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May 21, 2022 05:00 PM

Craig Gullett from Salon 1925 hoped silent appointments would provide calm to those struggling with mental health during the pandemic. Photo / Dean Purcell

Kiwi hair salons have added a new service to their list – the silent treatment.

As well as highlights, balayage and a trim clients are now offered some peace and quiet with their booking.

The promise of a no chit-chat booking is available at a growing number of salons in New Zealand – and it’s welcome relief to those needing some downtime and a mental break.

At Salon 1925 in Auckland, co-owner Craig Gullett introduced silent appointments just after the first lockdown to give stressed and overwhelmed clients a break.

The bookings are on a Sunday and Gullett took one booking at a time to ensure quiet.

“We introduced the silent bookings to give people anxious because of Covid or just worn out the assurance that their time would be relaxing,” he said.

“The salon can often be quite chatty so we have special bookings on Sunday so the only thing we discuss is the treatment plan.”

The message on Salon 1925's Facebook page offers silent appointments without judgement.  Photo/SuppliedThe message on Salon 1925’s Facebook page offers silent appointments without judgement. Photo/Supplied

Gullett said conversations at the chair often included talk of the pandemic which could be stressful for many.

“The silent bookings just ensure the client can relax and enjoy their experience with us.”

The silent services have been a hit overseas with most salons and spas offering the option.

Craig Gullett from Salon 1925 in Auckland has individual spots on Sunday to ensure the salon is quiet.  Photo / Dean PurcellCraig Gullett from Salon 1925 in Auckland has individual spots on Sunday to ensure the salon is quiet. Photo / Dean Purcell

Salon owners say the pressure to chat or remain upbeat during a visit can be overwhelming for those struggling with mental health because of the pandemic.

The expectation to talk to someone they don’t know for more than an hour can be offputting for some, said Loz McKenna at Wellington salon, Miss Fox.

Staff members at the Cuba Street salon promise to “zip it up while you get some well-deserved zen” and McKenna said the service was designed to cater to everyone.

“It can be quite overwhelming for some people so if people want a bit of quiet time they can just make a note when booking online or tell us over the phone and we are happy to accommodate.

“A lot of places from salons to supermarkets are offering quiet time so it just makes sense,” McKenna said.

The Powder Room in Wellington also offers silent appointments “free from the social pressure of conversation”.

And nearby So You Salon acknowledged quiet time was hard to come by and people were “constantly bombarded by advertisements, images, texts, calls and emails”.

On its website the salon offered silent appointments with the explanation: “‘Being connected’ has a price and if your mental health is suffering because of it, please do not feel obligated to be ‘on’ during your hair appointment.”

“Your hair appointment is your own and [is] a safe place for you to get some peace and quiet, reflect and take time for silent self-care.”

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