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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.
Times are strange right now, as you all know. We’ve all heard the phrase “new normal” about a million times already, and all the while, things are still changing every day. If you asked me a few months ago what I’d be writing about right now, I would never have guessed I’d be interviewing someone about what it’s like to get a haircut.
Nonetheless, we’re all doing our best to band together and help each other out right now. You may have noticed salons and spas offering messages of support, video tutorials for DIY beauty, and now, waitlists and announcements of reopening their doors. But as we all know, this isn’t the “old normal” anymore, and there will be changes.
Here’s what you can expect to be different when you finally head back into the salon or spa:
As salons and spas begin to reopen, they’ll likely have to make changes due to new social distancing requirements. When you enter the space, you’ll probably see a complete rearrangement. Stations will be separated by at least six feet, and some might even be removed to allow for more space. Salons that don’t have that much space to spare are putting in temporary walls or partitions.
On top of that, there may be fewer appointments scheduled at the same time (and definitely no walk-ins) to limit the number of people in the building. Say goodbye to waiting rooms and lobbies—you’ll likely be asked to wait outside or in your car until the exact start time of your appointment to prevent too many people crowding the front.
In addition to their increase in space, salons and spas will likely up their cleaning standards and procedures. We surveyed active consumers on the Mindbody app and learned that among the many changes beauty and wellness businesses can make upon reopening, following rigorous sanitization guidelines is the most important. You’ll probably see social posts or confirmation emails that outline new cleaning protocols, and you may notice some signage hanging around the building to reassure that the areas have been disinfected. Employees, and even guests, will be wearing masks and/or gloves, and you may even get a spritz of hand sanitizer at the door. According to Salon 124 Group, getting these supplies is turning out to be one of the largest obstacles for reopening.
In between each appointment, they’ll thoroughly disinfect the area before the next client arrives. Not only that, but each time you move to a new station (like from shampoo to haircut), they may also wipe down the station as soon as you get up to make sure it’s clean for the next guest.
After a good haircut, we all want to check ourselves out. And now that we’re all more cautious of germs and bacteria, we also want to literally check ourselves out at the end of our appointments. Out of the various fitness, beauty, and wellness businesses on our platform, consumers feel most comfortable returning to hair salons, and 62.7% said hair cutting, coloring, styling, barbering, or blow-drying would be the first beauty service they book once restrictions are lifted. An extra, important layer of comfort can be added in the form of contactless payments.
Many salons and spas will likely be incorporating some sort of contactless checkout process to limit touch points. They may end up taking your payment information at check-in via text and removing the front desk, so you don’t have to interact with another person face-to-face.
All-in-all, you can expect changes—and lots of them. Whether it’s increased retail offerings, curbside pickups, virtual consultations, at-home appointments, or video tutorials, many salons and spas are getting creative with how they offer support to their clients. Above all, they want to help us feel beautiful, confident, and somewhat normal during this time—and for that, we’re so thankful.
Want to hear about a real salon experience firsthand? One of our own got her hair done at a reopened salon in Georgia—here’s how it went.
Are you a salon owner yourself? Check out the Reboot Kit for Salons, Spas, & Wellness Businesses for extensive info and advice on how to prepare for reopening.