Ready for a haircut? Us too. It's been months since hairdressers could last operate, and from 4th July in England, stylists - including freelance ones - can welcome customers again. Whether it's for convenience, price or even for health reasons, having your hair cut at home really can make life a lot easier, particularly if you're nervous about things reopening and visiting a hair salon. So, here's what you need to know, including what to expect with the new rules and tips on how to find a great mobile hairdresser near you.
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A mobile hairdresser is exactly as the name suggests. They work on a freelance and mobile basis outside the confinements of a hair or beauty salon and usually come to your house or a location that works for you for a cut, colour or styling.
This type of hairdresser can be booked for specific occasions, i.e. a wedding, party or special event, or more regularly for routine hair appointments.
Mobile hairdressers can start working again on 4th July. When Boris Johnson announced in Parliament that hairdressers would be able to open again, there was some confusion over whether this included mobile hairdressers, with the nature of their business meaning they would be visiting multiple households.
The Freelance Association of Hairdressers cleared this up, however, stating: “The government do not differentiate between sectors in our industry. When they say hairdressers they mean all hairdressers, salons and freelance/mobile together.”
Before you rush to make your long-awaited hair appointment, it's worth noting that the experience will be different to your pre-corona trims. Before you have your appointment, it's essential that you check with your hairstylist about the safety requirements needed. They will be able to advise you, but here are some of measures you can expect:
If you have any questions, do contact your hairdresser to see what you need to do to prepare for your appointment.
As with anything, there are always two sides to the coin. Many of our users enjoy the sociable aspect of going to the hairdressers', while others say that having a hairdresser come to their house makes them feel more comfortable. Here are just a few pros and cons of choosing the latter.
"It might not be the full hair salon comfort, but it's very convenient. Your hairdresser will tell you whether he/she would like you to wash your hair before they come or whether they will do it themselves. It can vary."
Not only will you save a few pennies on travel expenses, but this option is also more convenient for those who have a busy work schedule or those who are unable to travel, for whatever reason. A freelance hair stylist will usually have the flexibility to work around you, especially if you are a regular customer, and may also work longer weekday or weekend hours.
"My hairdresser does exactly what I ask for at a fraction of the salon price."
They usually (but not always) charge a fraction of the cost when compared to hair salons, which means you'll get your regular cut but won't have to pay and arm and a leg for it. And the clean-up is pretty minimal too, according to our gransnetters, so you won't have to worry about the mess either. Win win, we say.
"I hate going to the hairdresser as I suffer from psoriasis, sometimes on my scalp, and I nearly always get a junior who doesn't know what it is, who says, in a loud, clear voice, 'Ooh, what's this on your scalp? Is it catching?', and I sit there, cringing with embarrassment! Instead, wherever possible, I have a regular hair stylist come to the house."
Getting to the hairdressers' can be a struggle for those with health difficulties and disabilities, and uncomfortable for those with health conditions like psoriasis, which makes a mobile hairdresser the ideal solution.
"I hated going to the hairdressers'. My hair is thin and stringy, so sitting watching other women getting fabulous styles was torture. This hairdresser knows me and my hair and I feel more comfortable at home."
Whether it's in your own home or at the neighbour's, nothing quite beats having your hair cut in a space that you know and feel comfortable in. For some, an appointment with the hairdresser is a chore, not a treat, so being able to stay at home for said appointment can be a welcomed plus side.
"I do not miss the salon and sitting around while she finishes off another lady's hair. At home, I get her full attention."
The hustle and bustle of a local salon means that there will, inevitably, be some distraction. The one-to-one aspect of mobile hairdressing means that you and your needs will always come first.
"My hairdresser comes to my house every six to eight weeks for a dry cut. He's great and usually laughs and jokes with me - none of this 'where are you going for your holidays?' etc. I want my hair done quickly and efficiently without lots of fussing and fiddling."
First there's the small talk, then there's the wash and massage, then there's more small talk... And before you know it, you've already been at the salon an hour and a half without even having had your hair cut! Going mobile will most likely mean less faff and a much quicker appointment.
"My hairdresser has become a good friend and I can chat to her about anything."
Having the same hairdresser over and over again is not only comforting, especially as they'll get a good sense of your preferences and which hairstyle works for you, but it might mean that you make a friend for life in the process.
"I love going into town and chatting to everyone, which I will continue to do for as long as I can."
For many, a trip to the hairdressers' really is the highlight of any week, especially if they live alone or lack company on a regular basis. While having a mobile hairdresser can be great way to socialise with someone you know well, it's not quite the same as the lively, sociable atmosphere at a local salon. However, some hair salons' capacity may be reduced due to the coronavirus social distancing restrictions.
"I don't fancy leaning over the kitchen sink to have my hair washed, which is why I prefer a salon."
Sticking your head over the kitchen sink (sans massage) certainly won't match up to a full-blown salon session, which will usually come with a cuppa and a chocolate biscuit, so avoid going mobile if you love a bit of pampering.
"If you are fit and active, getting out to the hairdressers' is a great treat."
Having your hair cut and styled at a hair salon can feel like a treat - plus, it's a great excuse to get out of the house for a bit of exercise and a natter. Many find this aspect lacking when it comes to having your hair cut at home.
"My experience lasted less than a year as my mobile hairdresser got a job with a top London company, which meant that I had to find another stylist and return to the salon."
With any salon, you'll know that if your favourite hairdresser isn't available, you'll at least be offered an alternative that will usually do an equally good job. You won't quite have the same security if you're solely reliant on one hair stylist, especially if they decide to change professions or to relocate.
"It's slightly less expensive than my usual salon, but I also have to factor in that it's my electricity and hot water that's being used."
With mobile hairdressing, there are, unfortunately, added utility expenses that must be taken into account. They might be minimal for each appointment, but they could become more costly over time. And don't forget about the cups of tea too.
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If you've decided that a mobile hairdresser is the way to go, your next task is to find one local to you, which can be trickier than it sounds. Here are a few top tips to help get you started and selection of mobile hair stylists located throughout the UK.
In various parts of the UK, Age UK offer a mobile hairdressing service at a reasonable price, which provides a variety of treatments from a full cut and trim to a perm, colour, and a wash and blow dry.
Local mobile hairdressing businesses will sometimes advertise their services on U3A sites across the UK, which is often helpful if you're trying to find a stylist who specialises in haircuts for over 50s.
Are you looking for a hairdresser who focuses on older clients? Do you suffer from dementia and require a hairdresser within the care sector who is specially-trained? Is the ideal hairdresser someone who comes highly recommended by friends or acquaintances? Your search will become much easier if you know what you're looking for.
The true test of a good hair stylist is the satisfaction of their customers. Before deciding on a hairdresser in your local area, find their website and check out their testimonals and reviews before you book an appointment. While it might not strictly be word of mouth, which can also be a huge help here, it's certainly the next best thing.
Please note - some of the hairdressers listed below may not be open from 4th July.