Coronavirus: Hairdressers offer virtual appointments in lockdown

Paul Phillips offered advice on FaceTime

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Paul Phillips / Chopp Hair

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Paul Phillips offered advice on FaceTime

Hairdressers offered virtual appointments to help people comb their hair at home.

Stylists use apps like FaceTime, Zoom and YouTube to provide customers with live advice and tutorials.

While salons have already been reopened in France and Germany, hairdressers in the UK plan to remain closed until July.

An industry report estimated that the hair and beauty sector contributed £ 6.6 billion to the country’s economy last year.

Paul Phillips owns the Chopp hairdresser in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, which was closed in March when the coronavirus blockade started.

It provides a service called Chopp Drops, where it delivers hair products to customers’ doors and then demonstrates via video call how to apply the treatment.

“Most hairdressers say you should never color your hair at home and in normal times I agree,” he says.

“But the current health of many customers has been affected by the current situation, so selecting gray roots and split ends makes them feel better.”

Paul claims to serve up to 26 customers a day, but adds that he is cautious about offering only advice that is achievable at home.

“It’s too technical to dye blonde hair, so those customers unfortunately have to sit tight and wait for the block to be over,” he explains.

“You don’t want anyone messing around and then you have to live with it for another seven weeks.”

‘Time to concentrate’

Most of the hairdressers that the BBC spoke to offered bespoke hair kits and virtual appointments priced between £ 30 and £ 150.

Ebuni Ajiduah is a hair loss specialist. He also moved his online appointments, offering clients home treatments and, if necessary, referring them to dermatologists for further advice.

“People now have time to focus on things they may have overlooked,” he says, adding that he has seen growing demand for his services.

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Ebuni Ajiduah / Beautystack

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Ebuni Ajiduah organizes a weekly washing day online

Ebuni also launched a Virtual Wash Day every Sunday when she invites people to join her on Zoom to wash, treat and style their hair together.

“We talk about the products we use and how we bend our hair,” he says. “It is really beautiful, there are some people in shower caps and others who try to keep their children still.

“It gives people a sense of normalcy when the world is on fire: you can still have a routine and focus on yourself.”

Some hairdressers advise against hair cutting but still offer other online tips.

“I trimmed my front but I wouldn’t even try [to cut] mine on the back, “says Michael Van Clarke in a video on Instagram. Instead, he continues to show the public how to style short hair that has grown in a few weeks.

Hand holding

Since it closed, its salon team has posted videos on social media and booked full color virtual consultations, serving more than 3,000 customers online.

“We have new customers who have never been to our salon, the demand is huge,” says Van Clarke.

“It is much easier to do video consultations if we have seen them in person before, but we are still able to advise new customers.”

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Michael Van Clarke

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Michael Van Clarke is looking to continue serving the customers he normally sees in his salon

Senior technicians evaluate the hair during an initial video call, provide advice on treatments and products, send them and offer follow-up advice to observe and guide the customer.

“Some people like their reassuring hands, so our technicians can show them how to hold the brush and how long to leave the color on,” adds Van Clarke.

Gina Conway, who runs three salons in London, thinks this could become the “new normal”.

“Even when the blockade is over, it will be chaos,” he explains. “Some people may not be able to afford to go to the salon, they may be working from home or taking care of children, so I hope we can relieve stress through technology.”

Gina says she is now spinning to focus on the Internet.

“At first I was hesitant because I wanted to keep my business as professional as possible, but this is our way of giving adequate advice and helping people feel good about themselves.”

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