While hairdressers around the country are preparing to reopen, one Donegal woman is getting ready to replace her laptop and screen with scissors and masks. 

Breda Doherty, who runs Hairdos in Churchill, will reopen her newly revamped salon this weekend after thirteen weeks of lockdown.

Over the past few months, Breda used her time to help people from a distance, guiding them through virtual haircuts at home and advising them on the best ways to manage their hair while salons remain closed.

Breda Doherty, Hairdos in Churchill

“It all started via queries on Facebook,” Breda says. “A few of my clients reached out to me asking what they should be doing at this time; how their roots were growing out, how to cut their children’s hair, manage hair clippers, trim fringes, etc, so I started doing free online sessions with them and it grew from there. 

“The key thing about a salon experience is that your hair professional will give you advice that is bespoke to you, and specific to the needs of your individual hair type. 

“This process also works via an online session, so just by seeing their hair and asking them a few questions, I was able to give clients the advice they needed.”

Hairdresser Breda Doherty of Hairdos in Churchill guides her sister Karen Keelan in Monaghan through a virtual haircut during Covid with her daughter (and Breda’s niece), Lea Keelan, aged 10.

Although she couldn’t see customers in person, Breda guided people through virtual haircuts and product consultations on Zoom, WhatsApp, and Facetime. “I know haircuts and colour changes aren’t the most pressing needs amidst this crisis, but the collective longing for them during this period of lockdown has made people realise how much they rely on their salons as a source of comfort and selfcare.”

With a reopening date in sight, Breda cannot wait to reconnect with her community of customers. And her phone hasn’t stopped since she reopened her booking lines this morning.

Like hairdressers across the country, she is navigating a reopening plan for the business: “Safety is our number one priority ahead of our reopening next Monday, so we’re putting in place all the necessary safeguards to protect customers and staff, including plastic shields and face masks. We’ve also erected screens in the salon and will operate at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. 

“Good hygiene practice has always been a key priority at Hairdos, but we’re following new health protocols and carrying out deep daily cleanings to ensure the salon is as safe as it can be; and anything that cannot be sterilised, like magazines, will be put away.”

Looking to the future, Breda is determined to remain positive: “We are celebrating 15 years in business later this year and I’m determined to mark the milestone. This lockdown has brought into sharp focus the importance of making the most of every success and the joy of simple things, so I intend to celebrate 15 great years in business in whatever way I can. Keep an eye out on our social media for details,” Breda added.