Women on the west coast love their self-care, so when favourite places of respite were closed due to COVID-19, they pivoted and became voracious consumers of home-based treatments and shared selfies of daily face masks, attempts at meditation and gel manicures. Now in peak summer temperatures, many a salon and spa have re-opened with safety measures in place that will change the way we engage our dedicated stylists, masseuses, and aestheticians.
Being denied those sweet moments away from the demands of our busy lives, has made the re-opening of salons and spas, so ridiculously tempting, but are we taking proper precautions when venturing back out?
We have already experienced significant impacts on behaviour such as self-distancing markers at grocery and retailer check-outs, no return policies, enforced wearing of masks, interacting with staff behind shielded plexiglass and other containment measures, so this also the new norm at the salon.
While it isn’t glamorous (and kind of icky), we need to be aware of the possibility of infection through our actions and those of the service providers. We consulted with Jeff Alford, president of The CBON Group, Canada’s largest supplier of professional infection control products, to get ‘the dirt’ on what is happening behind the scenes and how we can be prepared.
“The hands-on services and treatments provided by hairdressers, aestheticians, manicurists and massage therapists are going to be especially challenged to adopt similar restrictions in an effort to protect their staff and clients,” says Alford. “The new norm in the age of coronavirus is going to be accompanied by social awareness, where consumers assume greater responsibility for their physical safety and personal welfare.”
7-Tips for Salon Self-Care Safety
Here are seven tips from Alford that he suggests the public can look for as they return to their favourite salon or spa.
Be Aware of Salon/Spa Policy Changes
Before you book an appointment, be aware of the measures the salon or spa takes to keep clients safe while in their care. Their website, social media or eBlast notifications should be announcing changes in policy that may include: required use of face masks, restrictions in services, reduced (or extended) hours, no walk-ins, no waiting areas, no outside food or drinks, etc. Please become familiar with those policies and make sure you are comfortable with them before making a booking. We would hate for you to become Insta-famous for having Karen moment!
Do Not Be Afraid to Pick up the Phone!
Perhaps your local salon or spa is a little less tech-savvy with making updates through digital media. When your messages on Facebook or Instagram go unanswered – give them a call! Ask if staff will be wearing masks, what additional cleaning and disinfection practices are in place, and whether they are undertaking any screening measures like temperature checks. This knowledge will give you the confidence to continue with your booking or contemplate an alternative destination. Safety is not only about you, but the practices enforced upon the people around you as well.
Before You Enter…
Before pulling open the door, you should see notification of any changes communicated through signage or posted letters at the door or window. This signage will let you know that policies are being applied to everyone. Remember, the risk of infection does not just come from within the facility but also from other patrons getting their beauty fix.
Salon Reception, the First Line of Defence
A salon or spa’s primary objective during this outbreak is to prevent the introduction of viruses that can lead to infection. Larger establishments may have a greeter at the door who can screen clients before they enter the premises. Smaller salons or spas should have a physical barrier or reception desk that prevents clients from freely entering before being processed. Hand sanitizing gel, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves, disposal of outside coffee cups, form-filling, etc. may all be part of the new norm. If these measures are not in place, you may need to ask yourself why and what other precautionary steps are not being taken to keep you safe.
Social Distancing is Possible
While maintaining distance may not be possible when obtaining professional beauty services, your salon or spa should still be taking measures to respect the 2-metre social distancing rule whenever possible. They may remove waiting areas, limit capacity and offer by-appointment-only service to avoid over congestion. It may also involve closing every other workstation, shampooing sink, blow-drying area, etc. to ensure distancing.
Prepping for the Next Salon Customer
Each workstation should be clean and disinfected between each and every appointment. All disposable items used with a client must be discarded, and any manicure/pedicure tools should be disinfected in a soaking tray.
All points of client contact like work surfaces, chairs, face cradles, treatment beds, lamps, etc. should be disinfected according to Health Canada. You should be prepared to wait as some products may take as long as 10 minutes to do their job.
Ask Your Professional Beauty Practitioner
Feel comfortable to engage with your professional and have them address any health-related questions. They should start your appointment by letting you know what measures are in place to keep you safe before the commencement of any treatment or service.
In our new norm, social awareness will play an increasingly significant role in ensuring that our favourite salons and spas are well-positioned to protect their patrons from the risk of infection. This is not only true during the current pandemic but also during seasonal flu outbreaks or to prevent common infections associated with the spread of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Social awareness should always be front-of-mind, be practiced at all times, and shared with friends. Let’s keep everyone safe and pampered!
- Helen Siwak is passionate about content creation, marketing, shopping secondhand, promoting a vegan lifestyle, and supporting organizations and activists fighting against the status quo. She is founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Communications (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co). She is also the founder and co-host of V.E.G. Networking Group and soon-to-launch LittleBlack.Tee | firstname.lastname@example.org.
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