When hairdressers reopen could blow dries be a thing of the past?

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Lucy Partington
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As salons prepare to open up at the start of next month, chances are you won’t be leaving with a fresh blow dry. 

We can all agree that, aside from that soul-soothing head massage mid-shampoo, one of the most satisfying things about going to the hairdressers is leaving with an incredible blow dry that you’ll never be able to recreate at home.

But, sadly, those blow dries we all love so much could well be a thing of the past. It’s not an understatement to say that the lasting effects of coronavirus have infiltrated every aspect of our lives: from having to work at home where possible, to not being able to see friends or family, and let’s not even mention the fact it’s unlikely we’ll be able to step foot on a plane any time soon.

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That said, lockdown measures are slowly beginning to ease up. All non-essential shops have opened up this month in an attempt to get the economy moving again, and next up it’s the turn of hairdressers and nail salons. Government guidance suggests that they should be able to open their doors from 4 July – something that was officially confirmed on 23 June.

As with everything, though, there will be measures in place to ensure social distancing is maintained, along with other changes to make sure they’re as safe as can be. According to hair stylist Charlotte Mensah, some of those changes in her west London salon will include fewer chairs and a limited number of people in at one time. Magazines will also be temporarily unavailable, and clients will have to wear their own masks and gloves in line with government expectations, while staff will be wearing masks and disposable aprons. 

However, one of the major changes will be that getting a blow dry is likely to become a no-go zone. “Due to the potential risk of the virus being transmitted through swift airflow and to reduce the time and volume of people in salons, what is apparent is the need to cut down, or out, blow drying the hair,” explains Kat De Rozario, hair stylist at Josh Wood Atelier. “Essentially, whether hair is long or short, the cut needs to aid styling so it can dry naturally without the need for a blow dry.”

That means low-maintenance looks will be the go-to styles of the summer. “I’ll be doing a lot of cuts that require minimal styling – preferably with tongs – and have longevity,” says De Rozario. “For some, that means short hair that can be grown out for months, or for those with longer hair it might mean the weight is taken out and some shaping added so it can still be tied up and out of the way.”

Mensah agrees, adding that in her salon they do a lot of roller sets and other heat-free styling methods on curly and textured hair. “Hair can be set on rollers and then clients sit under a hood dryer, which is a good way to not have air transmitted around. There are also several ways to create a blow dried-look without using heat, like twist outs or braid outs. We’ll do them in salon and clients can sleep in them, then in the morning they’ll turn into beautiful, formed curls.”

“Or if somebody wants a smooth, straight style it might be a case of wrapping hair using a paddle brush and a smoothing brush in a circular motion, almost like we’re creating a beehive, and then placing a silk scarf on top and letting it dry,” she adds.

While not being able to get a traditional blow dry is yet another thing the majority of us probably hadn’t even considered, it’s by no means the end of the world – and if nothing else at least when we can leave salons with swishy hair straight from an advert, it’ll feel a million times better than ever before. That we can promise. 

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