CHICAGO - We're all getting to that point of quarantine fatigue. We haven't seen our loved ones in person, we now wear masks when we leave the house and our hair has grown longer than we're used to.
So is it possible to re-create salon services at home during the coronavirus pandemic? Thankfully, a few local stylists are coaching clients on how to cut and color their own hair through Zoom.
Dottie Salamone, owner of Hair by Dot in Salon Loft, a working co-op for hair stylists and other folks in the beauty industry in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood, closed her salon March 21, following the governor's stay-at-home order.
She got the idea to coach clients on how to cut their own hair at home after she received an email from a client, Liz Parent, who was in need of a haircut. Parent asked Salamone if she could teach Parent and her husband, Mike, how to cut her hair over Zoom.
Having never done this before, Salamone used the Zoom call as a consultation to see what Parent wanted to do with her hair. After this call, Salamone recorded a video outlining all of the steps, using a mannequin head.
"I have a ton of mannequin heads because I used to educate in the industry," says Salamone, "so I did the haircut she wanted on the mannequin. That way, I was able to take all of their questions over Zoom, show them the hand positions and then make the video so that they could reference and go back to, if needed."
Parent, a registered dietitian from Deerfield, was looking to cut 2 inches of hair.
She says, "Dottie showed how to section the bottom and used clips. Luckily we already owned haircut scissors and a cape so I was thankful for that because I think they may be hard to find now. ... But the video made it pretty easy to cut the bottom, and then you keep adding another layer on top, until the whole thing is cut. While it was easy to follow for a quick haircut, I will be glad to be back in Dottie's chair when it is safe to do so."
Mike ended up cutting off 4 inches of Liz's hair.
"Even though he did cut off more than I originally thought," says Parent, "now I don't need a haircut for a while. ... My hair was really long. It sounds a lot worse than it could've been. But it turned out really nice anyway."
Salamone uploaded this video and other tutorials on YouTube. She customized these videos for clients and then shared them because they show the basics of cutting hair.
Salamone says she is asking for donations for these Zoom consultations so she can buy personal protective equipment once she is allowed to reopen. As of now, she is taking Zoom calls with established clients and is open to new clients.
Stylist Amanda Marshall, owner of Blush Hair, a studio within Sola Salon Studios in Lakeview has had four Zoom appointments.
The pandemic hit Marshall hard financially. So much so that she drove 14 hours straight to her parents' house in Houston.
In an email, Marshall says, "I have completely run out of money, maxed out my cards, and have not received a dime of government help. I am still waiting to see if I qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The system is a nightmare and a joke, and my industry got the short end of the stick."
She says she began Zoom hair color appointments because she did not feel comfortable giving clients take-home kits.
"But if they found the color or any color themselves - I would help them measure it and walk them through how to apply it on FaceTime or Zoom. Same thing with bang trims, little trims or cutting children's hair," she says.
One of her clients, with the help of a friend, bought the color line Marshall uses on Amazon. They called Marshall on FaceTime, and she walked them through how to measure out each color.
"We zeroed out the scale, measured 30 grams of the first color and 10 grams of the second color," Marshall says. "(My client) is a redhead, so 10 grams of the second color which is brown, helps to balance out the color so it's not too fiery where her gray hairs are," Marshall wrote. "Her friend did a great job applying section by section. I joked I could give her a job later if she decided to get into the world of hair! I let them know to let her process a full 45 minutes, as she has the most resistant grays ever. She hopped off FaceTime to process and then showered and sent me photos of her roots when it was done. They came out great and I was impressed."
Marshall says she is providing these services for established clients and has not been charging clients for virtual services. She says, "I did not want it to affect my PUA, and on top of that, I didn't feel right to charge for just a quick chat like that."
Tracy Ftacek, owner of Pretty Convenient Salon, with locations in Oswego and Naperville, closed both salons March 13.
Ftacek also owns the Pretty Convenient app, which provides makeup and hair styling services across the nation, a new feature that began the first week of April. The app launched two years ago but now looks different from the way it did before, due to the pandemic.
During the first week of the stay-at-home order, Ftacek says, clients began asking for help and online services.
"We had many clients who had appointments for color and extension removal that first week everything was closed," she says, "If extensions are left in for too long, they can damage the hair. They were willing to wait a little bit. But then, as time progressed, I realized their hair might get damaged if the extensions are not removed."
Similarly with color, Ftacek says some clients didn't want to color the part of their hair that has regrown but wanted to make the color in the middle and on the ends prettier. So she created custom color shampoos and conditioners and sent them to clients in what Ftacek calls Pop of Pretty boxes.
"Originally, (the boxes) started off local," says Ftacek, "But then I thought to myself, if we could launch this nationwide, it could help anyone. And it's just another way of support for the United States Postal Service and FedEx, and all of these companies that still need to be supported somehow through all of this."
For help with hair needs, clients can schedule their own private telebeauty appointment through the Pretty Convenient app, which is a private video call. Ftacek has coached clients on haircuts, color, styling, deep conditioning treatments and removing hand-tied hair extensions.
She says Pretty Convenient has two to three virtual appointments a week.
For folks looking to cut their own hair at home, Ftacek recommends being conservative. You can always cut more but you cannot put it back, she says.
"Hair stylists and makeup artists love people," Ftacek says, "and it's challenging to be away from clients because we miss them and we have meaningful relationships. ... There is nothing more special than being there with a client and providing a haircut or color or some sort of service and watching their faces light up with happiness from the results that you've given them. This is what stylists do. Our job is to see the pretty in everybody before they see it themselves. And I can't wait to get back to that."
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