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5 ways I’m preparing for my nail salon to reopen post-lockdown

By Scratch Staff | 14 January 2021 | Business, Feature, Salon & Spas, Tech Talk

Ruth Munro Lockdown

Ruth Munro, Magpie Beauty educator for Scotland and owner of Little Blank Spaces, reveals how she has been using her free time during the Covid-19 lockdown to prepare for the eventual reopening of her business…

Beauticians are not allowed to return to work in the UK yet because we can’t social distance. We all need to follow the government guidelines and stay away from our clients. However, we now have time to prepare ourselves and our business as best as we can for re-opening.

We are high risk in the beauty industry, so when we are allowed to re-open, we need to be absolutely certain of our salon hygiene practices, including virus infection, prevention and control. Yes, we should be absolutely certain already but there may be therapists who are not and do not know where to begin.

It’s normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed during these difficult and unprecedented times. Having a plan in place, as well as learning as much as we can, could help settle some of those feelings.

I have no say in government guidelines, I am not a scientist and I do not have a date for reopening – these are simply the steps I am taking and resources I am recommending to you from the viewpoint of a nail educator based in Scotland.

I have recorded a video that goes through these steps and includes a list of useful links to government, healthcare and beauty specific industry resources.

Step 1: Follow government guidelines + healthcare advice

Every country/region may have different guidelines in place and it is important to keep up-to-date and adhere specifically to these. I live in Scotland, so I will be following the Scottish government guidelines as well as those of my local council. You will be able to find yours to follow online.

You can find the latest UK coronavirus updates here and NHS healthcare advice here.It is important to remember that guidelines and advice may be changing regularly as information and research about coronavirus becomes available and situations change.

2: Research specific industry guidance

Back to work guidelines have been published by the UK government and are available to view on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) here. Unfortunately, the beauty industry is not mentioned or categorised in any of the eight guides published – maybe this is because we are not allowed to return to work yet. Hopefully, the government will provide guidelines for beauticians to follow. Specific government guidelines published for each beauty sector would be ideal, however a very general beauty guideline from the government may be all that is provided for us to follow and any more specific sector guidelines may be up to ourselves to source.

The British Beauty Council (BBC) is working with the government and providing a voice for the nail industry (you can become a member for free and add to this voice by joining here). The BBC has consulted advisory board member and nail expert, Marian Newman, and cosmetic scientist, Doug Schoon which is available to view to produce return to work guidelines for nail technicians.

General back to work suggested guidelines for beauty and hair salons have also recently been published by BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) which you can view here.

It is important to consider that we will all have different work environments and should research and plan accordingly; some of us are solely nail technicians, some are hairdressers too and some offer a variety of hair, nail and skin treatments. It may be confusing for therapists, having many different guidelines available but due to the various treatments we offer, we may need to following more than one.

3: Learn more about hygiene + virus infection prevention and control

All beauticians should have knowledge of salon hygiene, health and safety laws, PPE and infection control as it is covered in our training. I always encourage my nail students to take the Barbicide free online course which is available here.

We need to make sure that we are learning and not just looking at a slide show or taking a quick quiz. We need to ensure that we understand what we are reading first, revise and then test ourselves until we are absolutely certain on salon hygiene guidelines and infection control. If you don’t know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting or how you should clean each different tool you use (nail files, metal tools and surfaces) you should learn now. Katie Barnes’ article ‘Coronavirus fears: A review of salon hygiene practices’ provides a good guide. Read it here.

We can use our time now to expand our knowledge and seek further education in salon safety and hygiene, PPE and infection prevention and control. As coronavirus is new and research is still in the early stages and ongoing, we should take caution when searching for courses and make sure we are learning from a trusted educational organisation. Cecilia Monroe is also offering a brilliant free online in depth course here.

4: Make plans based on research & guidelines (risk assessments, policies, PPE, emails, consultation forms)

We are required by law to have risk assessments in place at the salon and remain up-to-date with government policies. Now that we face new risks, we can plan and prepare for these by completing new Covid-19 risk assessments. We can also review and amend our current policies and risk assessments that we have in place to ensure they are in line with current government guidelines.

We should already be aware of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which provides guidelines that need to be followed by any business in the UK. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines specially for nail technicians from HSE but there is an example risk assessment for a hair salon which you can view here, as well as information explaining how to create a risk assessment if you are unsure.

We can also consider adding questions to our consultation forms that ask clients if they or any members of their household have experienced any symptoms and if they have received our updates policies and hygiene procedures. Consultation forms could be available to complete online and emailed to your client prior to the appointment.

Furthermore, we could create cleaning checklists for the salon and ensure it is adhered to and monitored in a regular basis and that manufactures disinfecting guidelines are followed correctly.

Finally, we could prepare emails to inform clients of the new health & safety procedures and policies we have in place, and remind them of hygiene rules that must be followed when we are allowed to reopen. There could be a section on the consultation form for clients to acknowledge they have received and understand this information.

5: Evaluate

Due to the quickly evolving guidance and advice surrounding coronavirus, we must be constantly evaluating our policies, procedures and practices so that they are in line with the latest government and healthcare advice.

Through research, further education, guidance, evaluation of our policies and procedures regularly and high salon hygiene standards, we should be able to offer as safe an environment as possible for ourselves, our staff and our clients.

It’s normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed seeing lots of suggested guidelines popping up, but we already cover these practices (hygiene, risk assessments, health and safety, PPE, infection and diseases, etc) at very high standards – it is in our training as beauty professionals. We need to have confidence in ourselves. All we have to do now, is be meticulous and sensible. If you are unsure at all about salon hygiene practices and virus infection, prevention and control, now is the time to learn about these things.

Ruth Munro – Little Blank Spaces