Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
Housemates enjoy midnight beauty treatments as England's lockdown eases
12 April 2021, 05:56 | Updated: 13 April 2021, 05:20
Housemates in south London have enjoyed midnight hair and beauty treatments as lockdown restrictions across England were eased.
Beauty therapists visited the Balham home of 27-year-old friends Isabella Robinson and Amy Pallister as the clock struck 12 on Monday morning.
The lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England allows salons and hairdressers to offer long-awaited services to their clients for the first time since the third national lockdown began on 6 January.
Pubs and restaurants with gardens are also allowed to welcome back customers from today, along with indoor gyms, swimming pools and non-essential retail.
In south London, the co-owner of Secret Spa, Emily Ewart-Perks, set up the at-home salon and spa alongside hair stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson.
"It's so amazing. It's just been such a long time coming," Ms Ewart-Perks said.
"I know that our therapists are just so happy to be working with clients again.
"Everyone has really missed the social contact of the day-to-day job and making clients happy. We haven't been able to do that for the best part of five-to-six months."
Although she welcomed the news of England's lockdown restrictions easing, Ms Ewart-Perks said the announcement was initially met with some apprehension.
"When Boris (Johnson) made the announcement that close contact beauty therapy could go ahead, I think a lot of people had been waiting for the news, just to be 100 per cent sure, because the last reopening from lockdown we were given dates and then the dates were delayed," she added.
"It was kind of staggered. It was hair first, then treatments to the body, and we had to wait ages for treatments to the face. So we had to do a lot of cancelling and moving appointments on that lockdown reopening.
"So I think people were very nervous (this time around), and when it was confirmed we just saw a surge of bookings."
The increase in demand inspired the Secret Spa co-owner to offer midnight services.
"We realised we had quite a few regular clients who we weren't able to book in on the first day back, so we thought 'why don't we open the first moment we can?'
"And then we're filling a lot of people in at dawn - a lot of 6am haircuts. Which is amazing, because people are going to have their hair cut and blowdried and then they can get on a Zoom call.
"The first day back is going to be double our best-ever day to date. I can't believe we're here."
Ms Pallister, who was the first person to get their hair cut on Monday morning, said the pampering could not have come sooner.
"It feels amazing, I can't stop touching it," she said.
"(It's been) about seven or eight months since my last one so I had some very split ends.
"I'm very impatient, so I didn't want to wait. (I booked it) as soon as they could fit me in."
The 27-year-old added that the hair cut was the first step in a return to normality.
"A bit of self-care and pampering definitely makes you feel better, so I'm really looking forward to getting back into the pub gardens and feeling a bit more like myself, rather than being cooped up indoors," she added.
"I've got an excuse to get my nails done and put my makeup on and just enjoy life a bit more now.
"I'm also hoping my new haircut will get me a date. I've been single for a long time now, so I reckon it'll help."