Why You Shouldn't Get Your Hair Done At A Salon During The Coronavirus Pandemic

by Kaitlyn McLintock
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Stores, restaurants, and schools are closed. Major events like the Met Gala have been postponed, and most of us are social distancing —separating ourselves in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19. While California, New York, and other cities and states have placed mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses, such as hair salons, in other parts of the country doors remain open for the time being.

Without daily appointments, many people in the beauty industry will lose crucial income, and for many customers, a hair appointment is an opportunity for self-care and connection. Although it's not advisable to get any kind of hair treatment right now, because it puts you and your stylist in close contact with one another, there are ways to keep supporting your local business. Here's what doctors, owners, and industry experts have to say about the risks of getting your hair cut right now and how to help salons and stylists who've been affected.

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Why You Should Cancel Your Hair Appointment Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak

Now's not the time to make a trip to your stylist, according to Dr. Richard Firshein, D.O., Leading Expert in Integrative and Precision-Based Medicine and Founder of the Firshein Center. “In general, people should observe the six feet rule,” he says, referring to the precautionary measure of staying at least six feet away from others. He also says there should no more than 10 people at any gathering, per new government guidelines.

Because stylists have to be close to their clients, and multiple people come in and out of a salon on any given day, keeping your appointment undercuts the basic premises of social distancing and can help spread the the virus. (The primary way it's transmitted is via respiratory droplets emitted from a cough or a sneeze. Maintaining a distance of six feet minimizes the potential for this transfer). “The fundamental idea is two-fold," Firshein says. "One is to reduce the contact between individuals that would ultimately flatten the curve — a term used to reduce the stress on our medical system to reducing the number of infections over time. The second is to try and reduce the number of people infected.”

IGK colorist Olivia Casanova seconds the call for social distancing. “Salons should definitely be closed during this time,” she says. “By just staying home, you’re protecting yourself, your hair stylists, and anyone else the two of you may come into contact with. It’s just not worth the risk.”

Are Salons Allowed To Stay Open During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

Unlike hospitals and grocery stores, salons are non-essential businesses, so they should be closed in cities with restrictions set in place. If they're open elsewhere, medical experts advise against going for sake of spreading the virus.

For those shops staying open, it’s far from business as usual. “The sanitation aspects of salon visits are now on high,” says Robin Groover, stylist for African Pride. “Those who have opted to stay open for private salon visits are tasked with being more vigilant on their sanitation methods.” These salons are taking only one customer at a time and frequently wiping down tools and surfaces. “These professional acts of safety protect the stylist and client and may change the way salon visits are treated in the near future," Groover says. "This reset button is an eye-opening experience to realize how fragile systems can be without contingency planning.”

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What You Can Do To Support Your Local Salon Or Stylist During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Forgoing a hair appointment doesn’t mean ditching self-care or even your stylist. “I’m suggesting that all my clients just give their hair a little bit of TLC right now,” Casanova says. “There’s no better opportunity than when stuck at home to sit around with a hair mask on. I use IGK’s Offline 3-minute Hydration Hair Mask.”

Carmen DePasquale, stylist and CEO of ECRU New York, suggests using ECRU New York’s Ultra Hydrating Masque and staying connected with brands and hairstylists through social media. "We have to remember that this industry is responsible for boosting morale and helping people look and feel their best,” he says. “This is a time when that is needed most. We have to continue to do our part, however we can in a way that prioritizes health and safety first.”

You can also support your stylists financially. “Let’s keep our favorite salons open by getting gift certificates for future use,” Firshein says. “We can get past this, but we need to be very socially responsible."