ALL THE BEAUTY SALON COVID MEASURES IN PLACE &
WHY YOU NEED TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BEAUTY THERAPISTS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
When our beloved beauty salons, spas and hairdressers closed their doors back in March, nobody knew when they’d be allowed to reopen again. The first few months we longed for the pampering treatments that filled our diaries, and for the moments of ‘me time’ they provided in a fast-paced and incredibly busy digitally-led existence; but over time we learned to live without a fortnightly manicure, taught ourselves via YouTube how to tint our own lashes and even ventured into the unknown world of box dyes. The pandemic may have forced our hand, but there was joy in the discovery of something new and a sense of self-satisfaction that we could ‘do it ourselves’ when push came to shove. So many Zoom calls were prefixed with a conversation about who’d dared to dye their own hair, or attempted to cut their other half’s overgrown locks, so it provided a much needed talking point – if nothing else.
We weren’t going anywhere, we weren’t doing anything, we weren’t seeing anyone… So it didn’t matter if our brows weren’t perfect, that our home hair colour was a bit patchy or our nails were manicure free. But as the world began to turn again, and the beauty destinations that were almost a sanctuary for women (and men) across the nation reopened, the first thing on our list was inevitably a much overdue pamper. And you can bet I was first in line! (I even wrote an ode to my hairdresser here!)
Taking the first step through the doors to the salon felt like the first day back at school: excited to catch up and get back into a routine, but anxious about anything new and feeling like I’d forgotten how everything works. But once I got into the swing of it, it honestly felt no different.
Over the last couple of months I’ve been back to the hairdresser twice, had my nails done, had my brows overhauled and even had a couple of massages (this girl loves a pamper) and I’ve been super impressed with all the measures that have been put in place to make me feel at ease. The beauty industry was already one of the best for implementing hygeine measures, so much of what they do remains the same – but there are a few new practices that will help us all feel secure and happy to get back to the beauty salon.
WHAT’S NEW IN BEAUTY SALONS
1. Temperature checks at the door
Although this isn’t mandatory, most places I’ve been to have taken temperature readings before you’re allowed to have your appointment. It’s usually a handheld device that’s just pointed at your face to ensure you’re not unwittingly showing symptoms.
2. Face masks to be worn at all times
Pretty self explanatory, but when most places re-opened these weren’t mandatory. Now both client and technician have to wear masks at all times, as well as visors if they’re performing certain treatments.
3. Lots of hand washing and hand sanitiser
Most places make you either pump a little into your hands before you enter, or escort you off to wash your hands before you start. It depends on the individual place as to how they execute this, but nothing should be a surprise if you’ve been anywhere in the last couple of months.
4. Appropriate space (and time) between clients
You may find it harder to get an appointment in some places in the short-term, as they ensure there’s enough time between clients to thoroughly clean and sanitise the area you’ll be hosted in. To keep to the ‘1 metre plus’ rule, most salons are also implementing less stations (by spreading them out if they’re mobile) or masking off every other chair to prevent clients from sitting too close.
5. Screens up to protect technicians
In my experience this has been at reception, and in the case of nail salons at every individual station. Even sitting having my nails done behind a plastic screen didn’t feel odd – and if that’s not a sign of the times, I don’t know what is.
6. Working in ‘bubbles’
Something I’ve found quite interesting in a few places I visit is the fact they’ve split their teams into two, allowing them to work in smaller groups and therefore minimising the amount of people that they come into contact with. My hairdresser is now open 7 days a week but only half the usual stylists are working at any one time, which is such a good idea in the short-term.
With all these measures in place we should all be getting back to enjoying the regular appointments that leave us feeling confident and content. But, that’s not necessarily what’s happening.
Over the last month or so I’ve had numerous conversations with professionals who, despite the initial boom in treatments, have found themselves with a very sparse looking diary. Many of my local hotspots are struggling, as many people are coming back less regularly or have chosen not to return at all. It could be the fact we’ve prioritised what’s important to us and where we’d like to spend our money, and regular pedicures just aren’t the one; it could be the fact we’ve all had to learn to do it ourselves, so have comprimised in favour of a big saving vs in-salon treatments; it could be the fact some of us are just too anxious right now, and haven’t managed to explore beyond our local supermarket – so sitting in a salon chair for a few hours seems like an impossible task.
Whatever it is, these often small and independent businesses are struggling. Really struggling.
Not only have they faced months of closures, the expense of implementing appropriate Covid measures and the restrictions that having both less staff and clients on the premises at any one time, but now the request for treatments is also drying up. These businesses contribute billions of pounds to the economy, but many have received no level of support from the government – so it’s up to us to help keep them afloat in any way we can.
If there’s a salon you love, a nail technician who does the best nail art or a brow lady who’s like a miracle worker, support them. Book an appointment, tell your friends, share it online… These little things can make all the difference and have the potential to keep a business afloat during the most troublesome time of a generation. We don’t all need to be booking three different treatments a week (hey, last week I got may hair done, had my nails manicured and got a massage – but I know I’m not the norm!) but every little helps.
I love the beauty industry. It’s filled with so many incredible women making a real difference, because beauty isn’t just about looking pretty; it’s about giving us the confidence we need to walk with our heads held high, to boss that presentation, to ask for a pay rise and to let judgement wash over us… So let’s all try to get back into the beauty salons, if we can, and support those businesses who’ve undoubtedly supported us in more ways than we realise over the years.
Have you been back into salons or spas yet? Let me know what measures have been in place that make you feel safe, or if you’ve given up certain treatments post-lockdown… I’d love to know!
WHERE I GET MY TREATMENTS DONE LOCALLY
(THE BEST BEAUTY DESTINATIONS IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE!)
BROWS: Aimee Purser Beauty (pictured above)
Such a talented and lovely HD brow technician who operates from her beautiful coverted home in Wendover; her salon is fully equipped and beautifully styled, plus she really knows what she’s doing.
NAILS: Palace Nails and more recently Top Nails
Great for a quick pedicure or ‘dipping powder’ nails that are stronger than gels, quicker than polish and less damaging than acrylics. They even have an Instagrammable flower wall!)
HAIR: Lifestyle Hairdressing
I used to go here years ago, so when I moved to the area it was my first choice. Affordable, super attentive and always prepared to go the extra mile to get the result you want.
MASSAGE: The Massage Company
I’ve had a massage subscription since they opened over a year ago, meaning I get a monthly hour long appointment for a much reduced price. I recommend this to everyone local as it’s such a great idea. Ask for Diana!
FACIALS & OTHER TREATMENTS: The Beauty & Blow Dry Studio
Although this is a little bit far from me now, it’s such a beautiful salon that does pretty much everything: nails, hair, facials, treatments… You could totally spend the whole day here getting pampered from top to toe (and I have!)