Is it safe to get my brows done during the coronavirus outbreak?

Two of Australia’s leading brow experts weigh in on the COVID-19 pandemic to help you decide whether it’s OK to get your eyebrows waxed, tinted and tamed.

If COVID-19 has you questioning your beauty appointments, you’re not alone. We’re not sure if we can go for a run outside, or say good morning to our neighbours (from a safe distance), let alone take a trip to the hairdresser.

As more of the population is working from home and that lunch break turns into time to catch up on general life admin – beauty treatments included – but we’re second-guessing if social distancing is included in these kinds of scenarios.

If you had a brow appointment on the cards, or yours are looking a little untamed there are solutions. We asked two of Australia’s leading brow experts, brow artist and owner of Kohl Beauty Colette Manion and national brow artist for Benefit Cosmetics Australia Hannah Mutze to weigh in.

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What’s the latest?

Officially, there hasn’t been any communication from the industry or the government on salon or beauty treatments in general. Apart from increasing sanitisation measures, so far it’s up to the salon if they’re open for business and up to your own discretion to make an appointment and when it comes to eyebrow treatments, there’s no exception – yet.

“Given that the general directive encourages social distancing, now is perhaps not the best time to have your brows done,” says Mutze. “Benefit made the precautionary decision to pause all beauty services (including brows) to protect the health and safety of customers and employees.”

There has been a wave of brands and businesses across all industries communicating to their clients through social media how they’re taking cleanliness seriously in response to coronavirus. If your salon hasn’t done so and you feel uncomfortable it’s worth giving them a call before your appointment to ask them about how they’re handling the situation. From there you can decide whether or not you feel comfortable going in.

“Now more than ever people need to be going to trusted and well respected salons,” says Manion. “The old ‘quick and cheap’ option needs to be strongly reconsidered. If you’re unsure you should call the salon to discuss hygiene practises as this is a great way to assess whether you feel it’s safe to go to a salon. Most reputable places are being extra vigilant and should not have an issue answering any COVID-19 related questions you may have.”

A note on cleanliness

“Brow bars and salons are most often incredibly clean and hygienic places – they legally must be to operate. Tools, surfaces and hands are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in between clients to prevent any cross contamination. That being said, the risk lies in the number of people passing through daily and the potential pathogens they carry and unknowingly pass on or leave behind,” adds Mutze.

Manion agrees, explaining that your salon should already have strict hygiene measures in place regardless of a pandemic. “Our studio is a private, by appointment only space and we have not had to change our practises too much to meet the recommended government guidelines however, we have opted to only allow one client in the studio at a time,” she says. “We wear masks and gloves with all clients anyway but we now offer this option to clients as well. We also request clients wash their hands whilst in our studio.”

“After each treatment everything is washed down with medical grade cleaning products and clients do not cross with any other clients during their visit – I feel all salons need to do this. I advise that salons who are unable to have a one client policy/have a higher churn of clients coming through need to extend treatment times to ensure they are not overlapping clients.”

Be responsible

It’s not all about the salon though, you need to take responsibility for your health and potential ability to spread, too. “It goes without saying that anyone who is sick, has a family member who is sick or has been abroad must reschedule appointments,” says Manion. “Businesses need to be having these conversations with clients to ensure these protocols are upheld. We have waived any fees associated with late cancellations to encourage people to move appointments if they are impacted by any of the above.”

Unsure of how to support your local salon?

If you’re worried about how you can help support small businesses, or the feeling of cancelling your appointment is overwhelming, there are other ways you can help.

“We continue to assess the situation and update our policy based on government recommendations with our clients health and wellbeing at the forefront of everything we do. However, people need to continue to support us as well,” explains Manion.

“Many people operating salons are self-employed and mass cancellations leave them highly vulnerable to survive the uncertain times ahead. If businesses are shut in the service sector, this means no income. Do whatever you can to support during these times particularly if there are lockdown situations.

There are ways you can help salons including: buying gift vouchers (if you can afford it) to use after lockdown, paying for your treatment in advance or simply not cancelling your appointment,” she adds.

Pressing pause on your appointment?

Brow artists the world-over will tell you not to touch your brows and if you can help it, we agree.

“There’s never been a better time to grow out your brows!” says Mutze. “This process can take anywhere from four to 12 (or more) weeks and is most effective when you don’t touch your brows at all. Put your tweezers away and step away from the mirror – you (and your brow expert) can thank me later.”

If you have to tidy up your brows, Mutze recommends three tools of the trade. “Brow tidying is a lot easier than you think. You’ll need tweezers (opt for a slant tip pair for ultimate precision), a spoolie brush and a brow pencil. Ensure your brows and surrounding skin are clean, then brush your brows into shape. Use your brow pencil to trace an outline around each of your brows. Use this outline as your guide and tweeze away all of the hairs that grow outside of the lines,” she explains.

Before you get tweezer-happy it’s important to understand your growth cycle. Mutze recommends tweezing every two to four weeks. Need a tint? Use a tinted fibre gel. “The microfibres within adhere to each of your brow hairs making them look instantly thicker and more defined,” she says.

Colette Manion is Senior Artist and Owner of Kohl Beauty, Hannah Mutze is the National Brow Artist for Benefit Cosmetics Australia.