Bentleys of Canberra has installed custom Perspex screens in between basins and colour stations to keep clients and staff happy and healthy. Photos: Kerrie Brewer.

Hairdressers across the country have been adapting to the ever-changing rules, regulations and restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

First, they thought they might have to close, then they were allowed to service each client for 30 minutes, then they were allowed to remain open. Now, as the ACT starts to return to some sort of normal (we say cautiously), hair salons are looking to the future at ways they can keep their clients safe as they indulge in a little self-care.

Owner of Bentleys of Canberra in Jamison, June Irving, said when Canberra closed down due to the pandemic, she was happy to stay open, and has used that time to implement safety measures for clients such as single-use capes, Perspex dividers between basins and colour stations, and a hands-free sanitising station.

“I’ve been here for 44 years – I needed to service those [clients], and particularly ones that are working. Even ones that are working from home, they’re on Zoom so they’ve still got to look good,” she said.

“It went very slow for the first couple of weeks [of restrictions] and gradually is building, but we’re still not up to capacity yet because we can only have 20 people in here.”

June said clients are “over the moon” about the changes they’ve made in the salon, especially the Perspex dividers and the hands-free sanitising.

“We only have three basins, so that’s why I had to do something about the basins,” she said.

Clients have welcomed the measures, which include a hands-free sanitising station and single-use capes, and say the Perspex dividers add a touch more privacy to their self-care time.

The positive feedback means June is looking to implement the dividers in her other salons around Canberra, and might make some of the other changes a permanent fixture of her Jamison salon.

“I think [restrictions are] going to go on for a while,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a short-term thing; I think we’re in this for a long time.

“We were always good with our sterilisation, now we’re brilliant – we’ll never ever go back to how it was,” she said. “We’ve got pens we’re sterilising – we’ve become pedantic about absolutely everything.”

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