Get set for groomed brows once more with face treatments back in business from tomorrow! Here's what to expect
The news we've all been waiting for finally landed today - as from tomorrow, August 15, beauty businesses will be able to conduct facial treatments again, including brow treatments, threading, face waxing, eyelash treatments, microblading, facials and dermarolling.
The reopening was originally planned for August 1, but was pushed back by the government, leading to accusations of sexism, given than men were allowed to have their beards trimmed... but after calls from Millie Kendall, CEO of the British Beauty Council, and Caroline Hirons, along with support from BABTAC, facial treatments are back on the table. There will of course be safety precautions in place, as BABTAC explains:
"A visor and face mask must be worn at all times by the person conducting the treatment, the client must also wear a face mask. The client’s mask can be removed momentarily, only when the therapist is working in that area and if the treatment is to areas that are not covered by the mask, i.e. to the eyes, then the mask must be worn by the customer at all times."
As you'd expect, we've all gone wild for the news, with Treatwell reporting a +352 per cent increase in bookings for close-contact treatments and it's growing hourly. Eyebrow threading and waxing are most popular so far with +794 per cent booking vs. pre lockdown, while LVL lashes are also coming back strong with +698 per cent bookings vs. pre lockdown.
Eyebrow threading and waxing are the most popular treatments since bookings reopened, with a 794 per cent increase in bookings vs. pre lockdown
The British Beauty Council told us that facial treatments were originally put on hold because "based on the scientific and medical advice that treatments or services provided in the ‘high-risk zone’ directly in front of the client’s face are the most risky in terms of catching or spreading the virus because splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth are present, even when they can’t be seen." They and other bodies are calling for the scientific advice to be published "to give a better understanding of how and why these decisions have been made."
Facialist Sarah Chapman , who has been sharing her famous facial massage techniques online during lockdown was unimpressed when the ban on facial treatments was kept in place, telling us, "Like many, I find this to be incredibly unfair and not logical at all. I do not understand how a man can have his beard trimmed, but a woman can’t have a facial or her eyebrows threaded? It makes little sense. I am not surprised that many women feel that our government is misogynistic towards them especially when you consider pubs have reopened and many sports have resumed.
"I feel that the government’s decision-making around the reopening of the beauty industry has been confusing and unfair. When performing a facial we sit behind the head of a client, we will wear a mask and a shield, we have disposable items to use and sterilising equipment. How come we, therefore, cannot treat our clients yet this can be allowed?"
Another of our top GTG experts Joanne Evans of Skinmatters Notting Hill is angry and flabbergasted. "Whoever is informing them [the government] is male and obviously has nothing to do with the sector, because we protect ourselves from the droplets and the sprays and this area [the face] is getting constantly cleaned." She took to IGTV to explain just how safe and hygienic procedures done facialists such as herself are (if you have five minutes, watch her video below).
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We asked salons and mobile beauty providers what preparations they were making and what your first beauty appointment could look like.
What will manicures be like when nail bars reopen?
We can't wait to hear the magic words “pick a colour” from our nail technician and we’re happy to report our nail appointment doesn’t sound like it’ll be a world away from what we’re used to.
Firstly (and obviously) there will be no hug greetings or even handshakes. Beauty industry body BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) suggests that technicians offer a soothing hand wash at the start of treatment by way of hello in its back to work guidelines .
Many nail techs already wear masks to protect them from the fumes and dust in their job, but now their PPE will extend to gloves, face shields and disposable aprons too, says London nail bar Dryby “We will use disposable towels, sterilised tools and stations will be disinfected after every customer,” says co-founder Krisztina van der Boom. Customers will need to wear masks too. If you haven't got one, Dryby will provide one for a £2 surcharge.
When hair salons reopen, we've been told that longer services such as extensions may be limited to minimise the time in the chair. So will the same apply to nail art? Not necessarily. At Dryby the full menu will be back – the nail designs we know and love will still be on offer. However, drinks and magazines have disappeared for now.
Walk-in appointments are a no-no in the new normal: “Everything needs to be booked via our booking team via telephone or online,” Krisztina tells us.
The days of booking a mani at the same time as your friend and having a chinwag are a thing of the past as a limited number of nail desks will be open for booking. “To allow for social distancing we won’t be able to operate all our stations,” Krisztina says. “The two-metre rule applies so some of our stations will be out of action." Pedis won't change as the stations are two metres apart anyway.
At London’s Townhouse nail salon they'll also have glass screens between the technician and customers at the manicure bar. "While people won’t be able to sit right next to friends, our focus is on keeping the experience the same – high-quality treatments delivered on time by knowledgeable, welcoming staff.”
