It’s been about three months since the Covid-19 pandemic turned our world upside down completely, and it’s taken us all some time to adjust to the new normal. While the pandemic is nowhere near over, some states have slowly but surely begun to reopen their economies and are allowing some businesses like hair salons, to start seeing clients again. We’re sure you’re excited to head back to the salon and give your mane the TLC and root touch up it so desperately needs, but it’s important to know the salon you’re walking into is going to be nothing like the salon you’ve frequented for years.
Despite the plans to reopen the economy, social distancing guidelines are still in effect, and salon owners and staff have spent the last few weeks completely rethinking the salon experience. To get a better idea of what to expect when you head to your first salon appointment post quarantine, we caught up with a few salon owners and stylists to give us the scoop.
Photo Credit: Amy Hemeyer
How have salons been preparing to reopen their businesses safely?
Salons may have been closed for weeks, but that doesn’t mean stylists weren’t working. After shuttering their doors, many stylists and salon owners found solace in social media where they were able to connect with others in the industry.
“There is a special connection we share through a love and passion for the industry,” says Amy Hemeyer, Matrix artist and owner of Handcrafted Hair Parlour in Columbia, Missouri. “I have reached out for advice, techniques, and quite honestly just to vent feelings good and bad.”
These connections go way beyond Zoom happy hours, however. Stylists from all over the country have been able to share their safety tips and how they’ve begun to prepare their salons for reopening.
Photo Credit: Amy Hemeyer
How will the salon experience be different?
Your salon experience will be different from the moment you arrive at your appointment. While exact protocols vary from state to state and salon to salon, there are a few safety precautions most salons are implementing to create a safe environment for stylists and clients alike. First, salons have done their best to make the salon experience as touchless as possible, from doors that can be opened and closed by the receptionist to touchless payment options.
Your stylist will likely greet you at the door wearing a mask. Before entering the salon, you may be asked to remove your mask and replace it with a disposable mask provided by the salon.
“We carry disposable masks that are easy to maneuver around for color and cutting services,” Hemeyer says. “I am discovering that homemade masks are not always conducive to a haircut or chemical service.”
Your stylist will then ask that you wash your hands and maybe even sign a waiver and check your temperature, before continuing into the salon for your service. Once inside the salon, the changes and newest protocols will become even more evident.
“Returning to the salon after Covid-19 closures will certainly look and feel different. Think traditional salon meets medical office—perhaps collides, is a better description,” says Cheryl Segraves, Matrix artist and stylist at Pure Style salon in Huntingdon, Tennessee. “Signage throughout the salon. Nonverbal communication limits the need for extra conversations about the challenges, keeping the focus on the service. Social distancing kept at 6 feet by arranging the salon for the new flow. Hand sanitizer at every station.”
Some salons are taking even more precautions, erecting plexiglass partitions between salon chairs and shampoo bowls. If you want to know what precautions your salon is taking, call your salon and ask a few questions before booking an appointment.
While the new rules may feel extreme, they do come with a few perks. Before social distancing measures were put in place, many stylists would double or triple book clients to try and maximize the number of clients they see in a day. That used to mean sometimes waiting for your stylist to deal with another client before coming back to you. Now stylists are only booking one client per appointment, meaning you’ll have your stylists undivided attention your entire appointment.
“Appointments may take longer to get, as well as longer to do. But what will not change is the joy of the relationships and the warmth of the people in the environment,” insists Julie Klein, Matrix artist and stylist of Patricia Hill Color Studio in Kennesaw, Georgia. “That will always remain the same!”
Photo Credit: @bellezabylinnea.
Will all of the same services be available?
Salon protocols aren’t the only thing being overhauled. You may notice a few changes to the salon services menu as well. Some salons are eliminating services that they feel may unnecessarily put people at risk, such as blow drying. While blow dryers are meant to dry and style your hair, they also blow air around the room, which is a big problem when you’re trying to mitigate an airborne virus. Instead, your stylist will either send you home with a fresh cut and color for you to dry on your own or will craft your hair into a sleek wet style.
“As of now, we are not offering blow dry services to our guests in the salon. Because of that, the only service we're not taking on are large color correction projects that may cause us to have to blow dry in between correction steps,” Klein explains.
Beard services are also off the table, for the time being, so men get comfortable using your clippers.
“At this time, we are not offering beard trims,” says Sarah Dennings, Matrix artist and stylist at Hair Lab Tampa, in Tampa Floria. “One of our policies is masks must be worn at all times, which make beards trims impossible for right now.”
You may also notice a slight price increase to your regular cut and color or an additional charge to cover the cost of personal protective equipment.
“I personally have increased a few prices that needed adjustment, benefitting the cost of additional supplies and the fact that I am seeing fewer people in a day,” explains Hemeyer.
Your salon will likely notify you of any change to the cost of your service, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead of time to confirm.
Photo Credit: Amy Hemeyer
How long will these changes be in place?
Much like everything else effected by Covid-19, the future is unknown, but stylists are hopeful that some of the changes are for the better.
“I absolutely believe this will change our industry forever. I believe the slowdown in our schedules and the strict cleanliness will be the new normal,” Klein says. “I think stylists will keep a more balanced work/life schedule. I cannot tell you how many stylists have felt this strong need to slow down in their lives. It has been a breath of fresh air to be able to breathe a little freer and to be in less physical pain.”
However this changes the beauty industry, one thing is for sure, stylists are the ultimate chameleons and will always find a way to create new and exciting hairstyles, colors, and techniques.
“I am so grateful to work in the industry of innovation,” Hameyer says. “The constant change is what lights my fire.”