This Is the Question No Stylist Wants to Hear Right Now

Navigating guidelines for reopened salons can be hard on stylists, and you may be making it worse.

Navigating a new way of life amid the COVID-19 pandemic isn't easy, even as some businesses are reopening. As the threat of coronavirus still looms, consumers and employees alike are adjusting to changes in service necessary for lowering risk. If you patronize these places, you should be aware of the seemingly harmless things you're doing or saying that may be making life harder for workers. Take the salon, for example. There's one question in particular that your stylist absolutely does not want to hear right now: "Can you see me any earlier?"

Veronica Tapia, hair stylist and owner of Jersey Curl Salon, recently announced her salon's reopening date of June 23. However, she says she's been asked many times in emails and phone messages if her salon could take certain clients ahead of time.

"If I just announced a reopening date, why would anyone ask if I can see them earlier than that date?" she wonders.

And it's not just stylists who are gearing up to start working again who want you to be aware of this. It goes for salons that are already reopened, as well. Many stylists are already booked up to a certain date from rescheduling postponed or cancelled appointments. When you make your appointment, stylists will typically tell you the next appointment they have available that aligns with any restrictions you've given them. So asking them if they can see you sooner than that can be frustrating.

mature adult woman with mouth nose mask and washed hairs relaxing with eyes closed in hairdresser salon during first weeks of reopening after long periode of coronavirus lockdown, coiffeur working on other client with enough social distance blurred in background

And Tapia says the frustrations don't end there. After being away from their favorite salon for months, many clients want an extensive amount of services and expect for them to all be done in one appointment.

"Some people will say they want everything done on the same day—haircut, color correction, highlights—and the answer I have is no. The max is two services for now," she explains. "I have suggested they book two separate appointments. I think this is only fair for the rest of the clients, so everyone gets a chance to get a cut or color."

And Tapia is far from the only hair stylist overwhelmed with appointments right now. Many clients are eager to get the treatments they want and booked up schedules as soon as the books were reopened. For instance, Connecticut allowed salons to be open for business again as of on June 1, and The Connecticut Mirror talked to several stylists who said they only had few available appointments left in the upcoming weeks. Elmwood Barbershop owner Chris Niles said he was already booked all the way through July.

In addition to respecting that businesses will be overwhelmed for a while, Tapia says that clients need to be prepared for things to be vastly different from how they were before the coronavirus. Most salons are not allowed to have waiting rooms due to state social distancing guidelines, and many products may be delayed or out of stock, as Tapia says almost "every business' supply chain has been affected." If customers understand these dilemmas before coming in for appointments, stylists won't receive backlash for things they can't control, making it a better environment for everyone.

"We are trying our best to accommodate everyone, considering," Tapia says. "It's as if we are opening a whole new salon under different guidelines, while being as careful as we can for both our staff and clients. As we continue to implement these new changes, we hope to find better, more effective solutions. But for now, this is the way it has to be." And for more changes you can expect at your next haircut, check out the 7 Things You'll Never See at Your Hair Salon Ever Again.

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