It’s been six months since I had a haircut. It took a while to have my much-awaited grooming because salons were not among the establishments allowed to operate during the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine). They just opened this GCQ (General Community Quarantine), but safety protocols are being implemented to ensure the safety of both guests and stylists.

Working from home and being confined inside the four corners of the house is a bit draining, that I also feel I needed to destress through a hair cut. I was even teasing my sister and mom to cut my hair at home because I’ve seen several people doing it for their loved ones this lockdown. They’ve always rejected me because they are afraid to destroy my hair. Desperately, that convinced me to look for a salon and get a proper haircut service.

It is required that customers wear face shield and face mask.

My Options

This quarantine, it really matters a lot if the establishment you are visiting is following the safety measures. I have nothing against going to local salons within the vicinity but there is a huge possibility that they might lack the safety equipment or protective gears. I’m used to having my haircuts in parlors in our neighborhood, but this time it pays to be extra careful. So to be safe and sure, I had my appointment at Bench Fix in Bonifacio Highstreet. There is no Bench Fix in SM Aura so I looked for other branches near my place. I also checked the rates of the other salons in SM Aura such as Toni and Jackey and Basement Salon, but their base price is a bit expensive compared to Bench. Besides, I just want a decent hair cut— nothing else.

I called the branch and scheduled my appointment. I want to ensure that the salon is open and is accepting haircut services at my preferred time, so I booked in advance. I also asked if they are accepting cashless payment and what are the other requirements before entering the salon.

Safety Protocols

Before entering the premises, the guard at the entrance took my temperature. There is also a foot bath where guests can disinfect their footwear before stepping inside.

When I reached the reception, I informed the lady that I have an appointment. I was asked to log my information and fill up the details using the QR code for contact tracing. Usual questions such as travel history, symptoms, etc., will be asked. It’s really advisable to download a QR code scanner on your phone as you will be using it a lot these days for contact tracing in restaurants, salons, and other establishments.

Love their sanitation reminders branding!

I was then ushered to the salon for women. I left my bag in a plastic bag and it was placed inside a wooden cabinet. I just took my valuables such as wallet and phone with me.

The Service and Facilities

My hair was shampooed before the hair cut proper. The shampoo smells really nice. All of the staff are wearing masks and PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment). The chairs are wrapped in plastics and each station has an alcohol. There are markers on the floor for social distancing.

Before doing my haircut, the stylist cleaned his hands with alcohol. He told me that compared to the holidays before quarantine, the salon is filled-up with customers. This day is a bit different, having just a few people getting their haircut but he’s quite used to the “new norm”. He also refuses clients asking him to do home service even if these are regulars, because he wants to prioritize his safety as well.

I requested a haircut that is easy to maintain. I know that this work-from-home-slash-isolation set-up will be prolonged indefinitely so I wanted to sport a hair style that does not need much combing or shampooing. The stylist told me that having a short hair above the shoulder is prone to “fly-away” but that did not make me hesitate. After all, I’ll be staying at home most of the time so I just want a short hair for a change.

Here is my hair before:

Here it is after:

Close-up look:

After my haircut, I paid by credit card and claimed my stuff. My haircut is Php 350 for basic shampoo and cut. I felt lighter and better. I am comfortable maintaining this for quite some time. I am very much satisfied with the service of Bench Fix and I might be a regular customer here during the quarantine. Thanks to my sister Jaika for supporting me in this even if it caused her hassle to drive me to BGC.

My Personal Takeaways

This quarantine, we slowly accept that things have changed. We adjust and we survive to get our essential needs. For me, it does not cost too much to ensure your health, well-being and safety. After working hard this pandemic, we all deserve this. Just do your proper research and prepare ahead. For those who are still struggling to make ends meet, may we find ways to rise above this crisis. Let’s think outside the box and get out from our comfort zones to achieve the change that we want. Let nothing hinder us from reaching our dreams; not even this pandemic.

Other practical tips:

  1. Senior citizens and those below 21 years old are not allowed in the salon.
  2. Companions are allowed and can wait at the lounge.
  3. Call the salon in advance for appointment.
  4. Download the QR scanner application for easier logging of details.
  5. Face mask and face shield are required.

List of Services:

Bench Fix Salon
Address: 3rd flr, Bench Building, 9th Ave., Bonifacio High Street, Taguig,
Metro Manila
Contact number: (02) 8551 3149
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed