Many cities are shutting down — or, already have shut down — “non-essential business.” Yes, this is for the greater good of humanity and all, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy that our hair and nails are looking rough AF.
And speaking of rough, let’s not forget how rough our beloved stylists, estheticians and nail artists have it right now, too. They are staying away from our tresses and mitts and brows to stay healthy — and they’re also taking a huge financial hit.
So, what’s a person who loves beauty and their salon magicmaker to do? We have a few ideas.
What’s Going On?
Teen Vogue recently published a piece that lays out why folks should not get their hair cut or go out for a manicure right now — “Nail and Hair Salons Are Beginning to Close. How Will This Affect Workers?” According to author Arabelle Sicardi, you shouldn’t go to salons right now even if you’re in a location where those businesses have not closed.
Sicardi interviewed Amy Greer, PhD, research chair in Population Disease Modeling at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. One of the most important questions posed to Greer was the following: “Can you still go to the salon if you’re in a location where those businesses have not been forced to close?”
Greer responded that, “It is not safe to go to a salon right now. But it has nothing to do with the physical act of getting a manicure itself. Right now, we’re at a critical window for trying to slow down the spread of COVID-19. If we wait to act, intense disease spread will continue to occur, and this rapid increase in diagnosed cases will swamp our health care systems (as we have seen in places like Italy). What this means is that there will not be enough ICU beds or ventilators to treat the sickest patients.”
Teen Vogue also reported that most stylists and nail technicians are at a greater risk for contracting any type of illness that transmits from person-to-person because of the close contact they have with clients.
“People come in nauseous, with foot fungus, flu, colds, infections all the time. Nail techs fight containment without pandemics,” Noel Tayler, a nail technician, told Teen Vogue. “The masks most salons use are not viral grade. For me and a lot of other workers, there’s not a lot of preparation I can realistically do. Nails tend to be 1099 contract work, and [it] doesn’t come with health insurance.”
Like everyone out there, salon professionals are hurting.
“Please don’t pluck your own brows!” — the wonderful woman who’s been doing my brows for years
Be it hair, nails, skin care, waxing or whatever, the amount of “beauty maintenance” one participates in often slips into the background, unnoticed or unacknowledged, until you find yourself unable to get that fill.
I’ve already had two conversations with loved ones about hair frustrations. One involved my mom saying she hates her ever-growing, long hair. The other conversation was with my husband, who reported that a lot of the fellas at his work are shaving their heads because they can’t give themselves a haircut. So, needless to say, everyone is feeling “overgrown.”
At the same time, salon workers of every type are pleading with clients to avoid chopping, hacking, plucking, trimming, biting or otherwise diving into the base they have created. A suspicious person might think this is because they want you to come back to their services when the quarantines are lifted, but a realist knows that eyebrows (for instance) are best shaped by a professional — and if you try to do it yourself in your dimly lit bathroom with a pair of blunt tweezers, the damage you’ll do will be far greater than a few weeks of overgrowth.
So far, a few publications have published pieces concerning how one can deal with messy tresses during the quarantine. Dazed Digital recently published a piece filled with hair tips from Alex Brownsell, owner of Bleach, and Into the Gloss wrote a “how-to” on not messing up at-home hair color. For nail aficionados, Violet Grey sent out a (very fancy) guide touting an “effortless at-home manicure.” It’s all data, right?
Gentle experiments while you’re on Day XX of house arrest could be fun and enlightening — Who knows the looks you might discover?! — but try to take a measured approach to those aspects of your routine that take ample time to grow out.
It so hard not to have ur nails done for me going from nails to no nails is really hard it’s been over a week now I’m on my 2nd color this week 2nd time was a bit more easy to do as I wanted my nails to look better I guess the fun part of this is getting the color right ??
— ??TsBlondieNYC ?Best Trans Clip Artist ?? (@TsBondienyc) March 24, 2020
Helping Your Stylist or Technician (If You Have the Means)
There is also the question of finances. Whereas some people and careers are able to operate seamlessly from home, many people — like salon workers — are being significantly impacted by quarantine mandates. To help your salon workers make it through this health crisis, we suggest the following:
– Ask if your stylist or technician has Venmo or a Patreon of some-sort you can donate or subscribe to.
– Send your stylist and technician the amount of money, plus tip, that you would normally pay them had you not had to cancel your appointment(s).
– Recommend your stylist or technician’s work to friends and family when COVID-19 gets under control.
Teen Vogue also recommends donating to the One-Fair Wage Emergency Fund, “which directly supports a variety of tipped workers right now.” Besides stylists and manicurists, it supports restaurant workers, delivery drivers, and more.
The online magazine also recommended to check out the following: Click to view a “visual map of global support listing fundraisers and local mutual aid networks.” It’s constantly being updated, too.
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As a small business this has hit hard ! However the love is so real ? Thank you for checking up on me & thank you so so much for continuing to send deposits for “future appointments “ ?? You ladies have definitely made me shed some tears !!! I love you all so much & appreciate you with every ounce of me. This wouldn’t be possible without you ! Thanks & thanks & thanks a million times more ! #nails#appreciationpost#thankful#myclientsarethebest#morethanclientstome#love#life#mypassion#nailtech#thankyou#smallbusiness#supportlocal#latina#uñas#agradecida#??
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via email@example.com.
Background header image via Unsplash here.