Safety guidelines for reopening hair & nail salons, barbershops, and spas

A large percentage of our Appointfix clients work in the beauty industry. If you’re a salon owner, hairstylist, barber, cosmetologist, nail technician, lash artist, etc. in the United States, these are the main guidelines you need to know for reopening your salon or barbershop. As humans, we’re not always thrilled about following rules and regulations. Maybe that is why Pablo Picasso said, “learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist.” As mature people, we understand that rules are usually for our protection and well being.

These are protective measures to ensure your safety as a service provider and guard your clients’ safety during the coronavirus epidemic. These rules are quite strict and with little variations from state to state. In general lines, are the same, and these rules need to be applied. If any salon or barbershop violates the official terms upon inspection, the public health officials can close it. That sounds frightening, but let’s not give in to fear. Not even for a second. You’ve got this! These strict rules are just for now, but they will be adjusted and reduced when it is safe to do so. We hope and pray for that to be soon! 

Salon owners should use “OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19” as a guide for reopening. According to the Georgia State Board for Cosmetologists and Barbers, here are the main guidelines for salons, barbershops, and spas to follow. Please make sure you check the specific guidelines in your state. 

Temperature checks 

Salons should consider using an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of every so. The advantage of this type of thermometer is that it is touchless. If there’s a client or a salon worker who has a temperature above 99°F, he or she should be sent home and cannot return to the salon until the fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19 disappear. 

Ask questions

You should also do some detective or news reporter work, asking every client if they had a cough, fever, or if they have been around anyone with these symptoms within the last 14 days. “Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?” is another question you’ve got to ask your clients. If they had a fever or any other symptoms, you’d suggest they auto isolate themselves for 14 days before you can provide the services in your salon. 

Clients by appointment only

You must limit how many people are in the salon at a time. This goes for the waiting area as well. Only the clients you’re providing services to can be in the salon; all the other clients need to wait outside in their cars until you’re ready to serve them. You should probably suggest they bring their coffee and a snack they can have in the car while waiting. At the salon, you’ll likely only serve them bottled water from now on (you should check the specific rule on this in your state). 

Salons and shops should consider seeing clients by appointment only. When it comes to appointments, if your salon or a barbershop was a walk-in salon or shop, from now on, you need to start using appointments. For the best start in this process, we recommend Appointfix, the best scheduling appointment app we know about. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that your dining area or another area in the salon you’d use to socialize with the other stylists is not supposed to be used for social gathering anymore. This should not transform you into a solitary island. Maintain social distancing, but keep being social, communicative, and encouraging to your coworkers.     

Rules for safety & sanitation 

The distance between people in the salon must be at least six feet. Whenever possible, it would be great to consider additional spacing between booths. This about divider shields and also alternate work schedules with the other stylists in the salon.    

Social distancing must be maintained at all times, except when you’re servicing clients. Cutting your clients’ hair or applying color would be quite the challenge if you had to do it from six feet apart.              

Personal protective equipment 

Hairstylists, barbers, cosmeticians have to wear a mask at all times. Clients should also wear masks as much as possible while in your salon. Considering that not all clients are concerned about COVID-19 and may not have a mask when they arrive at their appointment. Therefore your salon or barbershop might want to consider providing masks for clients too. 

Stylists should wear face shields or eye goggles if available. Disposable gloves should be used for every client and changed in between clients, if possible. Cutting hair with gloves on might require a little bit of adjusting. What do you think? Feel free to write to us about your experience in the comment section below. 

Each client should wear a clean cape in the salon, and salons or shops might consider using disposable capes. All stylists should wear a clean smock between each client. 

Between each client service, washing hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds is a must for stylists. For each haircut, stylists and barbers must use neck strips around the neck of the client. 

The personal protective gear mentioned above should be changed between each client. The used items must be disinfected or discarded in a closed container. 

Disinfection rules 

All salons, barbershops, beauty bars must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reopening. Carefully disinfect all surfaces, tools, and linens, even if they were cleaned before the salon was closed. 

Check out the labels on the disinfectant products to see how they work. Contact time means how long it takes for it to destroy all of the pathogens thoroughly. During that time, the surface area stays wet with the product. Standard contact time for immersion or sprays is 10 minutes, and 2-4 minutes for disinfectant wipes. Change the disinfectant for immersion tools daily or sooner if it becomes contaminated, for example with hair or debris floating, or the solution becoming cloudy.

The disinfectant works for hard non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal, and plastic. The porous and soft surfaces such as cardboard files, buffers, etc. cannot be disinfected and must only be used once and then discarded.     

All dirty laundry must be kept in an airtight container. All linens, towels, drapes, and smocks have to be washed in hot soapy water and dried entirely at the warmest temperature allowed.       

Remove all unnecessary items

The reception area in your salon is that cozy little place where your clients wait for his or her beauty service while reading the latest gossip in The People magazine. Not anymore. You’re supposed to remove all magazines, newspapers, services menus, or any other paper products and even decor. Then wipe down all seats and tables. You should consider using a plastic cover for the cloth chairs which cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected. 

