Cutting Hair Isn’t Saving Lives But It’s Definitely Something

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding hairdressers as an essential service after a 30 minute time limit was imposed last month and then removed three days later.

However, salons and barbers must still abide by the one person per 4 square metres rule.

The confusion continued leaving some hairdressers feeling guilty for remaining open and their clients shamed for going.

Lauren Weller, 38, owner of Hair Oasis on the Central Coast runs her salon out of a studio at the back of her property.

She says there’s a lot of guilt about people keeping their hair appointments at the moment.

“I’ve had clients sitting in the chair say that they feel really bad that they haven’t seen their own family members, but they’ve come here to my home.”

“I feel bad too, in some ways because I’m still open,” she said.

Lauren Weller’s Instagram post thanking her clients during a difficult time.

Lauren says there are a lot of people in the hairdressing online community that are against salons being open at all.

The Australian Hairdressing Council started a petition in March to close all hairdressing salons as a part of the social restrictions to limit the coronavirus outbreak.

Many hairdressers have closed since, despite still being included in the essential services list.

Lauren works from home in a studio disconnected from her house, however, finds this can be more difficult sometimes.

It’s a bit of a blurred line as you’re not allowed visitors in your home, she explained.

“I’ve got visitors coming to my home but it’s my place of business as well,” she said.

Similar to other business owners, Lauren has increased her frequency and intensity of cleaning in order to remain open.

Things like door handles, furniture, hair clips and brushes are now disinfected twice a day instead of the pre-pandemic every few days.

However, multiple clients have had to cancel their appointments.

“They [clients] have cancelled their appointments and are hoping to return when everything goes back to normal,” Lauren said.

This is a for a few reasons, such as some of the over 60s clients worrying about leaving their house at all.

Some have had to cancel simply because their kids are at home distance learning.

They can’t bring them to the appointment because of physical distancing restrictions which only allow her and two clients in the salon at once she says.

Lauren says one regular with Emphysema has cancelled her appointment because she was worried what others in the salon would think of her coughing.

However, those that keep coming back are mainly trying to support Lauren’s business during these uncertain times.

“The majority of my clients have been coming to me for a long time so they know a lot about me, they know my struggles and they know how many hours I’ve put into running my business.”

“I think people’s minds are put at ease knowing the type of person I am.”

Lauren Weller

She says that she believes all clients to date have been honest with her and have cancelled if they’ve felt ill at all.

Working as a home hairdresser has given her more autonomy with her clients.

“I can control who comes in and they all respect that I have a family and that they’re coming into my family home or at least my salon that’s on my family block of land,” she said.

Joy Hulley, 53, a regular at Hair Oasis continues going to the salon because “it’s time for yourself.”

“You’re going directly from your car and into the salon, so there’s no shopping mall to walk through.”

Joy says she trusts her hairdresser as “she’s very diligent in her cleaning” and she’d “like to help her out with her business.”

Zeinab Arjah, 22, just got a new colour at her local salon and says how her hair looks effects her self-esteem.

“I love it, it makes me feel confident.”

Zeinab still likes going to a hairdresser because “you can talk to them about anything.”

She says she mostly enjoyed it because it was different to her normal repetitiveness while self-isolating.

“You’re mingling with people, you’re socialising, and it feels normal,” she said.

Main image by Cesar Saravia on Unsplash.

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