One of my best friends cuts my hair, so I'm pretty lucky in that, I don't even have to think about going to a hair salon. Debbie has a lot of skill and always makes my curly, ratty, mop of hair, look presentable. But just like anyone else who goes to a salon, the day after, I always wonder, "Why doesn't it look as good as it did yesterday?"

With hair and nail salons reopening across the country, I guess the question you have to ask yourself is, "Just because I can go, should I?"

Consumer Reports (CR) had conversations with several infectious disease specialists as well as salon owners and managers and looked to federal and state guidelines when considering how to make a hair salon trip safer.

Common sense tells you that there is no such thing as being socially distant from your stylist. But safety protocols in salons mean, fewer stylists, fewer clients, stations farther apart, and perhaps even plexiglass partitions between shampooing sinks.

Some salons have even taken to the outdoors like many restaurants to further minimize the risks of transmission. One of the salon owners CR spoke with said that they now "spend a fourth of their time sanitizing between clients". It matters deeply to them that "their employees and customers remain safe."

CR has several suggestions regarding how to lower your chances of developing COVID-19 if you choose to go to a salon.

  • Check local or state health department websites to see the number of people in your area who test positive for COVID-19. A number below 5% is good, closer to 1% is better, and a number over 10% means uncontrolled community spread.
  • When you call to make an appointment, ask what safety procedures your salon is following.
  • Wear a mask. Period. Your stylist will be and so should you. Try to make it one that is easy to workaround. Ones with elastic or soft over-the-ear attachments are best, ones that tie around your head and over your hair, are not.
  • Double-check with your stylist to be sure their area and tools have been sanitized.
  • Bring your own sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Spend as little time in the salon as possible. If you're having a longer service done, ask to sit in another area, away from other clients while you wait.

If you still aren't sure whether you should go to your hair salon again, maybe you could try cutting your own hair. CR has some suggestions for you on that, too!

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