Hairdressers must revive bob cut and ditch blow drys to survive coronavirus, say industry leaders

Industry leaders are worried how the coronavirus will impact hairdressing (Getty Images)
Top hairdressers are worried about how the coronavirus will affect the industry. (Getty Images)

They’ve been closed for weeks – but there is hope hairdressers will reopen next month.

However, when they do, industry leaders say salons will need to adapt to survive coronavirus restrictions.

Longer, wavy hairstyles are said by some to be more risky for spreading COVID-19.

According to Tim Hartley, a former director at Vidal Sassoon, opting for a bob cut would be a “safe” alternative to “lengthy” blow drys.

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The top hairstylist explained: “We have to think about maximising hygiene. The sooner the long tresses of yesterday are dispensed with, the more hygienic it will be for us all.

"The hour-long blow dries in the salon are no longer safe for the stylist or the client. Research suggests the COVID-19 virus is transmitted much easier through a swift airflow.”

Hartley thinks shorter cuts, popularised by his former boss Vidal Sassoon, are the solution to the stricter hygiene required during the pandemic.

English fashion designer Mary Quant with her new bob cut hairstyle by hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, London, 10th November 1964. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English fashion designer Mary Quant in 1964 with a bob cut hairstyle by hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. (Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He added: “With the bob cut you can wash your hair every day and not worry about it. It becomes part of your routine. It’s the glamour without the fuss.”

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Similarly, John Carne, a salon owner in Guildford, has opted to scrap hour-long blow drys when he reopens his salon on Monday, 6 July.

The former vice president at the Fellowship For British Hairdressing thinks the “high-speed air flow streams” that blow drys require could increase the spread of the virus.

He said: “My view is simple. I cannot expose my stylists or clients to a possible increased risk of COVID-19 transmission by undertaking lengthy blow drys in the salon.

“So for the foreseeable future they are off our service menu.”

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Noting that he would also be encouraging bob cuts, the stylist added: “In our salon we will only be able to operate eight of our usual 20 stylist’s chairs at any given time.

“Shorter cuts are much quicker than lengthy blow drys, so they will allow us to keep a high turnover and make a profit. Otherwise reopening just won’t be worthwhile.”

Hair salons across the UK have been closed since lockdown began on 23 March

They are expected to reopen on 4 July, and while government safety guidelines for salons are yet to be announced, hairdressers are expecting to have to use personal protective equipment when they are unable to remain two metres apart.

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The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF), the UK’s largest hairdressing trade association is urging salons to limit treatment times to control the spread of COVID-19.

A spokesperson said: "In line with the current two-metre social distancing regulation we are recommending that hair and beauty salons and barbershops alter their lay-out to meet these to protect staff and clients.

“This will mean that most salons will not be able to accommodate as many clients as they normally would.”

They added: "Treatment times should be kept to a minimum and so we are encouraging consultations to take place online before a client visits."

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