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No bad hair days, despite cost of living crisis

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

7 Dec 2022

Fashion |Beauty

Image: Hair salon via Pexels

Growth in the self-care and beauty categories are proving resilient in the current economic crisis. The salon industry, which took a hit during the pandemic, is a 5.5 billion pound business sector, employing over 150,000 people.

Consumer goods company Kao, the world's fourth largest full-range supplier of salon products, commissioned a YouGov survey and BBC StoryWorks to highlight the social and psychological benefits of salon visits and underline the importance of the hairdressing profession.

The (non-hair) Highlights

While the results provide insights into the overall social relevance of an industry that offers more than just a simple haircut, more than half of the UK’s respondents say they plan on spending just as much money as before on visiting the hairdresser. Nearly 70 percent find salon visits a vital opportunity for self-care while a third attend appointments purposely to feel a confidence boost. A key component for this is the close bond experienced between hairdresser and customer, 51 percent deem the relationship they share with their hairdresser as close as that of a friend.

“The hairdressing profession needs to be more appreciated" says Peter F. Pfister, President of the international trade association Intercoiffure Mondial. "One thing is clear: hairdressers are masters of their craft. At the same time, they bring a high level of passion, creativity and empathy to their clientele. When people go to the salon, they are not only paying for a good haircut, but also for "being pampered" or for a "time out from everyday life".

Dominic Pratt, Global President Kao Salon Division comments, “the survey results confirm that hairdressing is about more than just craftsmanship: it is about relationships and giving people an offer that makes them feel good on the outside and the inside. The pandemic has severely affected the business, at the same time it has shown how much people value the services and trusting relationships they have with their hairdressing salons. We want to show that the industry not only has economic value, but also social value and how fulfilling working in this profession is.”

According to the National Hairdressers Federation (NFBH), there were over 46,000 hair and beauty salons in the UK in 2020. The growth rate following the pandemic was slower in the number of hairdressings, barbering and beauty businesses than in previous years. Only around 6,600 people started hairdressing and barbering apprenticeships in England in 2020/21 compared to around 7,000 in 2019/20.

The film “Confidence Through Craftsmanship” is produced for Kao by BBC StoryWorks as part of the “In Pursuit of Wellness” series presented by the Global Wellness Institute.