation statement.
"From talking to our hair and barber members they are keen to reopen and are thoroughly prepared to greet clients, and look after staff, in a safe and controlled space."
But while hairdressers and barbers, including mobile stylists, are ready to reopen, the normal trip to the salon will be very different, with strict safety measures in place.
Treatments will be by appointment only and stylists will have to wear personal protective equipment and face visors.
Ken Picton, president of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, said more than 1,000 people had booked into his Cardiff Bay salon, with even more on the waiting list.
"We are excited to get back, but I think the Welsh public are super excited to see us back, which is really nice to see after 16 weeks," the Cardiff-based hairstylist told BBC Radio Wales.
'Pick your style before coming in'
With barbers and salons closed since the start of restrictions in late March, some people have taken matters into their own hands - and let partners or children have a go at trimming, shaving and even colouring their hair.
Mr Picton said stylists were asking clients if they had "done anything to their hair" to plan what style they want before coming in.
"We are making ourselves prepared for whatever comes our way really, colour is a slight concern, a lot of colour correction takes a lot of time and effort," he said.
First haircut of the day
Tanya Clement, owner of Pontypridd's TC Unisex Hair Salon, is expecting a busy day and opened early to cope with demand.
"It's been an absolute nightmare. This is my life, I've missed my clients and I'm glad to be back in work," she said.
Ms Clement has spent 31 years working in her salon. She opened early on Monday.
"I'm glad to be back, I've had about an hour's sleep," she said.
"It's going to be manic today because some people don't have Facebook Messenger so they have to ring the salon. It's been non-stop."
First through her door was 25-year-old Dewi Voyle of Ynysybwl who said he felt "amazing" after losing his lockdown locks.
"I was tempted to shave it off myself a few times during lockdown. A few of my mates did but I couldn't bring myself to brave it," he said.
"Now I feel cleaner - and three stones lighter."
Jayne Mayo, from Mountain Ash, could not have been more relieved to have a cut and colour after four months.
"I'm a different person going out [of the salon] to the one who came in," she beamed.
"I feel much better. I've got my colour and curls back. It's absolutely amazing."
What will my salon look like?
If you are heading off to your salon or local barbers, things will look very different from getting your normal cut.
There will be no lattes or prosecco, magazines will have been removed, and your stylist will wear a visor.
The Welsh Government has issued guidance to hairdressers and barbers, setting out safety measures as businesses reopen during the pandemic.
So what can you expect:
- Treatments are to be by appointment only, with no walk-ins, and a limited number of people allowed in at one time
- While hair treatments, including cuts, colouring, styling, are allowed, beard and eyebrow trimming are not as they are in the "high risk zone"
- Hairdressers and barbers must wear clear face visors, but customers and staff do not need to wear face masks
- No food and drink in salons apart from water in disposable cups or bottles
- Magazines, leaflets and books removed from salons
- Some salons may use screens to separate clients, while chairs and wash basins may be further apart to abide with social-distancing measures
- There will be increased hand washing and cleaning, with the Welsh Government recommending "disposable items" such as towels are used to treat each client
- Some salons may put social distancing markings on the floor
'Doing what we love'
The owners of Cwtch hair and beauty salon in Cardiff only took on the business in March - but two days after they got the keys, lockdown was announced - and they said without a government bounce back loan, they might have never reopened.
But now they've fitted their eco-friendly Whitchurch salon with screens, handwashing stations and air purifiers, while the staff will wear face visors.
"I'm so excited, I cannot wait to see all of our clients again," said Lee Hoddinott.
"We can't wait to just get back to doing what we love, to see how the salon works, to hear people's lockdown stories."
"We've been floating around doing a lot of things in the house, but it will be nice to actually come to work, be here, get the ball rolling," he said.
Coincidentally Tom Sage also got the keys for his new hairdressing business in Cardiff two days before lockdown.
The 21-year-old has been preparing to open his Fairwater salon for four months and each customer will have a fresh gown and their temperature taken - and Sage hairdressing is almost booked up for his first two weeks of reopening.
"I can't complain - it's an amazing start," said Mr Sage.
Have you had your lockdown haircut? We'd love to see your before and after pictures and videos - please send them to email@example.com