Nail bars generally have very good air filtration due to the fumes. Townhouse tells us that their system "fully exchanges the air several times an hour while filtering for viruses and bacteria.”
What will waxing appointments be like after lockdown?
I can’t say I’ve missed the experience of my monthly wax, but I sure do miss the silky-smooth results. Appointments aren’t actually going to be that different in this sector, according to Zainab Siddiq, general manager of London waxing studios Ministry of Waxing .
Therapists have always worn gloves and a face mask but they'll now also have disposable aprons, “to minimise contact between the therapist and client,” says Zainab. There will be improved disposable coverings on the bed and the waxing room and bathroom will be sanitised between each wax.
Can I still use a mobile beauty service?
Having a manicurist or a massage therapist come to your home can be the ultimate in relaxation. But this is about to get more complicated. BABTAC advises mobile therapists to consider asking clients to come to their home, "where they can control the environment in accordance with government protocols and guidance."
Granted this may not be either possible or desirable, in which case the client needs to prove that they've followed all hygiene protocols, for example by filling out and signing an extensive advance checklist online.
Jodie Hayes of mobile beauty service Beautii says that if possible, your appointment should take place outside, where the virus spreads less easily. “We will be encouraging customers to have any [suitable] treatments in outside space, such as manicures, pedicures and haircuts. If they can’t, we ask them to keep windows fully open so that the room where the treatments are being carried out is well ventilated."
You'll also be expected to open and close all the doors yourself.
While it's undeniably more complicated, Jodie stresses that they aim to make it a relaxing and enjoyable experience "while implementing strict safety measures according to government guidelines" All their therapists have completed the industry-accredited Barbicide Covid19 Hygiene Certification course on how to deliver a safe and hygienic working environment.
If you are worried about receiving any treatment, go for a therapist who has this certification. It's recognised as a clear protocol to deliver treatments safely for both client and therapist, says aesthetician for Intraceuticals Lord Gavin McLeod Valentine, whose red carpet Oxygen Facial clients include Olivia Colman and Allison Janney. Remember that for now though facial treatments are still restricted.
Where possible the two-metre rule will be obeyed and therapists will come fully armed with disposable gloves, face-masks, face shield and visors (if needed) as well as hand sanitiser and steriliser for their kit. As a customer, you'll have to wear a mask and if you're booked in for a hair cut or blow-dry, you'll need to wash your own hair first.
Massages won't be available right now, nor will group bookings, says Jodie, "as we cannot guarantee that full safety standards will be maintained." Therapists will be limited to three clients per day.
What will spray tans be like?
Spray tan appointments are set to be much quicker affairs. Treatments need to take less than 15 minutes to avoid contact, say professional beauty trade body The Beauty Guild ’s guidelines.
Spray tanning expert James Harknett explains: "It’s been established during the pandemic that if you are less than two metres away from another person for more than 15 minutes, the chances of transmission are greater. As the tanner can’t distance during the treatment it needs to be contained to well under 15 minutes. Making the treatment shorter ensures both parties are being as safe as possible,"
You may need to use a darker formula if you want a deep tan rather than layering.
"I’ve recently experimented several times with my partner at home using the Fakebake 60 minutes professional spray tan formula. The client only needs one coat of tan," says James.
James has these guidelines on how you can prep for your tan. "I will ask my clients to apply a plain, oil-free moisturiser sparingly to their feet, heels, knees, elbows, wrists and hands before I arrive. If they don't have something suitable I will decant the product safely into their hands for them to disperse over the areas."
"I will arrive wearing a protective mask and latex gloves. My kit will be sanitised before each visit. The client can also be offered a mask for the spray tan treatment. I will set up in the space allocated in the client's home, while they wait in another room."
"The treatment will take ten minutes or less. To save valuable time I advise all clients to dry their tanned skin with their own hairdryer after I leave. I will clean away excess spray from nails and so on if required or hand out antibacterial wipes."
What will my brow appointment be like after lockdown?
For now, brow services will stay closed until the government lifts restrictions on face treatments. If you've been trying to groom your own brows at home , with varying degrees of success, so a visit to the brow bar probably can't come too soon. is high on our priorities list.
Blink Brow Bar have been making preparations for weeks. And here, as with all other beauty salons, the waiting area has been done away with; you will be asked to wait outside until your appointment when a therapist will come and collect you. Once you're inside you'll see acrylic partitions placed at reception desks with contactless payment only and stations spaced at two metres.
All staff will wear face masks and gloves as well as face shields if they are performing a close-up facial treatment such as threading, lashes, facials and makeup.
While our treatments are certainly going to feel odd for the time being we're still looking forward to getting them booked in. Which treatment will you be going for first?