Are beauty salons open now in the UK and what treatments are allowed?

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  • The hair and beauty industries were some of the first to close when the lockdown was announced in March, due to the personal contact required between the beautician and their client.

    But, they were among the last businesses to reopen – following after ‘Super Saturday’, where pubs and restaurants, along with hairdressers, cinemas, hotels, zoos and other businesses were allowed to open again for the first time.

    Industries such as beauty and hospitality reported great losses during the lockdown, with companies such as Boots reporting closures of stores across the UK. As such, the delay in reopening beauty salons and similar businesses frustrated many people. Especially as the industry employs over 370,000 people, according to The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC), and they have been one of those worst hit economically by the virus.

    So can we have our favourite beauty treatments again?

    Are beauty salons open now?

    Beauty salons were given the go ahead to reopen from 13th July. Along with beauty salons reopening, nail salons, massage parlours and spas will also open to the public.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, “Having allowed hairdressers to reopen, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can now do the same, I’m pleased to say, from Monday [July 13].

    “Of course that will be subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services.”

    Following the announcement, Abi Selby, Founder of Spabreaks.com revealed that she is  greatly relieved UK spas will be opening from Monday 13th July.

    She said, “Along with the wider spa industry including the UK Spa Association and British Beauty Council who have been working tirelessly to get the industry open again, I am immensely relieved to hear spas will be able to open their doors from Monday to the many people that enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spa treatments.

    In Wales, beauty salons were only permitted to reopen from 1st August, two weeks later than in England.

    And in Scotland, salons reopened on 22nd July.

    What treatments can you get at the salon?

    Currently, treatments at beauty salons are limited. So what treatments are you able to get if you visit a beauty salon?

    At the moment, customers can enjoy a:

    • manicure
    • pedicure
    • other foot treatments such as scrubs
    • body waxing
    • spray tan
    • some massages

    When can beauty salons do facial treatments?

    Facial treatments were initially banned when salons reopened, but were meant to return on 1st August. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that they were being postponed for at least two weeks, with a review at that point, due to spiking coronavirus cases.

    This means that you are still not able to get treatments such as:

    • LVL (lash lift)
    • eyelash tinting
    • eyebrow microblading
    • eyebrown and eyelash tinting
    • eyebrow waxing yet
    • derma-rolling
    • facials
    • professional make-up

    The government has said they will review whether these treatments can continue on 14th August.

    Why did beauty salons not open sooner?

    While hairdressers and barbers were given the green light to open on July 4, beauty salons and nail bars were not included on the list.

    A government source responded to BABTAC’s questioning over when beauty salons would reopen on June 24. They said, “In terms of why hairdressing 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.”

    READ MORE: Beauty Guild’s open letter to the Prime Minister: why are beard trims allowed but no face treatments?

    However, the government’s move to open other businesses, such as hairdressers and barbers, sooner than beauty salons, prompted criticism that businesses needed by females and run by females were being left out in the cold.

    MP Caroline Nokes criticised the government in Parliament before the reopening of salons. She explained that it appears the easing of the lockdown was ‘designed by men, for men’.

    She pointed out, “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 did beauty salons reopen in other countries?

    One of the first countries to open its doors to beauty salons was Denmark, who began opening their hairdressers and beauty salons from April 20, after being one of the first countries to go into lockdown. Closely followed behind them was Italy, which was initially one of the countries worst hit by the virus. They allowed hairdressers to open from May 18.

    When can beauty salons reopen?

    Credit: Getty Images

    In Switzerland, hairdressers and beauty salons have been open since April 27, while they opened from May 18 in Belgium and Poland. The Netherlands opened their salons a week before on May 10.

    Sweden, who never imposed a strict lockdown, have always had their beauty industry open for business during the pandemic.

    What will social distancing look like in beauty salons?

    The government has released new guidance for “close contact” businesses, including beauty salons.

    Just like hairdressers, a huge part of the beauty salon experience requires hands-on treatment. As such, some of the measures taken for social distancing include:

    • Waiting areas removed: Customers will be 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
    • Booked appointments only
    • Customers seated at least one metre away from each other and side-to-side.
    • Doors and windows open to increase ventilation.
    • Perspex screens at reception.
    • Some treatments will be off the table for customers.
    • Payment in advance by card: No cash is being taken for many appointments at the moment.
    • Therapists should wear a protective visor.
    • Magazines, food and drink are not allowed.

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