These FAQs are for beauty businesses in England only. They explain what restrictions are currently in place.

The government guidelines for close contact services in England can be found here.

Wales

Beauty businesses can open.

Northern Ireland 

Beauty businesses can open. 

Scotland

Beauty businesses can open (but not mobile beauty businesses until further notice).

Find more information about reopening guidelines for hair, beauty and barbering businesses across the four nations.

 

Reporting concerns: if you have concerns or wish to report a business that is failing to implement the recommended safety standards for limiting the risk of COVID-19, there is an HSE helpline (0300 003 1647) and an online form which can be used to report non-compliance.

Salons and barbershops can also be reported to their local authority. You can find the relevant local council here.

FAQs 

When will beauty businesses in England be allowed to open? 

Beauty businesses can open in England. However, there are restrictions on the types of treatment that can be offered. See below. 

The rules apply to all beauty professionals in England, including those who provide mobile services from their homes and in other people’s home, those in retail environments and the afters, as well as those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments. 

This guidance is also designed for those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people’s homes, those in retail environments and the arts, as well as those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments. 

Can beauty professionals offer the full range of services when they reopen? 

No. It’s important to note that beauty professionals will not be able to offer therapies and treatments that involve working on the face. 

These restrictions will be in place due to the requirement to avoid working in the ‘highest risk zone’ which is the area directly in front of a client’s eyes, nose and mouth. 

As detailed in the government guidance, you will not be allowed to offer treatments that involve working on the face until until 15 August 2020 at the earliest. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Face waxing, sugaring or threading services.
  • Facial treatments.
  • Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical).
  • Eyelash treatments.
  • Make-up application.
  • Dermarolling.
  • Dermaplaning.
  • Microblading.
  • Electrolysis on the face. (Electrolysis on the neck involving prolonged activity near the highest risk zone should be avoided and alternative shorter duration treatments suggested.)
  • Eyebrow treatments.
  • Intricate detailing, outlining or shaving of beards.
  • Advanced beauty therapy and aesthetic treatments (this does not apply to medical settings). 

When will beauty professionals be able to offer treatments on the face? 

You will be able to offer these treatments from until 15 August 2020 at the earliest. 

Which treatments are allowed? 

Any treatments on the body, for example manicures, pedicures, massages, leg or bikini waxing will be allowed. 

For shoulder massages, the practitioner should continually move from side to side or from the back throughout the massage, avoiding the highest risk zone. Keep the activity time in one area as short as possible. The client should be face down, facing away from the practitioner. If this is not possible (working with the client face down, facing away from the practitioner) the shoulder massage should not be performed.

Spray tanning can be done on the body but cannot be completed on the face, we would recommend that a salon provides a retail self-tan product for the client to apply to the face.  

Other treatments which are allowed on the head are:

  • Ear-piercing.
  • Hopi ear candle.
  • Indian head massage. (For scalp massage, the practitioner must continually move from side to side or from the back, avoiding the highest risk zone and keeping the activity time involved as short as possible. Where practicable the client should be face downwards.)

Good practice for all treatments

During a treatment, the practitioner should continually move from side to side or work from the back avoiding the highest risk zone. Avoid inactive periods and keep the activity time involved as short as possible.

See FAQ below for information on advanced beauty practices and aesthetics treatments. 

Can I treat a client classed as clinically vulnerable?

If a client meets the definition of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you must use your professional judgement to decide whether the benefit of treatment is likely to outweigh any potential risk. If you decide that treatment is appropriate, the client must seek permission from their GP, midwife or consultant before having a treatment.

It's important to follow the general advice on social distancing.

Do I need to wear gloves for massages and other body treatments?

Practitioners should seek to avoid skin to skin contact with colleagues and clients if it is not crucial for the treatment and to wear gloves where possible. If this is not possible (to perform a massage, for example with gloves on), then practitioners need to include this within their task specific treatment risk assessment and ensure mitigating control measures are in place. 

Has a maximum length of time been set for appointments?

No maximum length of time has been officially set. We are currently seeking clarification in this point. Practitioners can decide on a case-by-case basis if a shorter treatment can be offered that would provide the same therapeutic outcome.

However - the NHBF would not recommend any total appointment time lasting for more than one hour when you first reopen.

What about restrictions to spas? 

Spas should keep saunas and steam rooms closed until further notice. 

