The Beauty Diary: You can still go to your beauty appointments if you practice good hygiene
A good pamper session can be the ultimate way to unwind – but as stress levels reach terrifying new heights in the grip of the coronavirus outbreak, are once relaxing beauty salon trips safe anymore?
It’s a question many Australians would love the answer to following the government’s “social distancing” strategy to avoid spreading COVID-19. Official advice from the Department of Health states a distance of 1.5m needs to be applied between people – especially those who are sick or appear unwell.
In unavoidable situations such as work, taking public transport or popping to the supermarket, it suggests eliminating contact such as handshakes and hugs while good hand hygiene practices, particularly if you cough or sneeze, need to be used at all times.
But what about those professions where human contact is unavoidable?
At present time, social distancing is government advice not legislation so businesses are still operating – but only with stringent hygiene systems in place.
Mark Rippon from the Hair and Beauty Industry Association (HBIP) told news.com.au its beauty industry members were following government information and advice from The World Health Organisation.
“Our focus is the safety and protection of all workers and clients across all beauty sectors,” Mr Rippon said.
“Salons are disinfecting all frequently touched objects and surfaces continuously throughout the day.
“All staff are using alcohol-based hand sanitisers before and after treatments and have it on hands for customers too.”
He also explained that shared items, such as magazines, have been given the boot to prevent harbouring and spreading germs and that hairdressers or beauty technicians may wear gloves during treatments or face masks.
“Personal protection equipment (PPE) is really great now, there are gloves you can’t even feel,” he added.
“Face masks aren’t recommended by WHO, but we find it helps make guests feel more comfortable.”
HOW IS THIS AFFECTING HAIR APPOINTMENTS?
Celebrity hair stylist Anthony Nader, who runs RAW in Surry Hills, has said he will continue to run his salon under the basis of what the government restrictions allow but will close if it becomes “mandatory to shut”.
“We understand clients concern but honestly, you need to not worry,” he said. “Salons are very on top of practising in a clean and safe workplace.”
Most beauty businesses use cleaning standards set by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stating areas and equipment need to be sanitised with a formula of 4 teaspoons of bleach to 1L of antibacterial cleaner. This has also been approved by the CDC for best tackling coronavirus germs left on surfaces.
“We are taking every precaution and measurement to ensure the client and team are safe,” Anthony said, adding “enhanced cleaning measures” were the norm since the virus became a certified pandemic.
“Every time a client sits in a chair and directly after client has left the chair, it is sprayed down and wiped along with its surrounding station with antibacterial cleaner.”
As standard protocol, all gowns and towels used are cleaned in a hot cycle and never used twice between washes.
Franck Provost Australia – who run 14 salons across the country – is also taking massive strides to ensure coronavirus guidelines are met while seeing clients in this era of social distancing.
“Hygiene is already a big part of our concept, however we have been extremely transparent about the additional measures we have taken,” Raphael Veron, General Manager of Franck Provost Australia, told news.com.au.
“We always disinfect tools before and after every client but we have added extra measures, such as disinfecting the workstations regularly throughout the day and replacing our usual dishes (glasses and coffee cups) with single use recyclable paper cups.”
If you’re not feeling well it is advised to stay home with most hairdressing salons offering clients the chance to reschedule booked appointments without any repercussions or fees.
WHAT ABOUT SKIN TREATMENTS?
Services such as facials and cosmetic injections are still possible under “social distancing”.
Just like the haircare industry, skin clinics are adopting extra safety measures, Marie Enna-Cocciolone CEO and founder Inskin Cosmedics told news.com.au.
“Hygiene and sanitisation is not new to the beauty industry,” she said. “The government is taking tight precautions and we support that – but it is still business as usual.”
She said extra precautions were in place in light of the pandemic, so if you’re visiting a facialist or having a cosmetic top up, you can expect to see extra precautions in place.
“Professionals are now wearing a masks and taking client and staff temperatures before starting a treatment,” she said, urging anyone who has booked in for a treatment and who feels unwell to not come in.
Cosmeceutical nurse Kelly George from KG Aesthetics also stressed its on the client to help uphold the guidelines as much as it is them.
“We’re asking all of our clients to sanitise their hands upon entry to our clinic and again before going through to the treatment rooms,” she told news.com.au.
“We’ve also reduced the number of people we see in a day, leaving 15 minute gaps between each client to minimise the number of people in the clinic at any one time.
“This allows ample time for additional disinfecting of the rooms and reception area. We are cleaning every pen, folder, and door handle touched. We also clean the EFTPOS machine between each client and any surfaces ghat have been touched by either client or staff member.”
Kelly said KG Aesthetics had also waived the usual cancellation fees – a move many clinics had taken.
Less than a week into the changes, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on March 13, and Kelly said turnover is down.
“There’s a sense of fear as we are being advised to practice social distancing and people are questioning if cosmetic work is really a necessity at this time?” she said.
“Of course, people should stay home if they are concerned, but keep in mind that businesses like mine will suffer as a result of COVID-19, so when life returns to normal, please head back to your favourite clinic and help get things moving again.”
This is a sentiment echoed by Scott Morrison himself who said on Tuesday that “wherever possible, we need to keep Australian’s working”.
ADVICE AGAINST BEAUTY TREATMENTS DURING THE OUTBREAK
There are some professionals who have warned against any kind of beauty treatment during this period of self-isolation.
Dr. Robert A. Norton, a professor of Public Health at Auburn University in Alabama, said it is “wise to avoid crowded spaces for at least the time being” as there will always be some level of risk.
“People need to consider whether the necessity of the appointment or trip overrides the risk of being in public,” Norton told People. “That is a personal decision, but social distancing is a wise move for now.”
At this stage, you can still decide whether you want to go to a normal beauty appointment or prefer to stay at home. Salons are doing everything they can to uphold the 1.5m safety rule but there is still a risk.