Beauty salons are ready to welcome back customers today as Scotland continues to ease out of lockdown.
After months of lamenting grown-out acrylics and exhausting online DIY beauty tips, customers are expected to flood back to indulge in their favourite self-care treatments.
One Aberdeen salon receiving more than 600 bookings in a single day is a sign that there is consumer confidence in the reopening.
Tattoo studios, spas and other wellness studios will also return, subject to stringent new hygiene standards, for the first time since lockdown was imposed in March.
Nailco Nail Bar, located on the city’s Union Street, has been busy with preparations ever since the Scottish Government’s announcement ‘personal and close contact’ retail services could resume today.
Owner Jayd Linney said her staff were excited to see their clients after four long months.
“It has been a long time coming and our technicians are excited to get back to their clients,” she said.
“The girls really do build up a relationship with their clients. They really get to know them and I guess it has been more like losing friends during this time.
“So, I imagine they’re really looking forward to catching up with everybody, seeing how everybody is, while also getting back to a level of normality.”
In addition to the strict hygiene measures, Nailco has added “personal touches” throughout the salon, such as uplifting and positive messages on social distancing stickers on the floor.
Ms Linney’s personal favourite includes the hand sanitising station which features a play on lyrics from American rap legend Notorious B.I.G.
The Nailco owner added: “We also wanted to put our own little touch on it. Obviously, there has been quite a lot of guidelines from the government about specific measures about things we have to have in place.
“So, we thought to ourselves we wanted people to feel comfortable and make things feel familiar.
“People can come in and not feel so daunted by the environment because I think that can easily happen.”
Ms Linney hopes they will help to make people feel more comfortable when they return, saying: “People can come in and not feel so daunted by the environment because I think that can easily happen.
“I know there have been occasions when you go somewhere and you feel like you’ve done something wrong because of all these new restrictions.
“I just wanted people to put themselves at ease.
“We talked about our different experiences going out again after lockdown, and what stood out were the businesses that put in the time and effort to make you feel at ease.
“We’re just looking forward to seeing everyone in a safe and relaxing environment.”
Ms Linney said people can expect a rigorous cleaning schedule and treatment-specific personal hygiene regimes, with PPE being worn by nail, waxing, eyebrow and eyelash technicians. Plexiglas screens ave also been introduced.
Appointment times have been extended and customers will have to wait to be called on before entering the premises.
Posted at the entrance is the salon’s Covid-19 policy, which ask people to not go ahead with their appointment if they are displaying any coronavirus symptoms.
Staff will use masks and protective visors, and protective Plexiglas screens have been installed to act as a barrier between clients and nail technician.
Between every customer, stations will be sanitised and “high touch zones” in the premises will have solutions and sprays on hand.
The salon is also operating on reduced staffing to allow for safe social distancing practices and not all services will resume right away, as some are still deemed “high risk”.
However, Ms Linney emphasised that not all services will resume such as treatments near the nose and the mouth.
Ms Linney said: “We haven’t put back on all of our facial waxing treatments as of yet, just to avoid the nose, upper lip and chin areas.
“But, we’re hopeful we can get them back in a few weeks’ time.”
Exciting times ahead
A young Inverness businesswoman said she is eager to get back to work as she reopens her beauty salon to customers.
Timeless Spa and Beauty Ltd on Market Brae was one of the first businesses to close in the city following lockdown in March.
Owner Caoimhe Simpson would regularly see in the region of 15 clients a day, with between 50 and 100 customers receiving beauty treatments each week.
As she prepared to reopen, she spoke of the challenges she faced during their four-month closure.
She said: “It’s been very challenging, not just financially but the mental aspects of things like is the business going to survive, are things going to be practical when we go back and is it something we are going to be able to do?
“We are close contact services, most of which are performed within the high risk zone, so it was quite a daunting period but I think once we got out head around it and got our government guidance we were able to start taking steps to make sure the safety of clients when we came back.”
As doors reopen, the 25-year-old beautician said she is looking forward to getting back into a routine whilst reconnecting with her loyal customers.
She added: “I’m really excited. A big part is also seeing all my clients and just checking in on them and making sure they are all doing okay.”