As we transition out of quarantine and begin going back to any sense of normalcy, our favorite hair salons are opening back up. Many of us were overjoyed to hear that we could get our ends trimmed, hair colored, and get the much needed touch-ups that we were so desperately missing during quarantine. We all know maintaining our hair was no joke in lieu of our usual routine and visits to the salon. However, going back to the salon isn’t as simple as booking your appointment or walking in on a whim. As customers we want to feel safe and go back into the salon knowing we’re protected while getting our hair styled or cut. 

For several businesses closing during quarantine was swift and abrupt that put a pause on scheduled appointments and left many people out of work. For many salon owners, providing a space that is comfortable, safe, and clean per CDC recommendations can be challenging as they manage their businesses. There are many functional components to consider when reopening a business whether it’s how many stylists to higher, how to provide social distancing between chairs, and of course sterilizing your materials between customers. We talked to a few salon owners and got their opinions and plans on how they have changed their salon protocols, what customers should expect during their appointments, and how they can prepare at home.

 

Latasha Johnson

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“The new protocol for salons is actually what we are taught in cosmetology school and is the way I have been operating for almost 20 years. Sanitation and disinfection have always been my top priority for mine and my clients health and safety. I have incorporated the use of masks required for myself and my clients as well.   

My clients can expect a one-on-one client/stylist experience. Sanitizing chairs, bowls, sinks and anything that comes in contact with the skin after each client. The best way for clients to help is to be prompt and on time for their appointments,  don’t bring extra people and pack light. No large bags or food”or any kind. 

The most important thing for clients to do at home is protect their hair at night by using a bonnet or satin scarf. Second would be maintaining moisture and that process is determined by the style you're currently wearing. But keep in mind that water is moisture so water based creams, leave-ins, and moisturizers are best for maintaining moisture between salon visits.”

Aishia Strickland

“Believe or not the salon experience had already transformed quite a bit prior to COVID-19.  I work exclusively with tight curl clients and the experience that many remember from their relaxed days is a lot different. First time client appointments are not necessarily relaxing as there is a lot of education being covered. The major thing that COVID-19 has changed is having to wear a mask, no clients in the waiting area, and having to work on one client at a time.  Sanitation isn’t necessarily new to us, however I’m definitely going to be on top of it.

Clients should expect to receive information on protocols being put into place to insure their safety and well being. Due to the distancing rules there will be less bodies present in the salon. With those changes in operations clients should also expect an increase in pricing. Clients should be prepared to follow their stylists detailed instructions. They can also help by not showing up to the salon ill. And most importantly take all measures put in place to protect us all seriously.”

Rachel Renae Paz

“I think for most people, visiting the hair salon is seen not only as a service of maintenance but a moment of self care. While we will try our best to maintain the relaxing ambiance we want clients to know we are taking social distancing practices very seriously.

Clients should expect fewer guests in the salon (in order to maintain 6 ft distance). We’ve also asked that clients come by themselves ( I know sometimes we like to bring friends or family)to arrive exactly on time or be prepared to wait either in their car or outside. This is in an effort to minimize client exposure to other guests.  

Clients will be required to wear a face mask (one that loops around the ears so we can access all angles to cut ) and to keep talking to a minimum. It’s tough I know but talking too much with the mask on is difficult and can also spread germs. When clients arrive we ask that you not bring outside food/ open container drinks (a water bottle is fine), limit personal items to a small handbag, and come with hair that is clean and detangled. We will be keeping blow drying to a minimum so some styles may have an air dried finish.”

 

Andrea Mororo

“The atmosphere will change by not having our traditional parlays at the salon where there can be multiple guests in the waiting room. We have provided greater space between all of our stylists to cater to our guests individually throughout the time of the service. Most salons have stopped serving refreshments like drinks, however the client may still bring their own. We have naturally gravitated to a more spa feeling experience to help enrich more of our client’s senses like oil-infused aromatics to help ease any discomfort from wearing protective masks and to provide a relaxing environment. The salon experience will transform itself by serving the clients to feel the most safe and comfortable.  

Expect to wear protective face mask coverings, having your temperature taken upon arrival, and washing your hands. We have requested that clients call the front desk as soon as they arrive for their appointment to make sure the stylist is ready to receive them. Clients can prepare by following up with new guidelines the salons have posted and to check in with any questions they may have prior to their upcoming appointment. Since we are in an industry to make people feel beautifully themselves, we definitely don’t expect anything in return. We have been appreciating the patience and understanding from everyone. It just feels so good to be back doing what we love and hope to bring some peace and relief to everyone adjusting back into their lives. 

