Going From Black and White to Colour- My Post-Lockdown Return to Marbles Salon in Cruises Street, Limerick
Researcher Maria O’Dwyer, Ph.D, recently visited our Marbles hairdressing salon in Limerick for an appointment with Cathal. As well as freshening up her lockdown-locks, the purpose of her visit was to road test our Covid-protection protocols and find out how they impact on the client experience. Here’s her review of her visit:
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“In post Lockdown times, we are all learning to adapt to our ‘new normal’. Our outings and exchanges with others are punctuated by social distancing, hand sanitiser and masks and we’re paying more attention to signage than ever. As a researcher, I’m working with the Hugh Campbell Hair Group to road test how all of these new protocols will impact on the client experience. So today, I had the ultimate benefit-in-kind when I got to have my hair done ahead of next Monday’s reopening. One of those days that made me really love my job!
I visited the indelible Cathal at Colour Zone in Marbles, Cruise’s Street early this morning and to be fair, it felt like a Wonder Woman transformation. Picture me crawling into the phone box; roots so far down it looked like bad DIY balayage, with a side of frizz. Fast forward to three and a half hours and a full head of highlights later, I emerged looking and feeling like a much more polished version of myself. As tempted as I was during lockdown to try box dye, I’m really glad that I didn’t because it made today feel like such a treat. We have such complicated and connected relationships between how we feel and how we look that are nothing at all to do with vanity – they are about identity, well-being and confidence. It took lockdown for me to realise that.
I had mixed feelings about the salon visit. Excitement around saying ‘sayonara’ to my roots, mixed with a tiny pinch of trepidation. I have been a client of Hugh Campbell salons for the last 13 or so years, so I knew that all health and safety bases would be covered. Up to now, I have been wearing a mask at meetings for a period of 1 to 2 hours at a time. My worry was around having to keep it on for the duration of my appointment. It’s like that irrational fear you have of being at the dentist and biting their finger because you can’t keep your mouth open any longer – what would happen if the mask became unbearable and I couldn’t take it off? Here’s the thing; I didn’t love it but I got used to it. The salon window and door were open which meant there was plenty of air and while having something over your mouth is never going to feel normal, you just find yourself rolling with it. Cathal was wearing a mask as well so while we both had to speak a little louder and couldn’t read facial expressions, we still managed to chat away.
In order to minimise contact points, there are some differences that do slightly alter the salon experience that we have come to know and expect. They are small but workable. Nobody takes your coat at reception, you hang your own. I knew in advance that there can’t be any magazines for a while, so I brought my Kindle. Ditto with teas and coffees, so I had a bottle of water with me. For environmental reasons, I’m not a fan of single-use towels and gowns but was heartened to learn that Hugh Campbell salons have invested in biodegradable ones. I’m also not a fan of community transmission so understand that such precautions are necessary on a temporary basis.
For me, the addition of some extra precautions and procedures didn’t at all impact on the salon experience and overall, paled in comparison to the result. I crawled into the Colour Zone and bounced out. Having spent weeks housebound, in a daily uniform of leggings and a topknot, today made it feel like normality is most definitely making a much welcome comeback.”
Maria O’Dwyer, Ph.D