Tip and Hacks I Learned Along The Way
My first day back to work was June 9th, 2020. All sorts of emotions had flooded my mind that day. I was a bit of a nervous nelly, frazzled just trying to remember to follow all the rules set in place. The week prior, when most salons opened on June 1st, I spent a majority of my time reading, researching and interviewing fellow stylists on their experiences of working behind the chair. I was trying to get a sense of what it would look and feel like for me going back.
I had arrived at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. My first client wasn't coming in until 4. Two days before we opened our doors, Kate and I sat down and went over the new state guidelines and protocols. I think the initial, "shock factor," hit me then. Holy cow, we're finally doing this. We have been out of work for three months and to get back into a work routine was going to be a whole different ball game. It won't be the same feeling, at least not for awhile working under these new restrictions.
I'm not going to lie, it was a little hectic at first, but after my last client of the day, I finally got into the swing of things. Fast forward to Saturday when I realized that I had officially, and successfully completed my first full week at Meche. It wasn't easy, but I made it through. I wanted to share some tips with you as I continued to explore what this "new normal" was going to look like from my perspective.
Tip number one...medical tape is our savior! After entering the salon from our back entrance, I grabbed my apron from one of the bins I had prepared. Before putting my mask on, Kate had suggested I use medical tape to seal the mask in place along the bridge of my nose and across my cheeks. Now I had heard that fogging was an issue with the face shields and goggles we all had to wear. My first thought was, we can't possibly perform services if we don't have a clear vision of what we're doing. Kate then preceded to explain that the tape helps to prevent the air flow from exiting out of the top of the mask into the goggles, hence creating fog. It worked!
Word of advice...the medical tape does indeed work to prevent fogging, but don't tape it so close to your eyes. Especially the part where the skin is the thinnest. I learned this the hard way...yikes, that hurt! I will mention tough, it's a good idea to double up on the tape, because after about 3 hours or so the adhesive will eventually wear out from all the moisture trying to escape.
Tip number two...to ensure we were as prepared and organized as we could be, each client had their own bins packed with a cape, an apron for the stylist, a towel, a welcome packet and other tools needed to do their hair. We fill the bins the night before with everything we need, so we have less contact with touching everything in and out of our stations. We are by appointment only, working one-on-one with our clients and maintain a 50% capacity in the salon. Being a smaller shop, we are at an advantage because the traffic load at most, is no more than four people in our establishment. Kate and I are lucky in the sense that our space is both big and roomy enough to safely, (within reason) maintain social distancing practices, and are a good 12 ft away from each other while servicing guests.
Tip number three...now would be the perfect time to skip the makeup. Because we're wearing masks and face protection all day, makeup is not necessary. I say this because A.) After about two hours into working, you start to break a sweat from the heat trapped under all that equipment and B.) The only thing visible underneath the mask are your eyes. Plus, the sweat from your face and makeup can clog your pores and cause you to break out. My suggestion for when you get home after work, is to immediately wash your face with a good cleanser and use a toner right after. If you don't have a face toner, Witch Hazel is a great product to keep on hand. Witch Hazel is an astringent that helps to remove excess oil, dirt and debris without over drying. It also helps to nourish your skin and seal in moisture.
Tip number four...keep a Barbicide bin in the back room! What really helped us while working this week, was filling up a small storage bin with Barbicide to throw all our dirty combs, brushes, and clips into. Kate and I keep nothing on our stations aside from our heat mats and disinfectant wipes. The Barbicide bin we keep in the break room has been a life saver. We each have our own glass jars to disinfect our combs in, but those as some of you may know are small and can quickly overfill if they have too much in them. At the end of our shift, we retrieve the tools from bin, rinse them off, dry them and use them the following day. We try to stay on top of cleaning and prepping while clients are processing, so at the end of our day, all we need to worry about is cleaning our stations and closing down the salon. With more blocks in our schedule allotted for cleaning and disinfecting, there is no room for error. It's important for us to ensure the safety and health of our clients, as well as ourselves.
Tip number five...consider offering a scalp and conditioning treatment in lieu of blow drying! Because we aren't offering blow drys at the salon until further notice, we have had success with our scalp and conditioning treatments when washing clients' hair. If they book an appointment for a haircut, we have asked our clients to come in with clean, dry, blown out hair for us to cut first. We then walk our clients back to the shampoo basin, where our scalp and conditioning treatment includes a 1-2 minute shampoo cleanse and scrub, followed by a deep conditioner application, and a 3-5 minute scalp massage using a hot towel, infused with an essential oil of some kind. It not only relaxes our guests, but they enjoy those few minutes of pampering as well!
Tip number six...don't forget to pack your lunch and dinner! Fueling our bodies, especially after being on our feet all day can really take a toll on us. It's important to prep meals and pack snacks if you can, before going into work. What's really saved me this week, was portioning out my protein powder and supplements to mix at work. Kate keeps a bottle of almond milk in the fridge so we can both remember to drink our shakes. Some of you may be working long hours to make up for loss time and missed appointments. With restaurants being closed and only available for take out, it can be difficult to leave the salon, just to grab a quick bite to eat. But hey if you've done it, kudos to you! I cannot wait to finally have the opportunity to dine out with friends once they do open.
The joke I've been circulating around the salon this past week was, "It only took a quarantine to grow out your hair!" There's nothing like a good haircut that can brighten someone's mood and trust me there were plenty this week! But all jokes aside, these last few days haven proven to be a learning experience for me. Continually discovering what works and what doesn't, despite how difficult times will inevitably be in our profession. My hope is that one day when this all goes away, we'll have the opportunity to say we survived one of the biggest recessions America has ever witness, because that my friends, is the true test.
Organization has been key throughout this whole process since reopening our doors. Although our schedules have slightly changed and our new guidelines hindering us from doing the essential parts of our jobs, our clients have been nothing but supportive and appreciative this entire week. I am so incredibly grateful to be back working, and both Kate and I cannot thank you enough. We truly appreciate every single one of you!