No trip to the hairdresser would be complete without small talk about an upcoming holiday, right?
While some people hate this hairdresser ‘chit chat’ there’s no denying that it’s a rite of passage during any salon visit.
However, salon small talk could soon be a thing of the past, as hairdressers have been told to observe a ‘silence rule’ to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus, when venues reopen.
The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) has issued guidelines stating hairdressers and barbers should ‘avoid face-to-face discussions with clients.’
The only conversations permitted are ones concerning cut, colour and treatments and these ‘should be made via the mirror while standing behind the client and kept to a minimum.’
But how do hairdressers feel about these changes?
Jonathan Andrew, hair stylist at Fudge Professional
‘Personally, I’m a little bit sad about this as having a discussion is often a feature of the service, but it’s also much more than that.
‘I’ve bonded with my clients and I haven’t seen them in a while so it would be so nice to have a catch up.
‘However, if this is what it takes to get us back to work and saving our health and our clients, it’s a small sacrifice to pay.’
Ricky Walters, founder of SALON64
‘There is nothing a hairdresser likes more than a good old chat with their clients – whether it’s small talk or big talk.
‘Some of the team at SALON64 have been cutting clients’ hair twice a month for the last 20 years and consider the relationship between client and hairdresser a very close one after all that time.
‘Having not seen clients in months – some of which we have become extremely close – makes it nearly impossible to ban small talk.
‘We consider our loyal long-term clients as friends and I’m sure the public would struggle to ask two friends to finally meet up after lockdown and not speak to one another in depth.’
Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty
‘It will be a great shame if small talk is banned for the foreseeable future. Our colourists and stylists have built friendships and maintained great relationships over the years with our loyal clients at Neville Hair & Beauty.
‘Clients often look forward to visiting the salon to catch up with the team here and the experience is so much more than just a cut or colour.
‘If small talk is to be banned at salons, then of course we will have to respect the rules, as we will have no choice but to adhere to the government guidelines.’
Adele Clarke, owner of Spectrum Hair Company
‘With hairdressers being naturally creative, caring people, our initial instincts to hug and chat away will have to be fought back – this will come hard to a lot of us.
‘For some clients, the salon is the place they go to offload.
‘One thing that I will be implementing when we reopen is video call consultations. That way I can find out all the necessary information before the client reaches the salon keeping the conversation to a minimum when they are in the chair.’
Michael Van Clarke, owner Michael Van Clarke
‘Anything that restricts our freedom of expression is a concern. It could mean “austerity hairdressing” for a while, without the simple social niceties that make salons a refuge for so many people. And for others, one of the few links to the outside world.
‘Hairdressing is a social, technical and creative process. During the complicated technical stages, there is little conversation and much concentration – but it will be sad if our natural warmth and friendship for our clients is stunted throughout their visit.’
Louise Galvin, celebrity colourist at Daniel Galvin salons
‘A good hairdresser should be practised In the “art of listening” and the conversation is usually client-led. Many clients enjoy having a silent moment so they can decompress.’