Over the sound of ripping wax-strips, nail drills, clippers and trimmers, Toyah Willcox invites us to eavesdrop on usually private conversations taking place in hair and beauty salons across the UK in BBC Radio 4 programme Beautiful Britain.
We drop in on appointments at Totally Polished in Blackpool, The Topiary Salon in Basingstoke, Smith Hair Studio in Edmonton and Not Another Salon in London’s East End.
From holidays and bingo wins to hospital appointments and bereavements, customers relish the opportunity to swap stories, gossip and enjoy an hour’s escape from the stresses of daily life. Beauticians and hairdressers are trusted confidantes, privy to shocking secrets, but they also provide an independent ear and a comforting shoulder to cry on.
For Toyah’s friend and hairdresser to the stars, Keith Wainwright MBE, a trip to the salon is also an important source of physical and social contact in an increasingly online world.
According to industry reports, women and men of all ages and means are spending increasing amounts of time, and money, at hair and beauty salons in the UK. British consumers spent an estimated 1.89 billion pounds on salon services in the last quarter of 2017. We find out why.
Producer: Victoria Ferran
Executive Producer: Susan Marling
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.