Is it just me? Or is a silenced salon a joy? asks LIBBY PURVES

Is it just me? Or is a silenced salon a joy? asks LIBBY PURVES

  • National Hair & Beauty Federation advises staff not to chat when salons reopen
  • Libby Purves argues the arrival of the silent salon in the UK might be a blessing
  • She’s only had two hairdressers who’ve genuinely enjoyed chatting
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Back to the salon! Bring on the scissors, foils and precious colourants!

Reopening hairdressers — expected on July 4 — will bring cries of joy, and not just from those who can start earning again and bask in a new level of admiration for their skill.

After months of clueless trimming of fringes and ear-mangling attempts to reproduce that choppy bob, clients will appreciate all that apprenticeship.

But a big change looms. The coronavirus has not gone yet, so the National Hair & Beauty Federation advises its members not to chat. No face-to-face on arrival — fix it up online first — and few words, even from safely behind the chair.

Libby Purves explained why the arrival of the silent salon in the UK might be a blessing. Pictured: A salon in Moscow

No inquiries about holidays (or the lack thereof), no cosy conversations about the celebrity lunatic pictured in the magazine on your lap (oh, we’re not allowed those either). But the arrival of the silent salon might be a blessing.

I have had, in my longish life, only two hairdressers who genuinely enjoyed chat. One took me through the saga of his collapsing love life, its recovery, and their decision to emigrate. The other was a shockingly indiscreet gossip.

Even so, both of them understood that if I opened the newspaper, the only appropriate utterance was ‘head down a bit’.

Some women confide their troubles and seek advice. Imagine the horror: you’ve had a hard day, you’re trying to negotiate a sharp blade round the ears of someone better off and lazier than you, and she moans about her mother-in-law. Face it, some think that being a paying client is a licence to bore.

No, with the new rules in place, chattier souls may suffer a bit, but I suspect many hairdressers will enjoy beautifying the outside of heads without having to listen to the rubbish inside them.

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