I got my hair done today. Our state reopened last week after being under a safer-at-home order from our Governor for over a month. I debated whether or not I should go. Is it safe? Am I being reckless and risking my health for my looks? I wasn’t sure, but my mental health has taken a hit lately and I was hoping that getting a cut and color would make me feel better.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the anxiety that’s keeping me up at night as I’m sure you’re experiencing very similar anxiety. Going to the salon has always been a special treat for me, a relaxing experience where I’m not responsible for anything other than holding my head still. I look forward to these few hours of “me time” where I get to look at magazines and drink coffee.
I’ve been coloring my hair since I was a teenager so a lot of my identity is wrapped up in this part of my appearance. I’ve tried to go back to my natural color a few times knowing that it would save me money but every time I do this I end up spending double the money to get my highlights put back in. I feel prettier when my hair looks nice and feeling pretty just may help me believe, for a few hours anyway, that everything isn’t so whacky.
My stylist reached out to me a few days ago to prep me for my visit. She wanted me to know that she was healthy and that the salon was taking all the precautions necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus and that all I needed to do was show up and “call the salon when you arrive and wait in your car for instructions”…cool.
As instructed I called upon arrival and I was told I could come to the door. The door was propped open and a receptionist, wearing a green mask with the salon’s logo on it, met me at the door. Before I could go any further she took my temperature and asked me to sign a waiver stating that I wasn’t experiencing any coronavirus symptoms and that I wouldn’t sue them if I got coronavirus after my appointment.
I understand their need to protect themselves. If an employee were to test positive for the virus, any client that was in the salon could say the salon is where they contracted it and try to sue for medical costs.
Once I signed the waiver I was told to use hand sanitizer and apply a similar green mask like the one the receptionist was wearing. The receptionist explained to me that the masks are cleaned in a CDC approved detergent and they are placed under ultra-violet light until needed.
I was then asked to wait in the waiting area but not to sit next to any other clients. It seemed busy. Every stylist chair had a client in it. Magazines were removed along with the coffee and water station. The front door stayed open even though it was unseasonably cold and raining.
Usually when I get my hair done my stylist and I talk about everything that’s happened in our lives since my last appointment but today it was all about coronavirus, quarantine, and food shortages. Any expectations I had about relaxing were shot to hell. I was now feeling anxiety and wondering if I should stop at the grocery store on my way home and buy some meat.
Once the color was applied to my hair I was told to wait in my car and come back to the door in 20 minutes so my stylist could check the progression. This is to reduce the number of people in the salon at any one time. I was more than happy to go out to my car, take off that mask, and try to relax a little with a podcast.
Once my color was fully processed I was allowed back inside, was told to use the hand sanitizer again and was then escorted to the sink so my hair could be washed. There was a large piece of plexiglass between each sink as it was impossible to provide six feet of space between people. I found it ironic that plexiglass separated me and another customer yet my stylist is within inches of my face as she cuts my hair. To me, my stylist beingthisclose was of bigger concern and the reason I almost cancelled.
Once my hair was washed she cut a few inches off the ends and said “ok, all done”…wait what? Apparently my visit was over. To my surprise, I was leaving with a wet head. I was informed that the salons in town were told that hair dryers could possibly spread coronavirus and that it was best not to use them at this time.
I have no way to verify this claim. I couldn’t find any information on the internet that was from a reliable source. It kind of makes sense that a device that blows air around a person’s head could spread a virus but like everything else with coronavirus, there is no proof of this and no study has been done so it’s all conjecture.
I understand everything is different in the world right now. Everything is scary and everything is uncertain. I probably should have politely said that I understood and left but I have to confess that this was when I got pissed.
What I’m about to say is going to make me sound like a selfish entitled brat but I went to the salon in the hopes that it would improve my mental health and make me feel beautiful after weeks of stress acne and dark circles under my eyes. I wanted to leave feeling refreshed and gorgeous with a blow out that will last me for days. I did NOT want to leave with a wet head.
I pay a lot of money to get this service and while I understand that they haven’t worked in a few weeks and need the income, I too have been at home several weeks and wasn’t happy to pay full price for half the service.
I felt like they were capitalizing on the situation and trying to make additional money off of me for doing half the work. I’m a long time client of this establishment so I have taken this more personally than I probably should. I understand that lots of people in town are begging for appointments with anybody they can find so demand is high and obviously they don’t feel that they need to adjust their price as a result.
My hair was towel dried and my stylist escorted me to the desk to pay, at which time I was told a “mask fee” was being charged to every customer for the cleaning of the mask the salon provided. I had a mask in the car and would have saved myself this charge if I could have worn my own mask. It was never presented as an option.
I left, feeling more stressed than I did when I walked in. After I got home I dried my hair and as always, my stylist did an amazing job on the color but I’m happy I don’t have to go back for a while. When I do I will know what to expect. Half of my frustration was because I wasn’t given enough information up front…information I didn’t even know I needed to ask for.
My choice to write this article, even though it may not paint me in the best light, is to prevent you from finding yourself in the same position. I feel bad about getting upset. I don’t know how dire their current financial situation is or how desperate they may feel to make every penny they can. I let weeks of anxiety and stress get the best of me today and I feel like an asshole.
Learn from my situation. When you feel safe to go, find out your salon’s policy for protecting you from coronavirus. Make sure you are aware of eliminated services in advance and ask about any additional charges that may be new to the salon.