The Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) will present comprehensive recommendations to Government this week in an effort to open salons earlier.

Hair and beauty salons and barbers are scheduled to reopen here on 20 July, according to the roadmap for easing of restrictions. 

The recommendations cover critical areas of the day-to-day operations of salons and the IHF believes they will enable them to reopen in a manner which is "safe to both staff and customers".

The proposals are supported by several other organisations in the hair and beauty sector.

It is expected the final document will include over 110 specific recommendations which will help keep salons safe from Covid-19.

Incoming President of the IHF Danielle Kennedy said: ''Foremost in our thoughts is the well-being of our staff and the safety of our customers.

"The recommendations will radically change how we do our business, which will see the extensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitisation procedures.

''There are 25,000 people employed in our sector and we want to ensure they can come back to work safely.

"I have been talking to hundreds of hairdressers in the past few weeks and they can't wait to get back to work because they love their job and they love their customers.

"Our customers come in, they talk with the staff, find out the local news and they all go home feeling great. It's a vital local service, especially for the elderly.''

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Kennedy said the IHF is recommending that salons only allow customers in by appointment and carry out pre-screening to see if clients have been abroad or ill recently. 

She said that salons are well equipped and have good sanitisation procedures and it will be recommended that salons "take this up a notch". In addition, salon workers will wear masks. 

The IHF represents over 400 salon owners nationwide, who in turn employ over 5,000 stylists.

A hair salon in Malaga, Spain where staff wear PPE and customers must wear masks

Barbara who runs a hair salon in Ballina, Co Mayo, told RTÉ's Liveline that the Irish Hairdressers Federation's call to return to work earlier than the 20 July is not shared by everyone.

Barbara, who's not a member of the IHF says they only represent about a tenth of the hairdressing industry, and says she and her three staff want to return to work when it's safe to do so.

She says they will be very, very busy whenever they return so there's no point in rushing it.

She said she too, is struggling to pay her bills, but she thinks health is more important in this situation.

She also said that her suppliers have said they will not be ready to provide suitable materials such as disposable towels until the middle of June as they're waiting on their stock.

She said one of her suppliers said some of the disposable towels would not be available to him until September.

She said she expects that prices will have to increase as the hairdressers will be facing further costs.

Advice for DIY haircuts and colours

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, a hair stylist said those with dark hair can touch up their root colour at home, but people with blonde hair should stay away from home dye kits.

Susan Collins, who runs a salon in Greystones, Co Wicklow, said: "A lot of the time when blonde is involved, the damage can't be fixed by putting more blonde over it unfortunately. The best thing you can do for your hair at home is leave it alone".

Barber Paul Cole, whose business is also in Co Wicklow, also advised clients against reaching for the kitchen scissors.

"You're not going to get a clean cut," he said. "You're going to give yourself potentially damaged hair. If you are going to give it a go, you can get cheap hairdressing scissors online."

Mr Cole said that it is "not so bad" for men at home, and that most can get away with trimming it themselves.

"Providing when they do get back to their barber they don't expect miracles," he added.

Countries where hair salons have reopened include the US and Italy, where face masks are obligatory for customers and staff and there are strict limits on the number of people allowed in a salon at one time.

In Spain, some salons have erected plastic sheets between customers. No walk-ins are allowed and staff wear PPE while customers must wear masks.