If you have a little retail area where you sell salon shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and treatments, you should advise clients to avoid touching any products they don’t intend to purchase. You must also clean and sanitize the retail area daily, including the products. 

Start using an online/electronic appointment book 

Consider stopping to use your old paper appointment book and cards, replacing them with electronic options. There are many possibilities out there which you can try.

To help you follow this specific guideline, Appointfix scheduling app comes to the rescue! The electronic appointment book is the right tool to get rid of the paper appointment book, which cannot be disinfected properly. With the modern appointment book, all your appointments are on your phone, which can very easily be wiped and disinfected. 

Appointfix is not just an appointment book, but so much more. It can help you considerably reduce missed appointments and increase client engagements. The app can automatically send text messages to your clients: instant notifications when the appointment is booked, reminders when the appointment is coming up, and follow-up messages. No more sending texts manually!

Appointfix helps you reduce no shows, you spend less time managing appointments, and focus on doing what you love. You can create, view, and update appointments no matter where you are. You’ll see a flexible calendar with the day, three-days, week, month, mini-month, however you prefer it. You can even have group appointments if you give classes, for example. 

Several of the cool features of Appointfix include the fact that you can customize the message template, which contains dynamic fields that pull out information directly from the appointment. For each of your messages you can customize the text and choose all of the dynamic fields or just a few of them. Another cool feature, on the Premium and Ultimate plans, is the revenue reports & export feature. It translates that you can quickly view how your business performed in a given time compared with previous times. Your total sales for any day, week month are just a tap away. 

Together with all of the above, the Appointfix app gives you the best client management tool. You can easily search for clients, see what services they’ve purchased in the past and view all their appointment history. You can download Appointfix on the App Store or Google Play. No more no shows with Appointfix! 

Floor stickers 

Consider floor stickers and signaling that encourage social distancing. If you need some inspiration, supermarkets can give you a hint. A particularly creative one is Trader Joe’s, which, on top of the floor stickers, has the six-foot social distancing banana carried around the store by different employees as a reminder to people. Of course, the space in a salon is not comparable to a supermarket, but mentioning this as a creative idea about something you can do to encourage social distancing and remind people about the six-foot rule in the salon. 

Place visible signs to communicate to your clients that in-depth sanitation procedures are in place. That gives them peace of mind, and you’re checking the guideline. 

Encourage cash free payments

Avoid using cash is a suggestion which can help a lot in preventing the spread of the virus. Credit and debit cards are preferred using touch, swipe, no signature technology. If you can’t avoid using cash, make sure to wash and sanitize your hands after each transaction. 

Also, your salon must provide hand sanitizer and tissues for stylists and clients. You must clean and wipe with disinfectant wipes all door handles and other surfaces that are frequently touched by clients and staff. 


You must clean and disinfect all restroom surfaces, including floors, sinks, and toilet bowls. In the restrooms, you should provide bacterial soap, paper towels, and you must place the trash can by the door. 

Consider posting handwashing signs in the restrooms, mentioning the 20 seconds washing rule. 


You must clean and disinfect the workstation between each client. Clean and sanitize chairs, headrest, armrest (careful with the leather and cloth chairs as they cannot be disinfected). 

Clean and disinfect all reusable tools and store them in an airtight closed container. Clean and disinfect all appliances, shears, clippers, clipper guards, clippies, rollers, combs, brushes, rolling carts, and any other item used to service the clients. Consider using station barriers between workstations. 

Nail technicians must remove and discard all single-use tools such as paper files, drill bits, and buffers that have already been used. 

Treatment rooms 

After each client, you must clean and disinfect all surfaces such as chairs, tables, electrical appliances, including the cords. Each day you must clean and disinfect all linens and store in a closed container or cabinet. You must remove and discard any products that could have been contaminated by improper sanitary use, and replace it with a new product.  

Empty all wax pots daily and disinfect before refilling them with new wax. They suggest you purchase new single-use applicators that can be disposed of in an airtight trash bin (in which you must put a trash bag). 

Salon owners, stylists, barbers, cosmeticians

The stylists, barbers, cosmeticians who are sick must stay at home. Salon owners should provide training, education materials, and reinforcement on proper sanitation, handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette, using personal protective equipment, etc. 

Salon owners must ensure that all sinks in the workplace have antibacterial hand soap available and paper towels. For inspiration from other salon owners, you can check out the precautions this Georgia hairdresser decided to take, as her salon reopened. 

We hope this information is helpful to you at this time. Don’t forget that you are free, no matter what rules surround you. All the best and may your business continue to prosper and flourish! 


Emilia is Content Marketing Director at Appointfix, an app helping professionals and small businesses easily schedule appointments and reduce client no-shows using automated text reminders. Feel free to drop her an email at