Many of our high streets are looking pretty vacant with increasing numbers of barricaded shop fronts, a sign that businesses have moved out or – if possible – online. But digital can’t deliver on everything: “You can’t buy a haircut on Amazon,” says hairdresser and session stylist Nick Irwin, which means the UK’s £6 billion hair services industry was left particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic. But relief is on the way and in less than two weeks from now, hair salons and barbershops will open their doors once again, welcoming in the British public, and taking back professional control of the nation’s lockdown manes.
Over the past year, we have watched and laughed as people around the world have taken up scissors and comb, attempting home haircuts, making a stab at fringe maintenance and layers; experimenting with buzzcuts and mullets, bleach and colour. Sure, while there were many – entertaining – viral fails, some makeovers turned out pretty damn decent. But what this has highlighted again and again is the value of hairdressers and salons, not just for vanity’s sake, but for our physical and mental wellbeing and maintaining self-esteem.