Mobile hair stylists - keeping safe during COVID-19

The government has now issued guidance for the reopening of a number of close contact businesses, including hairdressers and barbers. I recommend that all workers including mobile hair stylists read the guidance in full, but, I have summarised some of the key points that I think mobile hair stylists will need to consider when working during COVID-19. The full guidelines can be found here:

With the 4th of July just around the corner it's important for everyone that we all do our bit to keep transmission rates of COVID-19 as low as possible. Here is my summary of the things that mobile hair stylists will need to consider. Please note though, this list may not be fully comprehensive and is my interpretation of the guidance. I hope it serves as a useful list. If there's anything you think I've missed please drop us an email at 

Firstly - it's a good idea to contact your clients before their appointment and provide them with information and your expectations of them during the appointment so that they are clear about their responsibilities.

Wash your hands - Yes, yes you're thinking if there's one thing we've all heard during this pandemic is WASH YOUR HANDS. Washing hands is one of the best ways of reducing transmission according to government advice. Wash them before and after every client. Consider taking your own soap to use (you can buy refillable bottles here - and if you don't feel safe using your client's sink e.g. too many surfaces to touch then use hand sanitiser when you're back in the car. Try not to use your phone until you have washed / sanitised your hands.

Clean your equipment - as well as washing hands you should be cleaning the equipment that you use between clients and at the beginning and end of each day. If you provide gowns, these need to be disposed of, or washed in between each use. It's also recommended by the government that you change your clothes as soon as you get home.

PPE - the guidance states that for close contact workers (which includes mobile hair stylists) you must wear a visor when social distancing can't be observed. No other PPE is required (in addition to what you would usually wear), as long as you wash your hands regularly. You need to wash / clean visors regularly or use disposable visors. Here is an example: Your clients do not need to wear a mask as long as you are wearing a visor, however if they would like to then that's fine.

Keep a record of your clients - I'm sure most of you do this anyway but you must keep a record of your clients to assist NHS Test and Trace. It's probably a good idea to keep a copy of your diary which you can easily share with the NHS Test and Trace service if required.

Vulnerable groups - check whether you, any of your clients or household members fall into the vulnerable groups defined by the government. If you do you shouldn't be back at work until the government says it's safe to do so. The same goes for your clients. If they are vulnerable they should be following government guidelines.

Cut outside or keep well ventilated - there's no evidence yet about how temperature affects COVID-19 but the government has advised that the risk of spread is minimised outside. It may not work to cut hair outside, but if you can at least open a window in the room you are using this may help.

Keep noise to a minimum - ask your clients to keep the working environment quiet, without loud music etc, and to keep shouting to a minimum. And if you need to talk, turn off the hairdryer first rather than shouting over the noise.

Remember to social distance all the time - there are likely to be other people in the house as well as your client. Make sure you socially distance from these people and ask your clients if they can provide a room that's not the room where people in the family congregate e.g. kitchen.

Minimise contact, particularly near the face - one of the guidelines is to reduce the contact you have with people, wherever possible. So, if there's a sensible way of shortening the appointment then that's a good idea. It's unlikely that many people will want to reduce the time you spend cutting their hair, but definitely say no to cups of tea and chats at the start / end of the appointment. They also advise that you should minimise the time spent in front, face to face with the client (known as the high risk zone) so be aware of that and absolutely make sure you are wearing a visor.

Make sure everyone is feeling well - you may want to consider contacting your clients the day before / morning of their appointment to confirm that they are well and aren't showing signs of COVID-19 (I think we all know what these are now!). Don't be afraid to ask your clients to take their temperature before you arrive. If you arrive and you think the client is showing Covid-19 symptoms you have every right to end the appointment. Just be clear with your customers in advance if you are going to charge for that eventuality. Also make sure you temperature check regularly - you are in a position where you will come into contact with a lot of people and so could unwittingly spread the virus to your other clients.

Carry Tissues - as a mum, I know it's always a good idea to carry tissues - but even more so now if you do need to cough or sneeze use a tissue and dispose of it immediately. Take a box in case your client also needs to borrow one!

Use electronic payment wherever possible - as we all know that cash can carry germs including COVID-19.

Finally, don't use public transport unless you have to - consider cycling or driving to reduce your risk of transmission on public transport.

I hope these are helpful tips and things to think about when you prepare to start cutting people's hair again. As stated at the start - this list is not a comprehensive list of guidelines but an interpretation of the government guidelines for a mobile hair stylist. I recommend that you read the guidelines in full here -

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