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Beauty industry experts respond to Government's warnings for ignoring COVID-19 guidelines

Tom Shearsmith
24 August 2020

Last week, reported that the UK government has warned the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) it would shut down hair and beauty salons if Coronavirus safety guidelines are flouted.

Salons were initially permitted to reopen, along with tattoo parlours, tanning shops, and nail bars, partially on 13 July and were meant to reopen fully on 1 August to allow treatments involving the face. However, this was delayed to the increase in coronavirus cases in the north of England.

In response to this warning, the National Hair & Beauty Federation has launched its #DoItRight campaign to ensure hair and beauty professionals are following government guidelines.

According to the federation, salon owners in UK should: wear a visor, use a booking-only system, wash hands frequently, use screens, frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and contact customers prior to visiting to check if they have symptoms.

NHBF’s CEO, Hilary Hall said: “We have worked hard to ensure hair and beauty salons, barbershops and individual professionals can get back to work but because some are failing to follow the guidelines, they are putting the whole industry at risk.

“We’ve launched our #DoItRight campaign to help hair and beauty businesses across the UK understand the guidelines that apply in their part of the country.

“The last thing any of us want is to face further restrictions, further lockdowns or a second spike in Coronavirus infections.”

Despite the fact that salons have now been allowed to resume facial treatments, some have highlighted how a potential case of sexism has damaged the industry more than was necessary, as the list of treatments deemed safe included a beard trim, but ruled out eyebrow threading.

Back in July the discrepancy sparked outrage in the beauty industry. The Beauty Guild, the UK’s largest trade body representing over 16,000 beauty professionals, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stating: “While it is understandable that some treatments must remain off-limits, there is no scientific reason why eyebrow treatments pose more of a threat than beard trimming.”

Many industry professionals complained the rules highlight how the beauty industry had long been wrongly perceived as superficial, despite the fact that it’s worth nearly £30bn to the UK economy.

Bridget Healy, Managing Director of Laser Clinics UK, said she is thrilled to see the 13 clinics in her network fully up and running again.

She told “Now that we can treat the face and do some of our most popular skin treatments, we are seeing customer numbers return to normal pre-Covid levels! We also had 2 brand new clinics open in the last two weeks - Cambridge and Luton – which have started phenomenally well. Our PPE and COVID-19 risk management protocols have been well received and I am really excited to welcome more and more customers back into clinics over the coming weeks.”

Healy has previously spoke to in depth about the business and the impact of COVID-19.

Eilidh Smith, Founder & CEO of SkinWork at Alex Eagle, previously told “I am delighted and relieved for the whole industry with the news that facial services can resume. Now we can start rebuilding our businesses, recruiting and contributing to the economy again.

“It really has been a rollercoaster for the beauty industry and I would still love to see support from the government in terms of a vat cut or similar to boost business and champion the industry”.

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