After self-quarantining for more than three months, one of the many things I was looking forward to was finally getting my hair colored.
I was long overdue, and had the roots to prove it, by the time June rolled around. Before then, the last time I had visited the salon was in early January.
I was eager to make an appointment as soon as I got wind that salons in my area were reopening and snagged one a week after restrictions were lifted.
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When the day of my appointment arrived, I headed to the salon with my mask and hand sanitizer in tow. I wore a disposable mask instead of my go-to cotton one, since I figured the hair dye could easily stain it, just like I avoid wearing a light-colored shirt usually. Perhaps most of all, I was excited to have somewhere to go after months of only going to the grocery store, picking up food at local restaurants or taking neighborhood walks.
I arrived to the salon and headed to the entrance, which had been moved from the original double door moved to a side door. I assume this move was to limit how much of the salon people would have to walk through before getting to their stylist's station. There was a stanchion that prevented anyone from walking directly into the salon and the door was kept open to maintain airflow. I was greeted by an employee who confirmed my appointment, asked me a series of health-related questions and took my temperature with a digital thermometer before escorting me to my chair. I instantly felt comfortable seeing how seriously they were taking the precautions before anyone had even stepped foot through the door.
At my colorist's station, there was a small plastic bag, similar to a hotel laundry bag, waiting for me to put my belongings in as well as a paper cape, like one you would wear at a doctor's appointment, to put on. The salon instructed clients to refrain from bringing in purses or jackets, so I placed my keys, phone and wallet inside the bag, put on the cape and took my seat.
The salon sent out an email detailing all of this ahead of time, so I knew exactly to what to expect. This also helped me feel fully confident that they were taking all of the necessary health and safety steps. If you're headed to a salon, I would highly recommend asking what precautions they have in place if they haven't communicated that information already.
My colorist arrived wearing a face shield, mask and gloves. The appointment began and it honestly felt like any other visit. We had a quick consultation and then it was time to get to work. It was definitely one of the most "normal" experiences I've had in months. Even just interacting with other people after months of seeing the same few faces in my household everyday was refreshing.
As soon as the foils were placed, my colorist left the area where I was seated and waited for the timer elsewhere in order to limit our contact with each other.
While it's certainly important to be vigilant, the precautions didn't preclude me from savoring the self-care time. There were no magazines or beverages as usual, so I used the time to delete old emails, which felt productive.
When it came to the washing out the color, my colorist's assistant sanitized the sink as soon as each client was done using it. I overlapped with only one other client in the same section where I was seated and we were very spaced out; easily more than the recommended 6 feet. I also went on a Sunday, so the salon was likely quieter than usual. I definitely recommend trying to book an appointment at an off-peak time to help limit the number of people there.
The assistant also made sure to sanitize any equipment that was used and the chairs after each client.
Once I was done, I brushed my wet hair myself before my colorist took a final look and I headed home. Blow dryers and styling equipment were put away, and clients were asked to finish any styling at home.
The salon required a credit card to be on file when booking the appointment and automatically charged it as soon as the service was complete. I left my colorist a tip at the front desk, which was separated by a plexiglass barrier to limit contact.
I was relieved to feel completely safe and comfortable throughout the entire experience and enjoyed having some sense of normalcy after months in quarantine. It felt so routine, in fact, that I almost forgot I hadn't been to the salon in six months. As long as your area recommends reopening and you and the salon follow safety protocols, I'd recommend getting a refresh — there's something about giving yourself a little TLC that can instantly boost your mood.