I feel as though this is the best opportunity to allow our hair to just ‘do their thing’. Maybe cut back on the amount of stylers used and give time for our scalp and hair to breathe. It may be a longer wait time getting into a salon but there have been more stylists taking steps outside the box to provide individualized virtual consultations for at home care.”

 

Yessenia Reyes

“We have to wear PPE. I think wearing face masks and face shields all day long will be the biggest adjustment. We have to make revisions and updates to salon policies to bring awareness to clients about safety precautions. Because hairstylists cannot social distance as they service clients, we have to reduce our conversations. It will be a very different experience. Still enjoyable but in a new way.

Everyone will be wearing face masks in the salon with the stations now being 6ft apart. Some salons will have dividers up for additional safety. The usual waiting area will no longer be available for sitting. Clients are now expected to be seen at the exact time of their appointment which is actually a good thing. No more late appointments. Washing your hands and hand sanitizing will be a part of the salon experience. Hair Stylists can see only one client from beginning to end, they cannot serve two clients at the same time which is a good thing. The client will have the stylists undivided attention. 

First thing, remember your stylist also experienced the same thing the world did. This is an adjustment for the stylist as well, patience will be important as things will be different. Switch out your face mask when you get to the salon for you services. Be sure it's a mask that goes behind the ears. Avoid using cash. Ask your stylist for their cashless app accounts for tipping. Be on time. Stylists need to prepare properly for the client after by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting stations. If you're wearing gloves remember to bring an additional pair to switch out when you get to the salon. Most importantly, if you are not feeling well, have a cough, or allergy symptoms, please reschedule your appointment.”

 

Mayssa Deeb

“The salon has such a fast paced setting. I see anywhere from 13-20 clients a day! With the new protocols set in place, this will change completely! I will not double book clients as I normally did in the past. I will be with one client at a time. As crazy as this sounds to me, it will also be very refreshing because I won’t be bouncing around between clients. I know many clients will like this change!

In addition, the salon will no longer have a  waiting area. We will prompt the client to call when they arrive and the receptionist will call the client once I am ready to service them. In between each client, my station will get a complete wipe down. I will sanitize everything I and my client touched. All tools I use will also be sanitized in between each client (this was always done previously).  

Furthermore, I will be wearing personal protective equipment and the client will wear a mask. The client can not bring in an oversized purse (something small that can be held), coffee or food. Also, the salon must maintain 50% capacity including the front desk, the stylists and the clients. In return, there will be an outside area for clients to relax while their hair color processes.

Lastly, It is so very important for the client to continue hair maintenance at home. I know it is not easy to do this with everything else we have to do at home! However, I suggest my clients do a deep conditioning treatment at least twice a month, especially for those clients who color their hair. I also advise my clients to do cleansing or detoxing treatments. An aloe vera treatment is excellent for this. Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp!”

 

Kristy Ramos

“The salon experience will be more sterile & expect it to be like this for a while since the virus will be around for a while. Right now as salons are open/getting ready to open there are new safety & sanitation protocols to follow from the CDC & our local state licensing boards. As hairstylists we are already trained in safety & sanitation in our work spaces. With the aforementioned now with the COVID-19 coronavirus we are all taking the extra precautions per the guidelines that are best for our businesses. 

The new guidelines in place means that service providers will be spending even more time cleaning & sanitizing between clients, there will be no more double or triple booking services, service providers won't be able to offer special treats (beverages/wine/coffee/tea/snacks) for clients, & most services will be in & out since service providers are catching up on cancelled appointments & some won't be able to offer some services (no blow drying/only root touch ups/etc.).  

Salons that have bigger staffs will have to operate at a certain capacity in the beginning of the reopening phases. Hair Stylists that work in salon suites will have an easier time transitioning since most of us already work one on one with our clients.  If you have a business of any sorts, I highly recommend having an email list for customers & an updated website to make sure your important information gets out to everyone.  Everyone is not on social media all the time so information can get lost in the algorithm so I believe the best practice to relay important information is through an email subscriber list & a website.

Whether you’re taking care of your curls at home or pending a visit to the salon, remember to be patient, follow their guidelines, and communicate any concerns with your stylist prior to your visit.