When nail bars reopen this is how your manicure will change – 10 things that will look a bit different

SINCE we went into lockdown in March, us beauty fans have had to make do with doing our own nails for a change. And to be honest, they're never looked worse.

Fortunately, nail salons are among hospitality businesses which are currently being told they can open from 4 July – provided they make their premises Covid-19 secure.

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Guidelines given by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday, May 11, said that the hospitality sector – including hairdressers and nail salons – would not return to work before July 4.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) released a statement saying it backed Mr Raab's plans.

"Dominic Raab has said that hospitality and ‘personal care services’ such as hair and beauty salons and barbershops in England will not be able to reopen until 4th July at the earliest," it read. "It is our view that this is the right course of action, as the safety of the people in our industry is paramount."

But when salons reopen, what will have changed? Will we have to wear face masks? Can we still have walk-in appointments? Here's everything you need to know before your first visit.

 1. Will my nail technician/I have to wear a face mask?

Before the coronavirus crisis, nail technicians often wore face masks to guard against any fumes.

But when they re-open next month, the British Beauty Council's guidelines state that all technicians will have to wear face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

And it's highly likely customers will also be asked to wear one while they're in the nail bar to protect staff.

Ahead of their official re-opening next month, Hertfordshire-based Cecily Spa has been trialling their new safety measures – which includes customers wearing face masks that the salon has provided.

Do face masks protect against coronavirus?

  • Wearing masks may reduce the risk of spreading the virus but it won't stop someone from catching it.
  • They are far less effective if not worn and fitted properly as they will not be able to form a seal and filtration
  • If you buy or make your own cloth mask they can be reused if you wash it thoroughly at over 60C
  • The general rule is to wear a face mask when you are out in public, in areas that could involve coming into contact with other people, like public transport, exercising in urban areas, popping to the shops or walking the dog.
  • Some scientists have argued that while masks are not guaranteed to stop someone catching the bug, they could lessen the spread if someone is infectious
  • Others say that it could make people complacent, giving them a false sense of security and risk further spread as people forget social distancing and hand washing measures.

Skin specialist and health practitioner Tammy Richards told Fabulous Digital: "It was not uncommon for salon staff to wear face masks during their working hours however, this will now be a non-negotiable. 

"It is more than likely that masks will also be worn client side."

 2. How will social distancing work?

Before they can open, nail bars must ensure they have social distancing measures in place.

The British Beauty Council states that all nail stations should be placed at least two metres apart.

Salons should also have distancing measures – such as floor markings and signs – to make it easy for customers to abide by social distancing.

Depending on the size of the salon, businesses may have to employ a one-in, one-out system and ask customers to leave when their treatment is finished – even if their nails are still wet.

Director of London Grace salons Lauren Williams told Fabulous Digital: "Luckily our stores are larger than the average nail bar (up to 1000sqm) so we are able to safely distance clients from each other.

"Signage to remind both our clients and teams to keep a 2 metre distance, regularly wash their hands and follow public health guidance will be displayed.

"To minimise exposure within our teams, shifts will be staggered and staff will be asked to take breaks one at a time."

"Because of the number of treatment tables each has, we will safely be able to accommodate a maximum of 10 clients.

"We have sufficient tables to allow clients to wait under a dryer until their nails are at least touch dry before leaving."

3. Will salons take walk-ins?

Unfortunately, the days of strolling down to your local nail bar for a spur-of-the-moment mani are still a far-off fantasy.

The British Beauty Council are recommending salons don't take walk-in appointments when they re-open.

Instead, customers are asked to book in advance so salons can prepare treatments and be aware of how many people they'll have on the premises at one time.

Millie Kendall MBE, CEO of British Beauty Council, told Fabulous Digital: "We would suggest [customers fill out questionnaires before their appointments.]

"It helps the stylist, therapist, technician or artist assess what they need to prepare."

Not only are London Grace not accepting walk-ins but Daisy Kalnina – founder of leading salon brand The GelBottle Inc – said: "It’s unlikely that waiting areas will be used and instead, clients will need to arrive exactly on time for their appointment and avoid being late.

"Friends, partners and children won’t be permitted to wait and the design of the salon may be stripped back to necessary interior objects only, to ensure cleaning can be performed more easily."

4. Can I have the same treatments?

Fortunately, it is likely that salons will continue to offer the same services as before.

If you're having a pedicure, salons have been advised to ask customers to put their personal items on a paper sheet.

However, London Grace will be giving dry pedicures for the foreseeable future as Lauren says "foot baths are notoriously difficult to disinfect" while germs thrive in wet, warm conditions.

Technicians will also avoid over-filing your nails to avoid excess dust.

Lauren explained: "We will be encouraging our technicians to use nail clippers if a client would like their nails much shorter and then they can tidy up the shape with a file."

What's more, the British Beauty Council's guidelines state that customers must wash their hands when they enter the salon and dry them with a disposable paper towel.

5. Will there be plastic screens between stations?

Again, this will vary from salon-to-salon and depend on the size of the premises.

While the British Beauty Council argues that screens make more work for staff to keep clean, others have had screens specially made.

Cecily Spa in Hertfordshire currently has plastic screens – the kind you see at supermarket check-outs – placed in the middle of their nail stations.

At London Grace salons, Lauren added: "We've had bespoke perspex screens made with a gap for clients to place their hands through on each table, so that our technicians will be close enough to deliver a high quality treatment, without any risk of transmission."

What can you do before your first appointment?

Daisy Kalnina is the founder of three businesses – leading salon brand, The GelBottle Inc, nail tech training school, The GelBottle Academy and recently launched polish brand, Peacći. Here, she shares her top tips before going back to the salon for the first time.

  1. Be conscious to book early and stick with your appointments or cancel them well in advance because it has a huge effect on nail techs livelihoods.
  2. Listen carefully to any rules put in place by the salon and respect them.
  3. Clients should be clear they need to abide by salon instructions on distancing and hygiene measures put in place.
  4. Clients should only enter the salon when another customer leaves or the nail technician lets them in.
  5. Clients should expect to wash their hands with soap and antibacterial liquids upon entry. 
  6. Not to touch face or any personal belongings such as phones.
  7. You should follow any requests made by salon staff in relation to hygiene for the wellbeing of others.
  8. If clients have pedicures, they should expect to remove socks/tights upon entry and place them on designated surfaces. Pedicure slippers should be worn and feet soaked before the nail tech touches them.
  9. Clients should expect the possibility that they might need to wear disposable masks.
  10. Clients should not move around the salon more than necessary and should maintain a distance from other clients of at least two metres.
  11. Please keep up to date with any communications from your salons on any changes on how they are operating to ensure the client is fully aware of all salon hygiene guidelines before entering the salon. Customers might be asked to confirm that they understand this prior to going to the salon.
  12. Customers will be expected to leave personal items such as scarfs, jewellery at home.
  13. Salons will operate on a ‘no cash basis”

6. Will I be allowed to use my phone at the salon?

While customers will be allowed to have personal possessions on them in the salon, they'll be asked not to use their phones – not just because they get in the way during a treatment.

Tammy said: "Even outside of the salon, regularly disinfect your phone.  It is a hotbed for germs and often neglected when cleaning."

And when they go back for the first time, customers might miss being offered a cup of tea or being able to flick through a glossy mag.

Lesley Blair, Chair of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) said: "There may be no magazines, no paper, no leaflets so it will be very stark.

"Plus they may stop the nice cup of tea you enjoy prior to/during your treatment.

"Even when it comes to nice towels, these will need to be washed after every treatment at 60 degrees or disposable towels will need to be used."

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