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The industry was hoping to get a total all-clear from the Government after being one of the last sectors to be able to return to work with new safety measures in place.
But although some treatments, such as body massages, nails and pedicures, are back on, other businesses have been left waiting, with no date for a reopening to aim towards.
The list of treatments still not allowed includes facial waxing, sugaring and threading, facial skin treatments, eyelash treatments, eyebrow treatments, make-up, dermarolling, dermaplaning, microblading, and electrolysis on the face.
Facialist Nicola Harris, who owns Nicola Harris Skin Clinic in Aigburth, says she and other facial specialists like her have been left in limbo by the new rules.
“Every time there’s an announcement we hold our breath to see if it’s going to be us, but so far it’s always been a ‘no’,” she says.
“Anything from the neck down is fine, but anything facial isn’t allowed so where does that leave thousands of facial specialists who are highly trained and qualified? Where do we fit into the plan?”
Nicola says she and her industry colleagues are struggling to understand why a practice which is already so heavily focused on hygiene has been sidelined.
“We’re confused because we work in such a sterile environment anyway, and if we are all going to wear visors as well then surely any possible risk is reduced even more? If a man can go to the barber’s and have his beard trimmed, then why can’t our clients come back to us?
“I think part of the problem is a lack of understanding of what we do, what some of the treatments involve and how we deliver them.
“When I do a facial treatment, the client lies on a bed and I sit or stand behind them, so there is no direct face-to-face contact.
“It’s the same with eyebrows or lashes – they’re always carried out from behind. Make-up artists are really the only ones who work face-to-face.”
Nicola closed her business down in the middle of March and hasn’t been able to reopen since then.
“I can’t work and I don’t know when I’ll be able to work,” she explains. “As soon as the government put social distancing in place that ruled out our business because you can’t do a facial treatment from two metres away.
“I’ve been in the industry for 27 years, I’ve worked hard to open my own clinic and have my own business, and this has put all of that under threat. I only moved into a new clinic in January but it’s hard to keep going without an income.”
Industry membership organisation Babtac – British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology – has, says Nicola, warned members that if anyone is found to be breaking the rules they could face a fine of £3,000 and two years’ imprisonment.
“It is so frustrating for us because we do take the guidelines seriously, but we feel that our professionalism isn’t being recognised, it’s dismissed and sometimes it’s made a mockery of. It’s seen as something laughable and fluffy.
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“But we’re a wellbeing industry and that’s supposed to be more important than ever at the moment since people have been in lockdown for such a long time because their mental health and their skin have suffered.
“We’re treating the skin, and the concerns people have about it which could impact on their mental health. It’s not just about looking good, it’s making people feel better about themselves.
“We’d like the government to recognise that, and to see that we are able to reopen safely with fewer risks than a lot of other sectors. Hopefully if there’s enough pressure put on them, they’ll have to give us a reopening date and we can all get back to work at last.”
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