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Health & Beauty

Top Tips For Your Impending Return to Your Salon

It’s probably been close to 5 months now from your last hair appointment, and while salons everywhere will often scold their guests for use of home colour, it’s unfortunately become a fact of life for many in this last year, and along with home haircuts and those ‘fun’ pastel shade toners, they’re about to make the jobs of hairdressers everywhere much more difficult over the next few months. Here are our top tips to make sure you aren’t the straw that breaks the camel’s back when you can finally get to visit your favourite salon!

Stop Using Your Silver Shampoo Now!

While it’s touted as the saving grace for many blondes, the fact is that the pigments that allow your silver shampoo to do its job will get in the way of you achieving your dream colour. They’re designed to filter out any warmth, which is what most people think they need, but the build-up of pigment can sadly interfere with your goal. A few good clarifying shampoos will get rid of all the extra stuff, letting your hairdresser see what they’re really working with.

Stop Using Your Silver Shampoo Now!

Give Your Hair a Treat!

Most of us haven’t really had any reason to style our hair for the best part of a year, other than to just feel a bit more normal. At home, we generally don’t use much by way of styling products, meaning your hair gets a real battering from styling outside the salon. Give the hot tools a break and start using an intense conditioning treatment every time you wash your hair to get it in the very best condition before you get back to the salon! 

Be Careful With Your Home Colour (and why you should always patch test)

We don’t generally recommend using colour yourself, but we’re well aware that most people will have had to. Always make sure you patch test with your box colour (the instructions are always printed on the packet) and be extra careful with your application. Home colour is unpredictable, and if we don’t know what the concentration of ingredients is, we can’t always guarantee the end result. You’ll also hopefully see your salon requiring you to have a new patch test before your first appointment, it’s for your safety and to make sure we don’t get sued, so please don’t skip this, they won’t legally be able to look after you without it! 

“Stay Realistic and Reasonable”

Stay Realistic and Reasonable

We know you’ve been dreaming of your perfect hair for months, but with tight schedules, extra-long roots and uneven fade, your best bet is to be as reasonable with what you expect to be possible as you can. We really aren’t in the business to shatter your dreams, we want you to have the hair you’ve been brainstorming with your friends all year as much as you do, but with all the uncontrollable factors this year, it just might not be possible straight away.

Be honest with what you want, and prepare to wait

Finally, and probably most importantly, please make sure you have an honest conversation with your hairdresser about what you’d actually like to get and where you’re starting from. A great idea would be to request a video consultation beforehand if you’re not sure or to book one in person along with your patch test. It’s a great way to make sure you have enough time allocated to get exactly what you want, but if it’s a big change or a corrective process, expect for it to take more time than you’re used to. As you’re well aware, the levels of perfection we aspire to don’t happen easily!

With this information, you’re well-armed to be your salons favourite client, and although we rarely say it, it could mean that we somehow find you a space when we’re fully booked in future!

Originally having commenced a degree in fashion management, Matthew trained in colour and cutting in a 5* Belfast salon, having advanced certificates from four major colour brands, he has soaked up so much knowledge in how to create your perfect look. Furthering this training, he went on to work backstage on various catwalk shows at London Fashion week, with published in the Sunday Times Style Magazine and featured on Vogue.it, Styling Supermodels and Starlets. Following his dream of creating a creative space to work and provide training he went on to co-own The Glam Studio.

Health & Beauty

Update on Implementation of Mental Health Action Plan

A progress update on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Mental Health Action Plan has been published.

The Action Plan was first published in May 2020 and contains 38 actions which will improve mental health services going forward. It also includes a plan on dealing with the mental health response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Commenting on the update, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “It is now 12 months since I published the Mental Health Action Plan and I felt it was important to provide an update on this work at this key juncture. 

“I am pleased to report substantial progress has been made against the actions contained in the Action Plan.  This is a considerable achievement, particularly given the additional, significant pressures related to Covid-19 and the challenges encountered by all those working to support people with mental ill health during this period.”

