If you can’t wait to go to the salon, here are some things you need to know before you go.
During the height of the pandemic, when hair salons were shuttered, a series of funny “quarantine hair” images made their way around social media as we grappled with grown-out locks and too-obvious roots. Through it all, getting back to the salon has been one of those things most of us couldn’t wait to do.
Even though you may finally be able to get your hair done, you may be wondering if it’s really safe to do so. Not every salon or barbershop is open yet, and not all are following the same safety procedures. Guidelines vary from state to state, and even county to county – and some salons are taking more precautions than others.
So before you run to the nearest salon to get in some much-needed grooming, it’s a good idea to ask these questions first:
What safety precautions are you taking?
Not every salon will follow the same guidelines and your comfort level should depend on what your particular salon is or is not doing. Some will do the minimum required, while others will take additional precautions to keep their staff and customers safe. Before you make an appointment, ask about social distancing, safety and disinfecting protocols. Will you be required to wear a face covering? Is the staff wearing masks and/or face shields? Are they taking people’s temperatures? Are there dividers installed between stations? Have they moved chairs far apart from each other? Do people have to wait outside until it’s time for their appointments? How are they keeping everything clean and disinfected?
Will I be getting the full treatment?
Some salons might not offer shampooing or may have temporarily suspended shaves, since those can’t be done with a face mask on. Since hair dryers blow air around and the virus is transmitted through particles in the air, you likely won’t be able to end your visit with a blow-drying session. Find out what you can and cannot have done when you schedule your appointment.
Do you take walk-ins or do I need to make an appointment?
You’ll most likely need an appointment, even at many chain salons where walk-ins used to be the norm. To practice social distancing and follow capacity limit guidelines, appointments will probably be staggered, with enough time in between so one customer can be gone before another arrives. Although it may be an inconvenience, look for a salon that limits customers and allows enough time for extra cleaning between appointments.
What other changes can I expect?
Ask about prices, since they may have increased since your last pre-pandemic visit. In order to reopen safely, salons and barbershops have had to stock up on personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. Modifications like barriers between haircutting stations cost money, too. Since they’re likely using fewer chairs and staggering appointments, overall revenue is down – not to mention that they were closed for several months, during which they earned no income at all. Many salons and barbershops have also stopped taking cash, so be prepared to pay with a credit card or a money app on your phone.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 8, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD