I’m A Hairdresser – Here’s Why I’m Still Working In Lockdown

Photographed by Rochelle Brock.
Seven weeks into lockdown, all non-essential businesses – including beauty salons and hairdressers – remain closed, following government guidelines due to coronavirus.
In response to the closures, the internet is awash with DIY hair cutting, dyeing and styling tutorials as we try (and sometimes fail) to tend to our hair in the absence of the professionals. It's safe to say most of us miss our monthly trims and fresh colour appointments more than we thought we would, but while we anticipate an ease of lockdown measures, it doesn't seem as though hair salons will be opening any time soon. The government recently deemed businesses that require hands-on contact a high risk, and with hairdressers often centimetres away from a client's face, it isn't a chance the UK is currently willing to take.
However, this hasn't stopped people from contacting their regular hair salons and stylists to find out whether they are working under the radar. In fact, reports suggest there are many hairdressers who are meeting the demands of their customers in private, despite social distancing rules.
Ahead, Abbie*, a self-employed mobile hairdresser from Essex, tells Jacqueline Kilikita why she continues to work during lockdown.
"Right now, I think the government are doing the best they can, but I need to work because I have bills to pay and children to care for.
A lot of my clients have hair extensions and it got to a point where they needed to be maintained or removed otherwise their hair would be ruined. At first, I didn't work for around four weeks into lockdown and tried to help clients as much as I could without going to their houses. They would send me videos of their hair so I could keep track. I even dropped equipment to a client's house and talked them through how a family member could remove their extensions!
I've only really been working on hair extensions but when I'm at a client's house, family members (mainly men) have asked me to cut their hair, so I've actually done a lot of men's cuts. I've also done some highlights. My family have told me not to work but I've been keeping my services quite quiet. I haven't put anything on my Instagram page.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on me and my business. Before, I was working every day, sometimes day and night, but I ended up working just twice a week for about an hour. Now, more and more people are asking me if I'm working each day. I ask all clients who want me to go to their homes if they are well and if they have been anywhere. I'm lucky my clients are like family and I can trust them to tell me the truth, so I'm not worried about going to their houses. Even before this got serious, I was wearing gloves, masks and washing my hands every time I entered and left a house. I don't get my clients to wear masks, though; that would make it pretty hard to do their hair.
I have actually had a lot of new people message me and ask for appointments but I have turned them down. I don't know them, so I don't know if they have been outside. While I don't know any other hairdressers working, I know a beautician who still is. But when this is all over, I know I'm going to be fully booked."
*Name has been changed

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