The abrupt closure of businesses in March 2020 due to COVID-19 left many entrepreneurs questioning their company’s future. For the beauty industry, in particular, government-imposed mandates required a temporary end to cosmetic treatments such as facials, hair styling, and filler procedures.
Ultimately, spas and salons around the globe were forced to shut down and restructure how they provide their clients with the luxurious beauty experience that they were used to. But now that the majority of COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, spas, salons, and dermatology practices have re-emerged with a much more personalized way of offering service. Ahead, we spoke with experts from various corners of the beauty industry on what the future holds in personal care and the positive changes that have been made for a safer, cleaner, yet elevated beauty experience.
Heightened Sanitation Procedures
Pre-pandemic, sanitation protocols did not always take precedence for clients when booking appointments. However, when it comes to spas, salons, and dermatology practices, many beauty experts and owners have reassured us that cleanliness has always been a top priority in providing clientele with the best experience. “Beyond offering masks and hand sanitizer, we utilize an overhead ventilation system and UV light sanitization to ensure optimal cleanliness,” says Dr. Jessie Cheung, a board-certified, fellowship-trained dermatologist with practices in New York City and Chicago. UV germicidal light technology works wonders to sterilize and effectively kill airborne germs and viruses in Dr. Cheung’s offices.
“Estheticians are already trained to keep everything extremely sanitary, regardless of the pandemic,” explains Shani Darden, LA-based celebrity facialist and expert aesthetician. At Darden’s Beverly Hills Facial Studio, all staff members pride themselves on ensuring top-quality service and optimal sanitation.
“We have adjusted our schedules to accommodate extra time in between each client to allow for an even more thorough deep clean and disinfection of rooms,” explains Darden. All tools and machines are required to undergo a thorough cleaning in between usage, and each room is equipped with high-powered air purifiers to offer a serene feel. “We also use a medical linen cleaning service to effectively clean our towels and linens at the appropriate temperature,” adds Darden.
When it comes to Rescue Spa, a full-service day spa located in New York and Philadelphia, owner Danuta Mieloch has always adhered to top-tier service and sanitation. “Since opening our doors in 2004, we have always taken sanitization procedures seriously. For me, cleanliness is next to godliness, especially in aesthetics,” explains Mieloch. This multifaceted spa offers a plethora of offerings, all under one roof, including: customized facials, massages, body treatments, a nail lounge, a hair studio, brow grooming, laser hair removal, and an extensive retail space to shop your favorite beauty brands. “What’s nice for us is our space is big—and I think that’s our super advantage [post-pandemic], rather than being in super-tight quarters,” explains Mieloch.
For Jon Reyman, the owner of Spoke & Weal Hair Salon and team, their sanitation practices have not changed much from their typical salon standards. “Our original salon cleaning protocols were not far from the COVID-19 requirements set in place besides extra spacing [between client seating], operating at a lower occupancy, and temperature taking upon arrival,” says Reyman.
Although the mask mandate has since expired across many parts of the nation, each owner confirmed that their establishment still provides disposable masks upon requests for clients and all employees continue to wear masks during treatments for a superior beauty experience.
Touchless Check-Ins and Consultations
Upon the loosening of COVID regulations, many establishments no longer require a pre-appointment COVID-related waiver but continue to encourage clients and employees to stay home if they have been exposed to the virus and/or experiencing symptoms. “We encourage additional usage of sick leave by employees at the salon and encourage sick clients to stay home, as we do not want to risk any outbreaks,” says Reyman.
Many beauty businesses are looking to technology to stay connected with clients and to offer a safe and contactless check-in experience. “Our virtual skincare consultations have really grown,” says Darden. Clients are able to virtually receive expert skincare advice from Darden and her team from the comfort of their homes. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to connect with clients all over the world and help them with their skin,” she adds. The implementation of virtual consultations as a service option has provided access to customers that do not feel comfortable attending in person.
“In terms of self-care and education, we want to create an opportunity for all of our clients,” says Mieloch. Each Spoke & Weal location continues to err on the side of caution by offering virtual consultations via Zoom (or FaceTime upon request!). However, Reyman has observed that many clients still tend to prefer in-person consultations for upcoming hair appointments.
The Rise of Wellness-Based and At-Home Beauty Treatments
If these unprecedented times have not taught us anything, it has certainly taught many how to pivot and evolve. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused many businesses to shutter but for Lauren Berlingeri, the co-founder and CEO of HigherDOSE, she chose to expand upon her NYC-based infrared wellness spa by providing direct-to-consumer goods.
Insert the brand’s cult-favorite Infrared Sauna Blanket: “Now you can experience the benefits of an infrared sauna in your home or on-the-go,” says Berlingeri. This portable blanket heats up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit with infrared rays that heat your core body temperature to promote detoxification, relaxation, and glowing skin. Bonus: You are able to burn up to 600 calories an hour! “It is a workout while lying down,” she adds.
Another treatment that the brand offers in a portable form is the Red Light Face Mask. “This mask utilizes red light therapy to reduce inflammation, even skin tone, reduce scarring, promote cellular turnover and glowing skin,” says Berlingeri. Not only can this mask easily be packed for on-the-go use but it is specifically designed with an additional head strap to allow you to use it while working out. HigherDOSE also offers the portable version of their best-selling Infrared PEMF Mat.
“Our Infrared PEMF Go-Mat stacks Pulsed Electro Magnetic Frequency technology with infrared and crystal therapy for the ultimate means to calm and regulate your nervous system,” explains Berlingeri. The beauty in the Go-Mat is that this model can be folded into chairs. This the perfect stress-relieving device to use during workdays or while catching up on your favorite shows. Thanks to these three innovative offerings, spa-goers can now experience their favorite treatments from the comfort of their home or while on-the-go.
For Dr. Cheung, optimal well-being sits at the helm of her dermatology practice. “Wellness has always been a part of my practice and lately we have noticed more patients interested in optimizing their internal health,” explains Dr. Cheung. Many of Cheung’s patients have benefitted greatly from receiving peptide therapy which assists in boosting immunity, fighting inflammation, and promoting weight loss. “We have also noticed an increased interest in nutrigenomics,” adds Cheung. Nutrigenomics is a genetic testing system that allows patients to learn how their genes and diet affect their overall health.
Chelsea Hall is the Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers celebrity style, fashion trends, skincare, makeup and anything else tied into the world of fashion and beauty