Beauty salons have reopened! Here's everything you need to know about post-lockdown appointments

Following Boris Johnson's published "roadmap", beauty salons and hairdressers have reopened

woman having a facial applied at a beauty salon
(Image credit: thianchai sitthikongsak via Getty Images)

Beauty salons and hairdressers in England officially opened again on 12 April after various lockdowns across the UK. 

Mobile therapists have also been given the green lift to resume business. 

But with restrictions having changed frequently in the last few months, many of us are wondering when - and how - we'll next be able to treat ourselves to a much-needed bit of pampering. Here's everything you need to know...

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When can beauty salons open in England?

Hairdressers and personal care services such as nail and beauty salons opened again in England on 12th April, 2021, according to Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” for exiting lockdown. This is the second of four stages of easing restrictions. The plan is for all limits on social contact to be disbanded and the rest of the economy reopened from 21st June (stage four).

This is subject to four criteria being met: the vaccine programme progresses as planned; vaccines are sufficiently reducing Covid deaths and the need for hospital treatment; current infection rates don’t risk a surge in hospital admissions; and new variants of the virus don’t change the risk level of easing lockdown. 

The country has been under national lockdown restrictions since 5th January, 2021. All non-essential retail and personal care services across the country – which includes beauty salons – have been closed since then.

When can beauty salons open again in Wales?

According to government guidelines, you can now visit all salons and hairdressers alone or with members of your household in Wales but social distancing measures must still be adhered to.

When can beauty salons open again in Scotland?

Nicola Sturgeon announced on 23rd February that salons may be able to reopen on Monday 26th April. 

When are beauty salons opening again in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is yet to set a date for beauty salons to reopen.

What can you expect from your post-lockdown beauty treatment?

The government has released guidance for “close contact” businesses, which includes beauty salons.

As with hairdressers, a huge part of the beauty salon experience requires hands-on treatment, and so some of the social distancing measures include the following:

  • Waiting areas removed: some customers are asked to turn up at their appointment on time or wait outside the salon
  • Increased hygiene and sanitisation, e.g replacement of all disposable items between customers
  • Appointments only
  • Customers seated at least one metre away from each other
  • Doors and windows open to increase ventilation
  • Perspex screens at receptions
  • Removal of some treatments
  • No cash, with card appointments sometimes taken in advance
  • Protective visors for therapists
  • No magazines, food or drink on offer

How did beauty salons reopen after the first lockdown?

In July, when hairdressers and beauty salons first re-opened in the UK, some facial services were still off limits despite beard trims being allowed in hairdressers – sparking significant backlash.

While some treatments, like spray tans and manicures, resumed in July, the following treatments were not permitted until the middle of August.

  • LVL (lash lift)
  • Eyelash tinting
  • Eyebrow microblading
  • Eyebrow and eyelash tinting
  • Eyebrow waxing
  • Dermarolling
  • Facials
  • Professional make-up

model getting nails done

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2020, hairdressers and barbers were given the green light to reopen on the 4th of July, but beauty salons and nail bars were not included on the list.

A government source responded to BABTAC on the 24th of June regarding when beauty salons could reopen. They said, "In terms of why hairdressing [is opening] and not beauty, the answer is because the government is taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening the economy to ensure that we limit the spread of the virus. 

"This means that choices have had to be made as to which businesses to reopen as part of the next phase."

The government's move to open other businesses, like hairdressers and barbers, before beauty salons prompted criticism that businesses run by women were being left out in the cold.

Caroline Nokes MP said it seemed that the lockdown easing was "designed by men, for men.

"What we have seen is female led businesses left to the back of the pile. It’s very obvious that men with hair need barbers and hairdressers; they perhaps find less need for pedicures and leg waxers.

"And it’s absolutely noticeable that the beauty industry has 90% female employees and the majority are women-led businesses. We’re preventing our women entrepreneurs from getting back to work."

When can beauty salons reopen?

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.