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We’re all missing our stylists right now (just ask my 6-inch grown-out roots). In fact, 89% of Mindbody consumers say they plan on returning to their previous beauty routines—including salon visits—post-shutdown, and they’re most excited to get their hair done.
But, many of us may also be a little apprehensive about re-entering brick and mortar salons as they start to reopen. Although many states are still mandating closures and shelter-in-place, some are slowly starting to allow salons to open their doors—with some new adjustments.
To gain some insights into what "the new normal" looks like, and what you can expect from your first trip back to the salon, we chatted with Amanda Collier, a Mindbody Regional Sales Manager and Georgian resident who just ventured out to her first visit. Follow along as we go through her journey at The Salty Mane, in Alpharetta.
The Salty Mane is a very popular salon, with 15.5k followers on their Instagram account. They offer custom color, haircuts, and hand-tied extensions from a number of super talented stylists. I’ve been going to this salon for years, and I was really excited to see a post on their Instagram saying they’d be reopening as soon as the state government allowed it.
The post on their Instagram notified followers to text the salon to make an appointment, so I did that as soon as I saw it. I received a manual text back asking what services I’d like to book and when—and be quick, because they’d have to move along to the next person. According to the owner, they received over 450 text messages and 45 voicemails in a matter of 30 minutes, as well as a list of 275 clients waiting for treatments.
I received a confirmation email 24 hours later with information about their cancellation and no-show policies, and assurance that stylists would be wearing masks. I texted the salon personally to ask if I had to wear a mask as well, and they said no.
They told us to wait outside in our cars and enter the salon at the exact time of our scheduled appointments. No one was in the waiting room, and I didn’t have to cross paths with other clients or sit next to them while waiting. It was a quick, easy, and efficient process.
I had gone seven months without any hair salon visits due to traveling and then shutdown, so I went with a full foil and haircut. It took a few hours to complete, which is expected. They did double book as usual, and the assistant helped so they could get to both of us; however, we were distanced 10 feet apart per the governor’s orders.
They did not wear gloves, but all the stylists wore masks. It honestly felt like COVID didn’t exist for a bit, and it was just a regular day at the salon. I kind of wish I wore a mask myself for extra precaution, but I did feel safe while I was there.
Every time anyone moved stations, everything was cleaned. So, if I got up to go get my hair washed, they would disinfect the area immediately. It is a huge salon, and I believe stations were already 6 feet apart pre-shutdown, but now they were even more spread apart to the 10-foot legal requirement. I did not feel close to any of the other clients.
It was definitely weird being back in a business—which is only natural—but at the same time, it felt totally normal. I felt safe the entire time, and no one seemed especially nervous or anything like that. The only thing I would do differently if I could redo it would be bringing my own mask, just for that extra layer of safety. But again, it was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, so it wasn’t a huge deal.
Aside from my stylist and her assistant, the only other person I had to be close to was the front desk associate, as she helped me with checkout at the end. I also had to touch the pin pad to pay, which wasn’t ideal, but also expected.
Totally fine! I felt like I was in a little bubble where COVID didn’t exist. Other than it being a little quieter than normal (probably because of the added distance), it felt like business as usual and a regular day at the salon. I’d totally feel safe and comfortable going back. Plus, my hair looks great.
Well, there ya have it—a real-life in-salon experience.
During shelter-in-place, people have been less likely to prioritize beauty/grooming—78% say it’s either low priority, or something they only sometimes prioritize. But now that businesses are opening up again, it's clear there's high demand for beauty. It's time to feel confident again!
Keep these insights in mind when you see salons start to reopen near you and make your own judgment! It’s all about doing what’s best for you and staying safe, happy, and comfortable (but, please. No more DIY bangs).
Have your own at-home beauty stories to share in the meantime? Tag #HomeBeauty and @mindbody on Instagram for a chance to be featured!
And If you’re curious, check out what it’s like for other salons opening in Georgia.
