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Hair is everything

Saturday the 4thof July saw a further easing of lockdown in England.

Pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen after three long months. Once of a day I would have been first in the queue to hit the pub with friends, not this time. I’d debated it, decided it wasn’t worth it, I’ve missed socialising, the rules around going to the pub made socialising seem impossible, I opted for a BBQ in the garden with friends instead…in the rain. However, there was one place I would be going this weekend, a place I couldn’t wait to get back to, the hairdressers.

Sinead, me, Charlotte and Kate socially distanced BBQ in a wet garden

My last appointment was in February, I can’t remember the last time I went that long without a cut and colour. Throughout university, I always made sure I had enough money to get my hair done. It’s my treat, I don’t get facials or anything like that, don’t have my eyelashes done and don’t buy expensive make up – I’m pretty low maintenance.

I’ve dyed my hair religiously since the age of 12, it has been a multitude of colours; plum, copper, red, blonde, multiple shades of brown, purple and blue (I got a detention for that particular shade). Like most I started off dying it myself at home, staining the bath in the process and wrecking towels. I graduated to getting it done properly after a disaster saw me accidentally dye it jet black, it looked dreadful. 

Zoe’s been doing my hair every eight weeks for the last five years at Studio Twenty Nine. I see Zoe more often than I see some of my family. I love going, I love sitting being pampered for two hours, I love having my hair washed, I love speaking to the girls, I love listening to the chatter and catching up on life. I’ve missed my appointments.

At the start of this, I have to admit, I was curious, I’d soon be seeing what my natural hair colour is after years. As the weeks turned into months, the red colour had become orange. I was basically half brunette, half irn bru. The one positive….I’m not grey. I didn’t cave to home dye job, having been warned not to do it and remembering my Morticia Addams impression from years earlier.

I expected having to wait weeks for a Saturday appointment, I’d messaged her asking to squeeze me in whenever, I didn’t think she’d come back with 1:00, Saturday the 4th. That was better news than any pub reopening.

It was different, I went equipped with a mask, there were plastic barriers in-between stations, lots of hand sanitizer, no waiting area, all the staff had visors on and there wasn’t a steady stream of caffeine. Aside from that, there was the same chatter and catching up and it was fabulous! It was wonderful to do something normal; it was wonderful to have plans on a Saturday and it was wonderful to walk out two hours later with freshly dyed, glossy, healthy looking hair – I felt reinvigorated.

Some people may think that sounds ridiculous, quite simply, I love having my hair done and it makes walk a little taller. There’s a scene in series two of Fleabag that sums it perfectly, Claire gets a less than ideal new do and Fleabag confronts her hairdresser in speech that sums up our relationship with hair:

“Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally.

“But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. We’re meant to think that it’s a symbol of power, that it’s a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it and it pays your fucking bills. Hair is everything.”

I cheered watching that, hair is everything. Having a good hair day makes a difference.

Luckily, I’ve never had a disastrous cut, Zoe wouldn’t do that, I put my trust in her completely often saying ‘do what you want’ or ‘what do you think’, she’s never got it wrong. The relationship between hairdresser and customer isn’t shouted about enough, it is about trust and it is a friendship. I have found it easier to break up with friends than old hairdressers. The last one technically broke up with me and the profession, that was a relief as I’d been wanting to find a new salon. Zoe was recommended by a friend; I haven’t looked back. She can talk for England, I always walk out with a smile on my face, not just because I’ve had my hair done but because I’ve had a nice, girly afternoon. It is the social aspect of going to the hairdressers that I’ve missed as much as the dye, treatments and cut.

Goes without saying that I immediately booked my next appointment, I’m pleased this routine is back and I’ll never take it for granted again. Now if the government could allow Amy to start doing my nails again that would be great.

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

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