When can beauty salons open again in the UK? The latest updates on restrictions

As Boris Johnson announces his Christmas Covid plans for the country, when can beauty salons reopen across the UK?

are beauty salons open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After being able to open over the summer, in recent months beauty has had to shut up shop once again. So when can beauty salons open again? Can beauty salons open in tier 3? Here's the latest news... 

With the Prime Minister due to confirm plans for Christmas this week, many of us are wondering: when will beauty salons open again?

With restrictions varying across the UK, many of us are wondering if we'll be able to get that last minute lash lift or blow dry in before Christmas. So when can beauty salons reopen for those of us patiently waiting for a fresh manicure? Here are the latest updates from the government (and it's good news!).

Will beauty salons open on 2nd December in England?

The wait is almost over, as the Prime Minister confirmed today that all "non-essential retail" – which includes beauty salons – will be able to open when England's lockdown ends on the 2nd of December. This means nail salons, hairdressers, massage parlours and beauty salons will all be able to open next month.

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“We are delighted that government have heeded our collective call and confirmed that all hair and beauty can reopen on the 2nd December within all tiers in England," says BABTAC Chair Lesley Blair.

"The evidence we presented to government has proven that, as a sector we already operate with higher hygiene and safety standards than most other industries. These facts have been backed up by the Scientific Advisory Group of Emergencies’ (SAGE) own analysis that the contribution to the R rate by close contact services was incredibly low.

“We hope that this evidence not only continues to allow our services to remain open, but that it will also provide the reassurance to clients that they can safely return to having their treatments done, at a time that is pivotal to the revival of many businesses while, equally importantly, contributing to the client’s own physical and mental wellbeing.”

Can beauty salons open in tier 3?

Yes, beauty salons will be open under tier 3 restrictions in England. This time there will be no local variations – like when beauty services were also closed in Nottingham on top of the official tier 3 rules. 

Can beauty salons open in Scotland?

Under Scotland’s tier system beauty salons can still offer services, with mobile services limited to haircuts only under tiers 2 and 3. Tier 4 is the only tier within which beauty services are completely closed, with 11 areas under these rules until the 11th of December. 

Are beauty salons open in Wales?

Yes, beauty salons are open in Wales. After a 17-day “fire break” lockdown, beauty services were allowed to resume on the 9th November, provided all of the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures were in place.

Are beauty salons open in Northern Ireland?

Beauty salons are currently open in Northern Ireland, but not for much longer. After a circuit break ended on Friday 20th of November, beauty services were allowed to reopen temporarily despite other non-essential retailers remaining closed. A stricter, two-week lockdown will commence on Friday 27th November.

Can close contact services resume when beauty salons reopen?

Thankfully, provided the relevant safety measures are in place, close contact services will be able to resume when beauty salons reopen. This means you will still be able to have facial treatments, including getting your brows done. 

In July, when hairdressers and beauty salons first opened in the UK, some services were initially off limits. This caused a significant amount of backlash as beard trims at the hairdresser’s were permitted, with many causing the restrictions unfair.

While some treatments, such as spray tans and manicures, resumed in July after the first lockdown, the following treatments were not permitted until mid-August.

  • LVL (lash lift)
  • Eyelash tinting
  • Eyebrow microblading
  • Eyebrown and eyelash tinting
  • Eyebrow waxing yet
  • Derma-rolling
  • Facials
  • Professional make-up

model getting nails done

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why did beauty salons not open sooner?

After the first lockdown 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’s questioning over when beauty salons would reopen on the 24th of June. 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?

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?

Earlier this year the government 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 included the following.

  • 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.

Don't know about you, but we're counting down the days until that long-awaited facial and mani!