All over the country, hairdressers- Covent Garden and beyond- struggle to keep up with the steady flow of lockup home hair care fails.

We don’t know about you, but we have been absolutely living for these incredible reaction Tiktoks, as real life hairdressers watch people struggle to keep a hold of their iconic looks at home.

Since extreme lockdown measures in response to the worldwide covid-19 pandemic, took effect in March, closing down hair salons and a number of other services- people have been finding out just how essential their hairdressers are.

“Our clients are absolutely fantastic, most of them waited it out, but a few did try the DIY approach.” Says one hairdresser of Covent Garden based salon Charles Worthington Salon. While they ask not to be named, for their clients’ privacy, they do say that lockdown measures, and the new policies and procedures that came to follow, have caused a bit of a fuss.

“I don’t think anyone is upset by the new rules and procedures, particularly as we take health and safety pretty seriously. Both for our clients and ourselves. The change has been exciting.” They say that self-isolation and business closures took a deep toll on many hair stylists. “We went from just staring at walls and dreaming about new styles and colours- to all out pandemonium. We’ve been booked solid for weeks.” With some of their clients sporting lockdown looks that are less than simple to fix.

A Different Kind of Distance

Because of new social distancing rules, many hair salons are able to see fewer customers. To the chagrin of most hairstylists. Covent Garden offers some of the most beautiful and spacious luxurious salons in London. But despite their splendor, even booked out salons are operating at half-mast. As they hustle to meet the needs of clients and health officials, booking and attending appointments has become an altogether foreign affair.

Most salons now require clients to book in advance via telephone or online services. Then arrive for their appointment promptly, forgoing the normal relaxing cup of coffee or magazine perusal while you wait your turn.

Most consultations are now done virtually, as small talk in person is kept to a minimum and clients are only able to be seen on a one-at-a-time basis; helping to further secure the safety of staff and clients alike.

“Most modern hairstyles require a bi-monthly upkeep. Some people are easily five or six months out from their routine maintenance schedule, so it can make for lengthy appointments.” Hairstylists are also reporting that many of their clients are also looking for some refreshing and drastic changes to their regular hairstyles. “Changing up your hairstyle is a really great way to help de-stress, or really feel like you’re making a fresh start.” Which is something that most of us are looking for.

Curating the New Normal

This new found flexibility goes far past just our anticipatory styles, as clients are asked to be patient and accepting of any changes to schedules. Because of extended waiting periods and longer than normal appointments, with no customer interaction between overlaps, salon’s remind their clients that their appointment time can change short notice. However, most happily approach this new set of rules with a smile on their face- even if it is behind a mask.

“I’d have no problem waiting a few hours, or even getting my appointment postponed to the next day.” Says one eager client during an impromptu street poll. “I’m keen to get a new colour, so whatever it takes to see my regular [hair stylist] I’ll gladly do.” The loyalty of clientele has long been an industry standard amongst most patrons of hair salons, entrusting their locks to only tried and tested talents. A trend which serves them and their stylists well at this time.

Looking at What’s Ahead

Another bubbling trend amidst new procedures is styles that work well with masks. “We’re seeing a huge trend of shorter, less fussy styles, with colours that really brighten up people’s features.

I think autumn will see a bit more whimsy when it comes to colour preferences.” Which arguably take more time to achieve. Especially when it comes as a stark departure from existing colours and cuts.

“Most of my clients are aware that this is what’s happening. They’ve seen the change in trends and how difficult it is to take your hair into your own hands. I think that’s a big part of why they’re all so understanding when it comes to extended waiting times.” It’s not just the clients who are happy to be back, but the stylists themselves.

“We’ve all been flat out” our correspondent says, “but honestly, it’s such a good feeling. Being back, making our customers smile. It’s something really wonderful, just puts a smile on your face as well.” So when your schedule does allow for booking a hairstylist, Covent Garden is ready and waiting for you.