PEOPLE Style's Hanna Flanagan shares her Missouri manicure experience

By Hanna Flanagan
June 17, 2020 12:57 PM
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Nail grooming in beauty salon
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I recently confessed during a meeting with my fellow PEOPLE Style team members that I was on my way to a mani/pedi appointment after months of social distancing, and subsequent salon closures, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

My beauty-obsessed co-workers had a lot of feelings — a few of them gasped, and others were a little bit jealous at the thought of a fresh coat of gel polish. So they asked me to share my experience, as I am in Missouri (where most non-essential businesses are up and running) while many of them are still hunkered down in New York City (which is just one week into Phase I of re-opening).

I gathered my observations and wrote them down here, so you’ll know exactly what to expect when you, too, are able to safely reunite with your salon pros.

In Missouri, government officials began Phase I of reopening in early May and announced that social distancing restrictions will be fully lifted by June 16. I found that most hair and nail salons here abided by state-enforced protocol upon reopening their business — my go-to, The Trove Salon, did an especially good job of keeping both customers and employees safe.

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When I arrived for my appointment, I waited outside for my nail tech to come get me, instead of sitting in the lobby like I would’ve done pre-COVID. This ensured safe social distancing and allowed employees to monitor the number of customers inside the salon at one time.

Next, I got my temperature checked via a non-invasive forehead thermometer before I walked through the door.

I was relieved to see that both employees and customers were wearing protective face masks when I got inside. The stations were squeaky clean, and there was a bottle of hand sanitizer near the front desk. I was asked to wash my hands immediately upon arrival.

All staff members were wearing gloves and a few were wearing face shields. I also noticed that all of them were switching out and cleaning aprons after every appointment. They also sanitized each work station — chair included — between appointments. It was evident that my salon took time to plan their re-opening process, which made for an overall comforting and safe experience.

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A few weeks after my successful appointment at The Trove Salon, I ventured back out of my house for a touch-up at a different local spot that was much more lenient — I was able to walk right in and I was not required to wear a mask. The only noticeable difference between the pre- and post-COVID atmosphere was a sign on the front door that read “wash hands before any service.”

I was happy to leave with a summer-ready bright blue pedicure, but I couldn't help but wonder if it was worth the risk. Now with two post-lock down salon trips under my belt, I have three pieces of advice: do your research, bring your own polish (customers are still touching bottles, so I feel safest bringing my own) and book way far in advance.

Call ahead or check online to find how your salon plans to re-open. Don't be afraid to ask what precautionary measures are in place to keep both you and your nail tech, hairdresser, colorist, cosmetologist, etc. safe.

In addition, remember that you're not the only one who wants a pedicure — in fact, people are rushing out to the salons as government officials lift social distancing restrictions. So if you don't book ahead, your only option might be a walk-in salon that didn't put the time and effort into safely re-opening.