By now, we all know the benefits of virtual and online fitness classes, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the struggles. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, studios and instructors all over the world had to get crafty, many with little-to-no experience with live streaming or recording workouts at home (so, if you haven’t, make sure you send your instructors a quick thank you—because they deserve it). Now that we’ve realized virtual fitness is here to stay—and we’ve all had lots of practice—the virtual experience is getting a whole lot better.
Here’s what your favorite studios and instructors are doing to improve their virtual fitness classes right now:
Everything seems harder than it must be right now...which is why jumping through hoops to get into a class should be the last thing on your mind. As with most things, the simpler, the better (unless we’re talking about the actual workout). Studios are working on creating a one-button experience to join a class. You sign up, get an email, press ‘join,’ and you’re in. And if something happens with your WiFi and you end up getting kicked out, no worries. One button click and you’re back in, without even missing a circuit.
If there's one thing more annoying than not having easy access to classes, it’s bad quality and connection. We’ve all found ourselves in online classes where you literally can’t follow along due to poor connectivity causing instructors to freeze every five seconds. Or if it’s an on-demand class that doesn’t buffer, you’re stuck looking at a spinning wheel as your heart rate decreases at the worst possible time. Not fun.
Now, studios and instructors are doing their absolute best to make sure they have top-notch WiFi and streaming services so we can work out without delays. Better cameras, lighting, and space setups are just a few of the investments instructors and studios are making to make virtual workouts as close to the in-studio experience as possible.
For most, working out with music is a must. But figuring out how to balance tunes with the instructor’s voice can be a challenge. In the studio, they have state-of-the-art speakers blasting playlists throughout class, and oftentimes they have headset mics—all adjusted to the perfect volume so you can sweat to the beat, without missing a beat.
But at home, it’s a little more difficult. Now that instructors have had some time to work on it, they’re figuring it out. Some instructors suggest playlists for you, others have mastered the perfect music to voice volume ratio, and some have invested in some high-quality mic setups for their home studios. In yoga instructor, Dani Schenone’s words, “Instructors are Jedi masters at the music-to-voice volume ratio at this point. When necessary, external microphones offer an amazingly clear experience. I record my classes and listen back, noticing any audio issues I need to address the next time around.” We’re getting there together, and again, thank your instructors. This isn’t easy.
With instructors improving their own spaces for filming workouts, we need to be doing the same as attendees. An instructor’s key to creating a good virtual experience is making it all replicable—creating a space and using equipment that’s realistic for anyone to mimic at home. If they're using weights, they should let you know ahead of time, and maybe even give some household items you can use as alternatives.
Instructors are people too, and they know this. They’re coming up with tons of creative ways to make the experience easier for you, whether it’s propping up their cameras so you can see their entire setup and body, notifying you of equipment needs early in the booking process, or teaching classes that can realistically fit in most spaces.
Have you seen the videos of teachers trying to keep their kindergarteners engaged over Zoom? Fitness classes are not much different. Signing up for group fitness classes means more motivation and encouragement, so we can’t skip out on the hard moves and cut our workouts short when we’re feeling tired. Instructors, though, have an interesting challenge—keeping that spirit up through a computer or phone screen. And right now (as always), they’re stepping up in several ways:
• They’re always on time, beginning and ending class right when they say they will.
• They talk through all the moves, so you don’t constantly have to be looking at the screen, and demo them at least twice in case you missed the first one.
• They shout out words of encouragement and call people out by name, just as they would at an in-studio class.
• They give tips and pointers for perfecting your form, even if they can’t always see you.
• They have a positive attitude throughout the class and are consistent with their delivery, so we always know what to expect.
• They’re our superstars, and we love them for it.
Shifting from IRL to virtual fitness has not come without its own set of complications, but let’s not forget about the struggles of the people on the other side of that screen. Our instructors are working hard out here to make these classes better because they genuinely care about our health, well-being, and sense of community.
Virtual classes are here to stay, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better. Thank you, instructors.