Austin Area Salons – Taming The New Mane Game

Beauty on the Go owner Lecia Harkins with Tinky Gonzales.

Austin-area hair salons were given the official re-open green light by Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, May 8.    And while the news for stylists and owners to go back was exciting to hear many have opted to delay their openings.  On the flip side, many independent stylists did open and been booked solid with eager patrons ready to shed more than two months of long locks.

Beauty on the Go owner Lecia Harkins said the moment Abbott made the announcement her phone started blowing up requesting appointments.   “I’ve been booked every day.  I am doing fewer people in a day cause my body has to get used to standing all day again!”  added Harkins.    Lecia operates a space inside the Gallery of Salons on Anderson Lane and like stand-alone salons,  they too have to follow new recommendations and rules.

The new guidelines include staying in your car until you are contacted by your stylist to come in and you must wear a mask during the appointment.  Salons are also asking that you don’t pay with cash and have a credit card on file, and please don’t touch retail hair care items on shelves to keep things sanitized.   You may be asked to have your temperature taken and children and friends of guests are requested to stay at home.

Breeze Salon employees social distancing

For larger salons, the opening date was great news but took many owners by surprise.   Breanna Herriott, owner of three Breeze Salon locations agreed, “I wish I could open that soon, but we are just not ready.”   The delay in her openings was due to increased staff training for sanitizing rules and waiting for deliveries on PPE equipment and supplies.  Her open date is Monday, May 18.

Another protocol that has been set for all the Breeze Salon locations is also recommended for other salon owners.  “We won’t be doing any blow dry services to keep germs from circulating.  I know customers will just be glad to get in,”  said Herriott.  Breanna has also asked stylists to wear minimal jewelry and accessories (no scarfs), all hair will be pulled back, and a mask will be required.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation issued their list of guidelines for the salon industry to follow for COVID reopenings.  While the salon sanitation guidelines are already followed before the pandemic, the new guidelines are more about having enough time to properly sanitize spaces in between each client and allow social distancing inside their respective salons.

Kerry Westmoreland co-owner of The Salon at the Domain has been working hard to put in place the necessary protocols to keep staff and clients safe for her Tuesday, May 19th opening.   Kerry is also taking special appointment requests offering early or later appointments to allow for more social distancing.   “We will have limited and staggered staff shifts and have every available hour to book clients,” added Westmoreland.

Did you get creative and adventurous with your hair while in quarantine?  Well, The Salon at the Domain stylists wants to know.   When you book your appointment they will ask you if you touched your hair during quarantine and if you did, expect a quick video consult to book enough time for your service.  For each salon, the new COVID protocols are now all about time-management for sanitation to make sure all clients are taken care of during the rush safely.

The Salon at the Domain remind clients not to handle retail items

We are now moving into what everyone is calling “the new normal” and salons are adapting to whatever that means now and for the future.  This experience has brought salon staff closer allowing them to get really creative to stay connected with each other and their clients.  They’ve had to keep morale high and forced owners to get out of their business comfort zones.    “I should have an MBA after this without the certificate,” added Westmoreland.

Photos all provided by each salon.  Cover photo Mariela Bernal and Michelle Morrow.  Breeze Salon / Round Rock.

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