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But if there’s one thing guaranteed to make the respected Liverpool stylist smile, it’s the thought of all those horrendous home hair-dos waiting for her and her team when they can get back into action.
“We can’t wait to get our hands on all those grown-out roots, home-cut fringes and dodgy box dyes,” she smiles.
“Watching all the hair disasters on Instagram and TikTok, I dare say there’ll be a fair few to sort out.”
And she adds: “I think the skills of our stylists will be more valued than ever before.”
Nor surprisingly for someone who has overcome difficulties, both professionally and personally, in the past Barbara is looking on the bright side.
Liverpool never stops amazing us, even 42 days into lockdown. There is still so much good shining through. ☀️Well in to @AintreeGin, @KnowsleySafari & Beechside Care Home. Keep in touch and get more info on our site https://t.co/xZDVN6S3RO.
Hope you are doing ok.
Jay ? pic.twitter.com/ThBV6BEr4o
— The Guide Liverpool (@TheGuideLpool) May 4, 2020
It’s not that she doesn’t envisage difficulties, but that she’ll face them with the same strength and resilience she has done any other, whether that was the ordeal of a compulsory purchase order in 2008 which meant she had to relocate her premises, or the fight back to recovery following a stroke at the age of 40 which left her learning to walk and talk again, and disabled for life.
“Obviously there have been difficult times that have tested me and my family,” says Barbara, “my stroke being the most life-changing of all of them. But I absolutely love my job and my clients, and there was no way I wasn’t come back to work.
“This time around we are all in this together, we have been – we are all being – tested.”
While there are thoughts lockdown will soon be eased at least, the future for businesses remains unclear; especially those with close personal contact. It has been suggested that hairdressers and barbers could remain closed for a further six months to ensure the safety of customers and clients because social distancing is impossible.
Barbara, 59, who works closely with head stylist daughter Andrea, closed her salon in the courtyard of the Hope Street Hotel the Saturday before lockdown was enforced.
“It was a really difficult decision to make as the future was so uncertain,” she says. “But we are, and always have been a team, and the health and safety of our staff was our primary concern.
“I think every industry will be worried about what post-lockdown will look like and the difficult part for hairdressers will be getting the balance right between fitting all our clients in as quickly as possible but also respecting that some will be vulnerable.
“Our hygiene measures will have to be even more stringent than ever which does, and will, take time.
“It is possible that we will have to wear PPE which will be strange. We base our business on a luxury service as much as great haircut and so masks will make the experience more clinical I imagine but if it’s a short term necessity we are happy to do it if needs must.
“If clients are wearing masks it will also be a change to how we are used to seeing them too!”
Whether it will be six months or less – or more – Barbara says: “Who knows what will happen in the future or when we will be able to re-open? The honest answer is that we just don’t know.” Although she laughs: “Hopefully we can get back to normal as soon as possible. I think Andrea will go stir crazy if she doesn’t get her hands on some hair soon. She’s already giving her kids weekly trims, they’ll be bald!”
But in seriousness she says: “We are listening to all the recommendations from the government and our governing body, the National Hair and Beauty Federation, as well as planning our ways to look after our clients and our staff.
“Their health is our priority, but we are expecting the unexpected.
“What I can say is the hair industry will come back from this, 100%. Hairdressing will survive this pandemic.
“We have had so many lovely messages from people just letting us know how much we’ve missed and, to be honest, I don’t think we’ve ever felt more loved. It will be different, certainly but we can’t wait to get back – the difficulty will be not giving every person who walks back through our door a great big hug.”
Barbara says it’s not just about how we look that makes being having to have our hair cut again as soon as possible that’s important, but how we feel too.
“Having your hair done has a massive effect on how you feel about yourself, so from a mental health point of view it is vital. Not being able to have it done will have a huge psychological effect on some people and this must also be taken into consideration.”
She admits it’s hard to stay motivated when no-one knows what lies ahead, but she’s appreciated at least the chance to pause and take stock at what, personally, she and her team have achieved and what they want to realise post lockdown.
“In time, we’ll all look back, hopefully with fond memories of the time some of us got the chance to sleep in every day, eat ice cream for breakfast and binge on box-sets.
“And enjoy fixing all those crazy colours and hilarious home dos.”
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