DW talks to top Donegal hairdresser Patrick Gildea about what we can expect from our post-lockdown salon experience.

Donegal’s hairdressers are sharpening their scissors for a busy week as they open their doors to guests tomorrow.

After three months of box dyes, root touch-ups and home cuts, a trip to the salon will be the highlight of the month for many of us. 

If you’ve been lucky to book an appointment soon, there will be some changes to expect. Many salons are asking clients to wear their own masks, walk-ins will be a thing of the past and there will be new hygiene and social distancing measures throughout the experience.

But most of all, hairdressers are excited to help women feel great about their hair again.

Patrick Gildea Hairdressing reopens on Monday 29th June

Patrick Gildea, owner of the Patrick Gildea Centre of Excellence in Letterkenny, said those long-awaited hair appointments will be an ‘amazing’ experience for women.

“We, as hairdressers, are going to play such an amazing part on people transitioning back into the norm of society. 

“This is not like going to pick up a coffee, this is going to make you feel good about how you look and how you feel. It has an unbelievable psychological footprint on people’s wellbeing,” Patrick told Donegal Woman.

Patrick envisages that there will be a newfound enthusiasm for hair in the months to come.

“Hairdressers will also become reinvigorated, their mindset is going to change and they will want to give a change. I think there is a whole different energy created around this. People will take a different approach with their hair and want a change.”

The Covid-19 lockdown has led to a more low-maintenance style of living. Many women have opted for more comfortable clothing styles, pared-back makeup looks and more natural hair (often with no other choice). Patrick expects this new psyche to be reflected in the new hairstyles we choose.

“Trends I see are low maintenance hair, I see people with very long hair going a bit shorter with it and I see people with mid-hair going for classic lobs and bobs. People will choose long square layers and I see the Pixie, in different formats, returning dramatically,” he said.

Shaggy layers will also be big, he said, while many blondes will move away to softer lower maintenance colour. 

The Patrick Gildea Hairdressing team is booking up appointments for the next four weeks, with two appointments being offered to get clients back on track

Getting hair done is one of the top things people say they want to do when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. However, clients in many hair and beauty salons can expect to face added costs on their first appointment back. 

Some hairdressing companies are increasing prices for colour detoxes and regrowth services to repair home dyes. At Patrick Gildea’s, there is no price increase on services, but a Covid-19 charge will be applied to each booking to cover costly additions to the salon, such as protective equipment, disposable items and additional time allocated to each appointment. The charge is also set to counteract the significant reduction in revenue as the salon operates with a 40% reduced capacity.

“Taking advice from our accountant, the charge will cover PPE and make sure the business is viable for the future. We want to keep our 28 staff employed and we are not prepared to reduce their wages. The Covid charge is to ensure everything is balanced and to deliver the service at the correct price point, to deliver the experience and to maintain jobs,” Patrick explained.

As for hair repair, there will be no change in pricing at Patrick Gildea’s but there may be a change in the service you get if it is required. 

“A lot of people are going to be having a lot of treatments and focusing on getting nourishment back into their hair,” Patrick said. 

“I think a lot of people have spent different parts of their lives analysing a lot of things and, part of that is people have stopped and looked at themselves a lot more.

“People have focused on skin and hair and there is going to be a whole new wellbeing cycle of people making their hair and skin look its best. There is going to be a different focus and a full understanding for people realising how important the canvas of hair around their face can make.”

Patrick Gildea Hairdressing Letterkenny

Patrick Gildea Hairdressing is already getting booked up for the next four weeks. Speaking from experience, Patrick’s advice to other hairdressers is to take care of themselves too, and not take on too much.

He said: “Hairdressers are naturally born to want to please people and make them happy and make them look good. They need to be careful, they have to have a healthy balance of work. It’s okay working extra hours, but they need to be careful they don’t burn themselves out.”