Thinking outside the box dye: Winnipeg salons finding innovative ways to provide hair care

WINNIPEG — Amid Manitoba’s second lockdown, Winnipeg salons are finding innovative ways to help their clients with hair care and keep them away from box dye.

As part of the province’s Code Red restrictions, hair salons have been forced to close their doors, which poses a problem not just for the salons, but also for the clients who rely on these services.

Gerald Pankiw, owner and stylist at The Loft hair salon, said during the first lockdown back in March, a client asked him about what store-bought box dye she should use.

“I just thought ‘Oh gosh,’ he said, noting that he decided to just mix up the colour for his client on his own and drop it at her house.

“The one thing with box colour is the molecules in the colour are just so large, it can really damage what we’ve created professionally on their hair. The last thing we want to do is have people mess up their designer colours with box colour because they’re not as custom obviously.”

After seeing how grateful his client was, Pankiw realized there was an opportunity for his business to generate a profit, but also help clients by creating custom hair colour kits.

Pankiw said his salon is doing about 50 to 100 kits a week, though it’s not something he intends to continue once they’re back to regular business operations.

“It’s almost like a mini side business here during (the) shutdown,” he said.

“It’s just great.”

Terri Einarson-Mollot, the owner of Aevi Spa Salon Boutique, said her salon has also been finding innovative and COVID-safe ways to take care of their clients’ hair, including colour and toning kits, ask an expert, virtual hair consultation, and instructional social media videos.

She also said these ideas came during the first lockdown when the salon’s clients were reaching out with hair-care questions, and asking about store-bought colour, but the stylists didn’t know what to recommend because it’s not something they use.

“It’s been so well received because people are at home and they’re strapped and they want their hair done,” she said.

“You don’t feel finished, you don’t feel like getting up if your hair looks bad, if you’re unhappy with how your roots are or any of those things. It’s just one of those great ways to make people feel better.”


Despite the fact that these days Manitobans have few places they can go, Pankiw said hair care is still important because it helps people’s mental health.

“Even though no one’s really going anywhere right now, it’s just good for mental health, for people just to feel good about themselves even though they’re just at home and they’re not seeing anyone,” he said.

Einarson-Mollot said that even though people are staying home right now, they still have to look at themselves in the mirror and it’s important to feel good during these tough times.

“It’s just one thing that you can do for yourself, to make yourself feel better,” she said.

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