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Branded salons brace up as anxious customers look for safe grooming outlets

Beauty industry protocols have detailed sanitisation protocols that advocate the use of protective gear and disposables apart from sanitising entire salon premises. (ANI Photo)Premium
Beauty industry protocols have detailed sanitisation protocols that advocate the use of protective gear and disposables apart from sanitising entire salon premises. (ANI Photo)

  • Salons might end up looking like a medical facility with staff wearing PPE, gloves, head cover
  • Besides reducing direct contact, the new beauty industry protocols eliminate sharing of products

NEW DELHI: Ritika Changia, an analyst and researcher in the automobile industry is looking forward to her grooming regimen after almost two months as salons are now allowed to reopen by the home ministry. But she would strictly prefer branded ones over local beauty parlours.

"Since the sanitisation measures and protocols would be much stricter in branded salons. I'd feel more comfortable and safe," the Delhiitesaid.

For 23-year old fashion industry executive, Shweta Saha who prefers big salon but is still apprehensive about the safety said, "I'd wait for 1-2 weeks to see if any infection cases emerge from salons. You can never be sure," she said.

Sensing the fear and anxiety among customers in an industry which depends heavily on human touch, a clutch of branded chain of salons such as Lakme, Kaya Skin Clinic and L’Oréal Professional among others have started training their staff and amping up the sanitisation drive before opening doors to customers. Salons might end up looking like a medical facility with staff wearing PPE, gloves, head cover apart from regular temperature screenings, limited appointments and preference for plastic money to avoid the risk of virus infection.

Besides reducing direct person-to-person contact, the new beauty industry protocols eliminate sharing of products and have detailed sanitisation protocols that advocate the use of protective gear and disposables apart from sanitising entire salon premises. Many have also made its staff undergo certification process for safety norms released by Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC).

Lakme, which operates 490 salons across India, said that it has worked with medical experts to review and enhance the protocols for services like threading, waxing, manicures, pedicures and facials, to reduce the chances of transmission.

"Some of the other measures include monitoring of salon teams and customers through Aarogya Setu app, strict social distancing through 50% staff strength and limited pre-booked appointments, daily deep cleaning and regular disinfection of every touch point throughout the day with a bio surfactant cleaner, protective gear – masks, gloves, visors - for the team, revised processes for skin, hair and makeup services to reduce touch, development of single-use kits, enhanced sterilization protocols, and contactless billing and payments," said Lakmé Salon spokesperson.

Kaya Clinic which offers an array of skin, hair and body services said that its customer-facing staff will wear PPE and stringent sensitisation with UVC will be undertaken after every service. This is in addition to over 60 service measures, including pre-screening of consumers/staff, using disposables and monodose kits for all services.

Rajiv Nair, Group CEO - Kaya Clinic said,

"We have designed a new campaign “Kaya Safe" to encompass our obsession with safety which is very much called for in this situation. We want our consumers to feel safe and visit our clinics to avail the services they have been missing out on for the last two months."

Enrich, 22-year old salon chain, is also offering alternate methods for threading which often involves direct touch (with tweezers) and usage of only cartridge wax, separate cordoned -off area for customers for multiple services - and for serving members of a single family along with installing sensor based sanitizers.

The Indian arm of French beauty salon chain Jean-Claude Biguine has a presence of a doctor in almost all salons as it looks to fully digitalise all salons.

Samir Srivastav, CEO, Jean-Claude Biguine India said that they are going extra mile to take additional precautionary methods. "We have conducted extensive safety and hygiene trainings and educational exercises in multiple languages for all our employees. We are sourcing the best PPE gear, single-use service kits and adhering to contactless operations and deep disinfection in salons. We received overwhelming and positive response from our clients when we recently opened few of our salons in few states," he added.

Experts believe that while customers will prefer branded salons over local beauty parlours owing to better hygiene measures initially it won't completely convert them as local parlours cater to a different set of customer base at a unique price point.

“India is a growing beauty and wellness market therefore each format type caters to different needs of customers. Hence, they are not competing with each other," said Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer, at Technopak.

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