As each profession is finding ways to adapt to the new normal, the beauty industry that works primarily on touch and face-to-face services is facing its biggest challenge yet. From moving to disposable kits, completely restricting walk-ins, declaration forms, to eyebrow threading from distance, we speak to industry experts to find out what you can expect from salon services post lockdown.
While we all do miss our monthly salon session and have forgotten what a good arc brow looks like, many of us are a bit hesitant to go back to parlours post lockdown. According to an online poll we conducted at JFW, about 52% are a little hesitant while the rest 48% are ready to head to the parlours once they open.
“Going back to a salon is a necessity is what I feel – as long as they follow safety and hygiene measures. Facilities only by appointment and facemasks in place is something I will definitely look for. I don’t do facials so the question on removing the mask does not arise”, says Rosemary, an interior designer from Cochin.
While there is a general fear of going anywhere, the salon industry have spent their lock down period with intense brainstorming sessions generating new innovative ways to provide service and training their employees through online classes.
“I have been in this industry for almost 4 decades now and this is a new challenge to us. The lockdown has been a big learning and had us thinking on how to take the business forward,” says Ms Latha Mohan, CEO and Founder of Spalon India Pvt. Ltd. that has brands like Bounce, Kanya , Oryza.
Here is how the saloon experience is going to change post lock down!
How safety is ensured to the employees:
No more walk ins:
Long gone are the good ol days where you could just walk in for a de-stress salon session or last minute waxing. As no more manual walk ins will be encouraged in parlours across the country. “We have updated our entire software process in such a way that a salon manager cannot even bill a service if the appointment has not been booked. This is to make sure there is no manual error or technical glitch that might take place.” Says Mr. Deepak Praveen, COO of Green Trends.
Entering the parlour is a process:
Taking in a prior parlour appointment, calling in 30 minutes prior to reconfirm, Sanitizing, filing a safety declaration that would take in your travel history, followed by temperature check, wearing safety gears like a mask, gloves etc is the new normal as a part of parlour routine. In addition to this salons are coming up with most innovative ways to ensure that the customer that walks in is safe.
YLG Bangalore will brief the customer on using the Aarogya Setu app on their phones and ensure it is set up for safety.
Green Trends has devised floor fans to sanitize customer feet and are also looking at an opportunity of checking the oxygen count in blood of the customer, as we know that the virus reduces the oxygen level in the blood.
Bounce Salon will be offering feet covers that will completely wrap around the customers shoes before they enter the parlour.
Two’s A Crowd;
You cannot take a company along for your salon appointments anymore. “We have completely cleared the waiting area, magazines, seats etc. The customer walks in individually, everything is already prepared to offer quick and safe service and then the customer leaves. For now we are pausing to service children below 8 and senior citizen for their safety” explains Ms Latha Mohan of Bounce Salon.
“Only allocated seats in each area will be used to maintain distance. Eg. Only 1 customer will be allowed in the shampoo, manicure /pedicure /hair spa areas. Alternate seats will be used in the hair area, etc” Says Mrs. Vaijayanti Bhalchandra, co-founder and CTO of YLG Salons & YLG Institute
How to ensure safe services:
Moving to disposables
Moving to disposables is one among the major changes. “Where ever possible we have shifted to single time use disposable equipment; for pedicure, manicure, facials etc and even for shaving no more brush to apply foam, we’ve shifted to single use wooden spatulas” Says Mr Deepak of Green Trends. “Certain equips that can’t be thrown away will get sanitised post and after the service in front of the customer” he explains.
The industry has made updates and revamped many services to reduce proximity and touch points as much as possible. Parlours are moving away from threading upper lip to using strip less waxing. Where you apply warm wax and is pulled out once hardened. For eyebrow threading a new system has been created where the thread is put on their neck and a distance is maintained while grooming the eyebrow. In Bounce salon to minimise the touch point during hair cut they would ask their clients to take hair wash and then come. Wash and cut might no longer be encouraged.
Digital Payments: Salons will be opting for cashless payment.
Summing up the most common changes
- Disinfecting and sanitising of the salon on daily basis before opening including the seats, basins, beds, mirrors, trollies etc with diverse products (by brand recommended by WHO)
- Moving to disposable single use kits
- Employees to wear the appropriate PPE at all times while servicing the client – Mask, gloves, gown, head cap, face shield
- Make it a point that all equipment will be sterilized and sanitized in front of the customer
- Each station will be disinfected and sanitized before and after each service
- Employees to take temperature checks every day before entering the salon
- To take limited appointments in a day
Every salon is taking different initiatives to make sure these guidelines are followed and strictly adhered to. Green Trends has devised a three level audit that involves a self-audit by the salon manager itself, next is by operation team that would visit that salons to audit, then feedback from customer – customer audit. They are also looking at camera audit.
YLG Salons is taking the responsibility of keeping the salon closed for 1 day in the week to do an extra deep cleaning of salons (additional to the daily sterilizing and cleaning) and Bounce is set to function with only 50% of its employees per day in shift bases.
While these are tough times the industry is coming together as one unit to help and support each other, bouncing ideas and generating innovative ways to thrive through the pandemic.
“We are all In this together. We have nominated 4-5 of our inner staff to train smaller barber shops and salons in native local languages – Tamil in Chennai and kanaada in Bangalore. We will also be providing free haircut for the front liners, we are happy to serve them,” explains Ms Latha Mohan of Bounce. “There seems to be a willingness to come. We have been getting calls on when our operations will resume. They trust us and we will ensure their safety.” She ends.
“Social distancing norms will affect the number of appointments any salon can take. This in turn will affect the overall revenue of the industry. As industry leaders, we will need to take steps and support our employees and partners to rebuild and restart to attain a new normalcy.” says Mrs. Vaijayanti Bhalchandra, co-founder of YLG Salons.
Due to the lockdown, the salon industry has been affected and the business has had a steep fall in revenue. In the future there will be hurdles with unforeseen situations but the industry is gearing up to stay more prepared.
By: Preethy Shanker & Sruthi Ravinder