Spas may operate any of the following facilities outdoors from 13 July, and indoors from 25 July, providing social distancing is in place: gyms, jacuzzis, whirlpools, hydrotherapy and swimming pools – the government guidance must be followed. 

What PPE (personal protective equipment) will be required? 

The government’s current guidelines for safe working in salons and barbershops states that beauty therapists should wear a clear visor that covers the forehead, extends below the chin and wraps around the face. 

The visor is in addition to the PPE you normally wear when carrying out treatments, for example gloves or aprons. 

Practitioners should seek to avoid skin to skin contact with colleagues and clients if it is not crucial for the treatment and to wear gloves where possible. If this is not possible (to perform a massage, for example with gloves on), then practitioners need to include this within their task specific treatment risk assessment and ensure mitigating control measures are in place. 

Current guidance says that you should strongly encourage clients to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces such as salons or studios where social distancing may be difficult and where they come into contact with people that they do not normally meet.  Team members MUST wear visors but can wear face coverings as well (not instead).

From 8 August 2020, members of the public must wear a face covering in nail bars, hair and beauty salons and barbershops. If necessary, the client can remove their face mask for a treatment to be carried out. (But note that treatments on the face are not allowed in England until at least 15 August 2020. Beard trims are allowed if the barber avoids activity in the highest risk zone.) 

Members of the public do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):  

  • Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear them.
  • Public Health England do not recommend face coverings for children under the age of three for health and safety reasons.
  • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the person severe distress.
  • If the person is travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.
  • To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and the person does not have a face covering with them.
  • To eat or drink if reasonably necessary.
  • To take medication.
  • If a police officer or other official asks the person to remove their face covering.  

There are also situations when people are permitted to remove a face covering, including: 

  • If asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol.
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask others, either verbally or in writing, to remove a face covering to help with communication. 

Find out more about face coverings on the government website

The government guidelines also state that the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus are still social distancing and regular handwashing. 

Detailed information about the required PPE can be found in section six of the government’s guidelines

Please note:

  • The PPE requirements set out in the guidelines cannot be used for carrying out advanced beauty practices and aesthetics treatments which require medical grade PPE. See more on this below.
  • The government’s PPE guidelines are for carrying out treatments on the body. Until further notice, treatments on the face cannot be carried out even when wearing a visor. 

If I wear a visor can I do eyelash extensions? 

No. The government guidelines section 6 have been updated with the following information: 

Services which require workers to be within the highest risk zone of clients, for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided (such as eyelash extensions), should not be resumed until government guidance changes. 

Why can celebrity and session make-up artists work in TV and film? 

We are urgently seeking clarification from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on this. 

What about advanced beauty practices and aesthetics treatments? 

Until further notice, advanced beauty practices and aesthetics treatments can only be performed by clinically trained medical practitioners (clinical training, medical grade PPE and a clinical-standard environment in which to work). We understand this is on the advice of the government’s chief medical officer and his team. 

What about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? 

Scotland

Scotland guidance can be found here – Scotland have adopted the same guidelines as England for spas, sunbed salons and tattoo artists. They have also provided an additional checklist

Wales

Guidance, a checklist and restart risk assessment for beauty businesses in Wales are available on the Welsh Government website.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland must use the England government guidelines. 

Find more information about reopening guidelines for hair, beauty and barbering businesses across the four nations.

What is the NHBF doing? 

The NHBF has been campaigning at the highest levels for beauty businesses to be allowed to reopen.

We are also pushing for more financial and business support for beauty businesses until they are fully up and running again. 

Safety for therapists and clients remains the NHBF’s top priority. 

We feel that beauty and aesthetics practitioners who meet the same standards as medical practitioners (wearing medical grade PPE and working in an environment that meets clinical conditions) should be allowed to offer the same advanced beauty and aesthetic treatments as their medical counterparts, and are continuing to lobby the Government on this.  

The NHBF, BABTAC and the British Beauty Council are calling for the scientific advice about the ‘highest risk zone’ to be published to give businesses a better understanding about why restrictions have been put in place for the beauty industry. 

Where can I find more information? 

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Need help with health & safety in your salon or barbershop? NHBF Members benefit from a comprehensive range of support and advice, including access to our free  helpline and a generous discount on our comprehensive health and safety toolkits. Find out more.