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How Beauty Creators Are Facing the Pandemic

Fashion Beauty Runway - How Beauty Creators Are Facing the Pandemic - Photo

If, as a consumer during this Covid-19 pandemic, you find it difficult to cope with an originally beautiful haircut gone rogue or that unsightly grey regrowth that even celebrities and TV personalities are starting to show, imagine being a hairstylist RN and losing all your income since your salon has to be closed, by law, in this period of self-isolation and social distancing.

We spoke to Nadia Abouwaked, a L’Oréal Professional hair ambassador in Canada, to find out how this situation is affecting her, and where she is channelling her creativity.

Fashion Beauty Runway: As a salon owner, what are the new realities in this era of Covid-19?

Nadia Abouwaked: I’m naturally a calm person and not too many things stress me, so, despite the crisis, I don’t feel very anxious. My priority is to reassure my clients that we’ll be here when things get back to normal, because everything is kind of in flux at the moment. The government is saying salons will be allowed to reopen on May 4, but we won’t be able to fit everyone in on that day. We’re going to have to find a way to stay open longer hours and find more staff, if necessary, to accommodate the tidal wave of appointments, once we’re given the go-ahead to open our businesses.

FBR: What specific actions are your suppliers and the industry taking to help salon owners and independent hairstylists?

N.A.: I think the industry is reacting in a very positive way towards us hairstylists and hair colourists. I do feel supported. L’Oréal Canada is being very accommodating, and I don’t have to worry about making payments immediately for products, but I’m concerned about the overall future of the professional beauty industry, because we were already short-staffed. Once we reopen, it’s going to be very difficult to fit all our clients in.

My clients are super supportive, and we reach out to each other often on social media. They tell me not to worry that they’ll be waiting for me and my team when we reopen. A lot of my clients work in the healthcare system, and I keep sending them messages to make sure they’re OK. Over the years, you really develop a close relationship with some of them.

FBR: When government restrictions are lifted, do you think there are going to be big changes with regard to professional beauty services from consumers?

N.A.: Post-pandemic, the first goal will be to serve as many clients as possible. I definitely feel a huge sense of responsibility to take care of everyone’s beauty needs. Things will stabilise, but then it’s going to become an economic challenge. A lot of people are going to see their income reduced because of job losses. Discretionary spending will be less. So, as hairstylists, we will have to come up with creative solutions to make the salon service much more of an experience that you can’t replicate elsewhere. A special ‘me’ service the client is willing to pay for.

Also, as a community of beauty creators, we’re going to have to be much closer, instead of competing with each other. It will give us strength. We’re going to have to start doing things together again. Some salons pay tens of thousands of dollars in rent every month, and I think it’s going to be very difficult for those owners to come out of this crisis in good financial standing. In the U.S., they are already reporting immediate salon closures, so I can’t imagine the same thing won’t be happening to us here in Canada.

FBR: Other than your work in the salon, you enter hair competitions regularly. Why do you need that creative outlet to express your artistic side?

N.A.: Creating a collection without needing to please a client is something that fuels my passion to craft something beautiful. It feeds my soul. When I work with clients, my main goal is always to please them. When I put together a collection, it’s only me I’m looking to please. But in order to do that, I have to work with a team that knows me very well, who understands what I’m trying to convey. When that happens, it’s really amazing what we can do together.

FBR: Tell us a bit about this beautiful high-contrast photoshoot, with flashes of yellow and blue hair. It’s absolutely stunning!

N.A.: First of all, I wanted photos that would show more than just a face and hair. My idea was to go for the full-fashion portfolio where you see all the clothes and you’re creating a total look. Plus, I wanted a play on light and dark – the collection is actually called Moonlight — and Alain Comtois, the photographer whom I’ve been working with for a few years, is really a master at creating these types of moods.

FBR: Tell us about the light in this photoshoot…

N.A.: Even if there are a lot of contrasting colours, and the background is quite dark, the light is designed to draw attention to specific areas of the hairstyle, the model’s face and the clothing…

FBR: …like anything else that’s beautiful, it’s a subtle balance between contrasts, shades and moods. Thank you very much, Nadia. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

N.A.: Thank YOU, Fashion Beauty Runway!

Photo Credits:
Hairstyle and Hair Colour: Nadia Abouwaked
Makeup: Marika D’Auteuil
Styling: Maude Sen
Photos: Alain Comtois

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