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The Salon Business



As stylists and colorists today, we are in uncharted territory which means everyone (including the experts) is making their best-educated guess about how to navigate the safety precautions for COVID-19.  The fact is that reducing the risk of exposure and the spread of COVID-19 is the most important part of reopening our salons and businesses.

As I’m sure you have noticed, information is updated daily and it can be very overwhelming. The best thing you can do is absorb as much information from as many reputable sources as possible. Educate yourself in order to set the foundation for your salon’s new policies when you reopen. The following are a few links I have found to be extremely helpful:

Different states have different guidelines to follow when it comes to reopening, so be sure to comply with your state regulations by checking the official government site for the state that you practice in. Since state guidelines vary, Facebook groups are also a great way to get information and figure out what the other salons in your area are doing. You can even go a step further and set up a ZOOM call with a group of local salon owners or stylists. Have a discussion about what their salon environment is going to be like. Community over competition has never been more important than today. Discussing ideas with other salons in your area and perhaps creating a universal plan, ensures a better chance of the entire community opening safely and for the long haul.


With all that research under your belt, you are now at the point where you can begin your action plan. A salon walk-through is crucial.  Enter your salon as a client would, and make note of everything that must be cleaned, items that must be moved or removed, and any signage you may need to post. Information overload is normal, so in order to maintain your sanity, do “a brain dump” by taking notes.  Bullet-point anything and everything that comes to mind, regardless of how disorganized your thoughts may be.  Once you have fully analyzed your salon, take your notes and observations and organize them into the following categories:

  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Supplies
  • Client Precautions
  • Sanitation Procedures
  • Client Communications
  • Innovative Concepts


Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and protecting your clients and staff is the most important aspect of reopening your salon. As salons begin to open their doors to customers and stylists and colorists begin to return to work, personal protective equipment is more important than ever. Following is a list of important items, apparel, and equipment that are imperative for keeping your staff and customers safe and reducing the spread of germs.

  • Disposable Capes – Disposable capes are ideal because they can be used for one customer at a time and then discarded.  This ensures a clean and germ-free cape for each and every client, greatly reducing any transfer of germs as well as client anxiety.
  • Disposable Aprons – Protect yourself and your staff with disposable aprons.  While disposable aprons still offer effective protection from hair color and chemicals, using a fresh, clean cape every time also offers you and your staff added protection and peace of mind.
  • Disposable Gloves – Disposable gloves are a “must-have” for protection and reducing any transfer of germs to keep both colorists and clients safe.  Whether you choose disposable vinyl gloves, or disposable latex gloves, discarding gloves after each use is imperative for safety.
  • Disinfectant – Use a sanitizing disinfectant on all hair tools and surfaces. Disinfect all hair color tools and styling tools between each use. Even items like color bowls, color combs, color brushes, sectioning clips, blending brushes, and color mixers should all be thoroughly washed and disinfected between uses with each client.  Remember to also wipe down all work surfaces including color carts and salon trays.
  • Masks– While not every state mandates wearing a mask – it is highly recommended to lessen the spread of germs to keep clients and staff safe.
  • Disposable Towels – Disposable salon towels are another way of reducing germs.  Discard the towels after each use to lessen any spread of germs.  If you do not have disposable towels – be sure to wash your salon towels after each use.
Keep in mind that things will be different for a while, but it is always safest to use items that can be safely disposed of after one use to reduce contamination and the spread of germs.  Luckily items like hair color foils, balayage strips, meche sheets and highlighting paper are completely disposable and should always be discarded after one use.


Now it’s time to get everyone up to speed. Creating a detailed email blast for your stylists and clients is great but a video is the icing on the cake. Consider filming a walk-thru of your salon from entry to exit explaining in detail what everyone can expect from your changes. This will help avoid any confusion upon their arrival. With a constant fear of getting sick, it’s important that we do what we can to make everyone feel safe. Signage is so important. A “mirror talker” can help put clients at ease during their visit and it also provides a great opportunity to discuss creative ideas for their hair. Here’s the one I’ve created for my salon, Thirteenth and Washington.  It will be posted on all of my stylists’ mirrors.

Although times are tough we cannot lose our ability to innovate and create excitement despite present circumstances. Don’t feel comfortable blow-drying hair? Create a menu of fun wet styles clients can choose from instead. Don’t feel comfortable taking care of clients in the salon at all? Create virtual appointments to educate your clients on ways to maintain their hair at home. Forced change is the best opportunity to be creative and grow my friends!

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