Lockdown restrictions have now eased. Follow the top tips below to ensure your clients enjoy a great visit to your salon or barbershop. 

This blog post covers: 

Clients and face coverings

The legal requirement to wear face covering is removed from 19 July in England.

Some protective measures will stay in place such as the use of face coverings indoors in Scotland from 9 August 2021.

In Scotland, the guidance says: "a client may temporarily remove a face covering to receive a treatment to this area. If treatments continue elsewhere, a face covering must be immediately replaced".

 In  Wales, face coverings can be removed for close contact treatments on the face.

In Northern Ireland you must take reasonable steps to ensure that clients receiving any service wear a face covering unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, or it is necessary not to wear a face covering due to the nature of the service. 


What about clients who are exempt from wearing face coverings?

Depending on which of the four nations, it applies to, some clients will be exempt from wearing a face covering, for example for health reasons.

This may raise concerns for the health & safety of your staff and other clients.

In addition, the law says you must protect your staff’s health & safety.

You will need to strike a balance between:

- Protecting your staff and other clients.

- Ensuring you do not discriminate against clients who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

You must consider if you can make reasonable adjustments so that you can still offer your client an appointment while also protecting the health & safety of others.

You will need to show that you are:

Taking a reasonable approach.

Following your risk assessment.

Making the health & safety of your staff and clients your top priority.

NHBF Members should get advice from the health & safety team before taking any action.


Reassure your clients in advance 

Contact your client in advance of their appointment to reassure them about the measures you have taken to protect them while they are in your salon or barbershop. Give them a step-by-step guide of what will happen during their visit so expectations are managed and there won’t be any surprises or misunderstandings. Ask if they have any concerns about their visit so you can address any fears they may have about their forthcoming appointment. 

Covid haircut

Make first impressions count 

This is crucial to a great client experience. Your reception sets the scene for the client experience and should be the transitional area from the hustle and bustle of the outside world into the comfort of your salon or barbershop where your client is happy to spend time. A warm welcome and using the client’s name will make a big difference to how they feel on arrival. 

Your reception team should also be able to calmly explain the extra safety measures you have in place at the current time and be ready to answer any questions. This will inspire confidence and help your client to relax. Find out more about the importance of excellent client reception skills and how to make the most of your reception area. 

Hairstyle PPE

Good communications despite PPE

Good communication while wearing a face mask and/or visor - especially if your client is wearing a face mask too - is a little more difficult to achieve. Social distancing also rules out a welcoming hug or kiss on the cheek.

Smiling and using the client's name will help to overcome the barriers created by PPE - a genuine smile can be seen in the eyes. Good eye contact will also help, as will speaking extra clearly if wearing a mask and/or visor.

If a client is wearing a face covering it can more difficult to pick up on what they are thinking or feeling, but look out for fidgeting, talking very quickly or a stiff body which can be signs that your client is feeling worried or uncomfortable. Keep the conversation going to ensure your client is happy throughout the appointment - both with the health & safety procedures you have in place and the services or treatments you are providing.

Carry out a thorough consultation

This can be done in advance online or over the phone. Online consultations may be particularly suitable for clients who have hearing difficulties and might find face-to-face consultations difficult if you are wearing a face mask and/or visor.

You may not have seen your client for a while, so book extra time to make sure you understand their needs and expectations and to ensure any necessary client health care questionnaires and allergy alert tests are up to date. 

Find out about the importance of allergy alert testing post-lockdown. 

Find out how to set up a simple and effective allergy alert testing system. 

All the information you need for doing industry tests is in our NHBF consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit for hair salons and barbershops which is free to NHBF Members (£4.50 P&P). 


Allergy alert and sensitivity testing toolkits for beauty salons are also available. Find out more. 


Don’t take your client for granted and never assume they want the ‘same again’ – or they may be tempted to go somewhere new to try a different treatment or style rather than waiting for you to take an interest in them again. Consultations with existing clients should be as thorough as those with new clients. Listen to their ideas then add your own – something new may be just want they need to lift their spirits at the current time. 

In addition, you’ll want to turn every new client into a long-term one and first impressions will make a huge difference. A warm welcome and detailed consultation (whether online or in person) is a key first step for long-term loyalty. This will show new clients that you are professional, able to offer expert advice and keen to understand exactly what they want.  

Your client may also want reassurance that the treatment or service they want to have is safe. Always take their concerns seriously - don’t let them think that it may be safer or easier to go elsewhere. Find out more about client consultations

Always show genuine interest in your clients 

Make a mental note of previous conversations you’ve had with clients, for example, family news or new treatments or services they have been thinking about trying. You can then ‘pick up where you left off’ at their next appointment. This will help your client feel valued and appreciated as an individual rather than just another client. While the coronavirus outbreak continues, it’s important to build and maintain your clients’ trust and to do all you can to support their emotional welfare too. 

Guide to client experience

Discover how to deliver an outstanding client experience in our free guide for Members only. 

Don’t rush your client out the door 

Even at the current time when you have to clean and sanitise between appointments and it may be tempting to speed up the ‘one in, one out’ system. Always ask your client if they are happy with everything, make sure they know about any special offers that are coming up and encourage them to make their next appointment before leaving. Offer new high-value clients a free or discounted extra treatment or product on their next visit.

Clean basin

Handle complaints professionally 

Take complaints seriously, stay calm and listen carefully. If you handle a complaint well, you may be able to turn things around and transform an unhappy client back into a ‘loyal champion’ for your business. Find out more about dealing with complaints.

Guide to handling complaints

Our free guide to handling complaints is available to NHBF Members only.

Not yet a Member? Join now for less than 80p a day.

Make sure you comply with the latest guidelines 

Keep up to date with all the latest government guidelines and make sure you have all the correct measures in place to protect your clients and staff.

Find out more in our blog post.

Please note:

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law. The actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.



  • Reassure your clients in advance so they know what to expect.
  • Make first impressions count to ensure your clients receive a warm and reassuring welcome.
  • Carry out a thorough consultation with both existing and new clients.
  • Show genuine interest in your clients so they feel special and valued as an individual.
  • Don’t rush clients out the door, even though it may be tempting when you have to clean and sanitise between appointments.
  • Handle complaints professionally – you may be able to turn things around and transform an unhappy client back into a loyal client.
  • Make sure you comply with all the latest guidelines - don't risk fines or prison. 

This post was updated on 18 February 2021.