From a 24-hour salon to no more waiting areas – how hairdressers are preparing to reopen

Abi Cutter, co-owner of Lipstick & Locks in Sudbury, which is becoming a 24-hour salon on its first

Abi Cutter, co-owner of Lipstick & Locks in Sudbury, which is becoming a 24-hour salon on its first day of reopening. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS - Credit: Archant

Salon owners across Suffolk are dusting off their scissors as they prepare for the ‘new normal’ with closed waiting rooms, staggered appointments and longer opening hours.

Lipstick & Locks, in Sudbury, is becoming a 24-hour salon on its first day of reopening. Picture: GE

Lipstick & Locks, in Sudbury, is becoming a 24-hour salon on its first day of reopening. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS - Credit: Archant

Many people have been desperate to get back to a salon after they shut down in March when the country went into lockdown – but the hairdressers experience is unlikely to be the same for a little while.

Some salons are planning to open seven days a week, with one launching a 24-hour reopening day, and others are cutting their numbers of stylists in half to ensure a two-metre distance.

This is all dependent on the government giving them the green light to reopen on July 4, as long as cases of coronavirus continue to decline.

So how are salons planning to welcome back customers?

Lipstick & Locks

A popular salon in Sudbury’s North Street has decided to take a unique approach when it hopes to reopen on July 4.

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Lipstick & Locks, which is owned by Abi Cutter and combines a hair and make-up salon with a cocktail bar, will become a 24-hour salon on the first day of reopening.

MORE: ‘You can’t buy it online’ – Suffolk’s first hair and makeup studio complete with cocktail bar

The salon will open through the night to get as many people booked in as possible and has already begun auctioning the first cut and colour to clients.

This will be the first service to be done at midnight on the day of reopening to raise money for the My Wish Charity at West Suffolk Hospital – with the highest bid currently at £225.

Speaking of the reopening, Abi said: “We have had so many messages from clients who are desperate to get their hair done, as by July we will have been closed for more than three months.

“We still don’t know an official date yet but this way we can still start the reopening with a real bang!”

Abi, who owns a second salon in Halstead, has decided not to start any bookings until she has confirmation of when she is allowed to reopen.

“I don’t want to let people down,” she explained. “Things could change and it would take so long to keep rearranging the slots.

“Until we know how many staff and customers we can have in the salon, then there is no point.”

Abi and her team will be open seven days a week for the first month as she “tries to catch up” on all the bookings that have been cancelled.

She said: “We decided to auction off the first root, cut and colour as it is the most sought after treatment, as so many people have left their hair alone and will have a lot of regrowth.

“Normally people will come in every three to four months, but if you start messing with box dyes then you will just need a lot more treatment in the long run.”

Baiss & Co

Simon Blowers, a consultant at Baiss & Co in Ipswich’s St Peter’s Street, said his team “hopes to give clients something to look forward to” when they hope to reopen on July 4.

Stylists at the salon have been reaching out to their loyal customers this week to discuss rescheduling appointments, as they “cannot work in the same way under the new guidance”.

Among the measures being introduced at the salon are staggered start times for stylists, no waiting area, disposable gowns and towels, asking both staff and customers to wear face masks, stylists doing all the work including shampooing, screens at reception and portable paying machines so the only interaction required is between the stylist and their client.

MORE: Mother and daughter to open ‘dream’ salon in busy market square

Simon said stylists will be doing no in between work and they will have longer appointment times to ensure all areas can be cleaned sufficiently between customers.

He said they have had a lot of interest from their clientele and expect most people to want a “complete restyle”, due to the length of time without a visit.

“Generally this is some form of highlights,” explained Simon. “Most people will want a colour, more than 60% of our clientele have a colour which is higher than the average.”

Baiss & Co has a large clientele and Simon said it is “imperative” that all regular customers can be offered a spot before they make their booking available to the public, in case they become “inundated with requests”.

Meanwhile, executives at Toni and Guy – which has a salon in the Buttermarket in Ipswich – and Regis, which has a salon in Colchester, said they are planning to also open next month.

Beth Parrish, owner of the Paul Henri Salon in St Nicholas Street, says she is hopeful of the July 4 reopening.

She said she is determined to adapt and welcome back clients as soon as possible and will be opening extended hours.

MORE: How one Ipswich hair salon is preparing to safely reopen after lockdown

John Olivers

John Olivers in Ipswich is also working towards the same reopening date, in line with the government guidelines. The directors said: “Our opening hours will be extended to increase capacity and reduce the number of clients and team members and ensure a safe and hygienic environment.

“Stylists will be working on a shift system, so appointment availability may be limited. However, we will try to provide the services as close to normal as possible.

“Access to the salons will be different, with no waiting area and screens at reception. We will kindly ask you to avoid bringing in coats and bags, but do bring your own refreshments and reading material. It may be necessary for us to call you when we are ready so best to wait in your car or outside the salon respecting the two-metre spacing rule.

“Our stylists will be equipped with PPE including visors and we will provide disposable gowns and towels. If you could bring a mask and gloves that would be appreciated!”

MORE: Date hairdressers and barbers set to reopen revealed

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