The progress update highlights key achievements including:

  • The creation of a Mental Health Champion;
  • Approval of the business case and securing of £4.7m funding for the development of a specialist perinatal mental health community service model;
  • The establishment of the CAMHS and Forensic Mental Health Managed Care Networks; and
  • The launch of a Mental Health Innovation Fund.

A number of reviews of key services were also commissioned as part of the Mental Health Action Plan including a review of: crisis services; transitions from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health Services; eating disorder services; personality disorder services; low secure in-patient services; and rehabilitation services.  The outworking of these reviews will help inform future strategic policy and service delivery.

Minister Swann continued: “The progress that has been made is due in no small part to the drive and dedication of so many people working tirelessly to improve services and to ensure that mental health is given the priority and profile it deserves.

“However, challenges remain and much still needs to be done. The Action Plan was always intended as a short term measure to kick start the reform of mental health services.”

One of the key actions set out in the Mental Health Action Plan was to develop a new, ten year Mental Health Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Concluding Minister Swann said: “The Strategy is my Department’s long term strategic plan to address the pressure on mental health inpatient beds, to meet the increased needs created by the pandemic, and to put mental health on an even footing with physical health.  I also hope it will bring us in line with mental health provision in other parts of the UK, and indeed, once fully implemented, ensure Northern Ireland has a world class mental health system to be proud of.”

The draft Mental Health Strategy 2021-31 was issued for public consultation in December 2020.  It is intended to publish the final Strategy this summer alongside a funding plan, which sets out the resource requirements to implement the Strategy.

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Health & Beauty

The Rainbow Project Welcome Introduction of Fair Project on Blood Donations

The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) will soon be starting to assess donor eligibility on a person-by-person basis for declared lifestyle choices; instead of applying across-the-board restrictions which have previously excluded potential donors. Using a donor’s individual experiences to determine whether that person is eligible to donate makes the process fairer for all donors and means more people will be able to give blood than ever before.

It also means all donors will be asked the same questions – regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

These changes to the way UK blood services assess the risk of transfusion transmitted infections incorporate the key recommendations of the 2020 FAIR (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) Report. The recommendations were designed by epidemiology, sexual health and infectious disease experts to make sure we keep the blood supply safe while making blood donation fairer and more accessible to all. NIBTS are working in collaboration with Rainbow Project to ensure all those eligible to donate blood can do so safely.


The new FAIR risk assessment will be implemented in England, Scotland and Wales will come into effect on 14th June 2021, while in Northern Ireland the change won’t come into effect until September 2021.

Best Available Medical Evidence

Speaking about the change, Director of The Rainbow Project John O’Doherty said: “We welcome the implementation of the Fair Report and the new rules surrounding blood donations. These changes mean a large number of people who have never been able to donate blood will be eligible to do so. We would like to thank the Health Minister, Robin Swann, for ensuring that decisions related to blood donations are based wholly on the best available medical evidence and that policies are implemented on a UK wide basis.

“This is an issue we have been campaigning on for over 10 years including the implementation of an individualised risk assessment. During that time, we have been clear that donating blood is not a right, but a civic responsibility on all of us who are eligible to do so. The focus of The Rainbow Project will now turn to encouraging all those people who are now eligible to register as blood donors. Security and sustainability in our blood supply is a continued pressure across our health service – and while vocal and visible support for the NHS during the pandemic is to be welcomed – one of the most effective ways we can support our NHS is through donating blood.

“While we are disappointed that Northern Ireland will not be implementing the new assessment at the same time as the rest of the UK, we understand the reasons behind this and welcome the ongoing communication from the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service and their commitment to ensuring staff are trained on the use of the new assessment process. The COVID 19 pandemic has had a huge impact on all aspects of our health service. Rather than spending the next 3 months condemning the Blood Transfusion Service, we will be directing our resources towards supporting the implementation of the new system and encouraging all those who are eligible to donate blood.

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