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Monday, November 23, 2020

Trendspotting: Salons transform into mini clinics in the time of COVID-19

To ensure social distancing salons are giving fewer appointments and in hotspots like Mumbai and Delhi, stylists are heading back to their home towns, maybe for good

Written by Nagina Bains | Chandigarh | July 17, 2020 11:40:38 am
covid 19, coronavirus, coronavirus beauty industry, beauty parlours, coronavirus spa, social distancing, indian express lifestyle, i A common consensus would be that salon and spa professionals are excited to see their clients again, but they want everyone to remain safe and hope clients remain patient as they figure things out. (Representational photo: Reuters)

Like that faithful cup of coffee, a salon trip can do much more than arch the eyebrows and cover the greys! From a regular hair wash to make-up, a therapeutic manicure and pedicure, it’s a ritual which is a treat to the body, mind, and spirit. The pandemic, slowly and surely, has revealed its many colours and as we enveloped its reality, we probably never realised how much can be done at home, in terms of beauty therapies.

COVID-19 has also resulted in a formidable shift of plans and actions for salon owners, who’ve had to transform their salons into mini clinics. “Who had ever heard of PPE kits that my therapist has to adorn to bleach my facial hair? And the fact that I am uncomfortable with people I have known for years, makes me feel guilty,” laments Radhika Singh, a law graduate.

To ensure social distancing salons are giving fewer appointments and in hotspots like Mumbai and Delhi, stylists are heading back to their home towns, maybe for good. Shalu Swani, the entrepreneur behind Stylush, a make-up academy and salon believes that accepting the new norm and adaptation is the key.

“The safety and health of our clients is paramount, as we adapt to the new norms and increase our awareness. We are on our toes with periodic health checkups of our staff and daily checks to ensure the safety of our clients and our staff. At Stylush, we have introduced the concept of using disposable material for beauty services — disposable towels, pedicure kits, hair colour and facials. We also have an option of take-away. Clients buy hairbrushes, cutting scissors et al, take them back home and bring them back for their next appointment. We have set up the UV rays sterilizing units which are usually used in the hospitals and a pre-check list for guests, which includes the details of their well-being, with their temperature checked as per MHA guidelines. They are made to wear disposable gloves, shoe covers, mask and their handbags and mobile phones are put in a separate bag that they can carry inside the salon. Our staff is in full disposable gear and there is no face-to-face interaction, with the conversations between the service provider and client taking place through the mirror. The idea is to build confidence,” shares Swani.

Nail spas and eyelash extension spaces have also gone in for an overhaul. Most of them have removed magazines and books, glassware, cutlery, chair pillows, handbag baskets and beverage services from their premises. The process of selecting nail paint colours comes in with disposable gloves each time, with beauty salons and makeover cafes going out of their way to ensure safety for whoever walks in.

A common consensus would be that salon and spa professionals are eager and excited to see their clients again, but they want everyone to remain safe and hope that clients can remain patient with them as they figure things out.

As Simran Chadha of Iris by Simran in Sector 9, Chandigarh puts it aptly, “These days our primary concern is ensuring a safe and hygienic environment at all times for our patrons. Pre-Covid times were conversations over coffee and bonding at the salon and I am sure those times will come back soon. Our salon ethos was always about the experience, and everyone will walk out feeling tranquil, beautiful and relaxed. We have just added another dimension, 100 per cent safety with precision and love.”

Well, let’s agree food and beauty has been our comfort banks during these times. So if a visit to the salon and the grocery store is a must, then let’s do it, but like they say, ‘dekho magar pyar se and dhyan se.’

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