A Guide to Using PPE in Your Salon

As the reopening of your salon gets closer and closer, it’s time to start thinking about the safety measures you will put in place for both your staff and clients.

However, with information changing daily, and little specific advice for salons and barbers, it can be hard to figure out exactly what is most valuable for investing your time and money into. This is particularly true for the use of salon PPE, as it will add a new line of costs to your budget.

In fact, a survey by the National Hair and Beauty Federation found that 74% of salons questioned were worried about what kind of PPE they will need, how much it will cost and whether it will be available to them.

So, in this guide, we take a look at what types of PPE you may need to use, and how to ensure it provides you with the safety standards you require…

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What is PPE in a Salon?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to any type of clothing or garment that protects the wearer from injury, infection or other external hazards. Salons and beauticians should already be familiar with some types of PPE such as disposable gloves and face masks, but the increased risk posed by Coronavirus will likely change the way you use them.

salon ppe

Will PPE be Compulsory for Salons to Reopen?

There are currently no specific guidelines for use of PPE in salons and barbershops from the government – owners are currently using their own judgement based on industry knowledge.

Some hair and beauty boards have put together back-to-work guides that include use of PPE – take a look at some of them below…

  • BABTAC Back to Work Guidelines
  • Hair Journal International Covid-19 Checklist
  • Hair and Barber Council Back to Work Plan

Once official advice is published it should be followed closely, but it is highly likely that PPE will be necessary for the hair and beauty industry to open. This is because services take place indoors where the risk of transmission is higher and social distancing becomes harder.

How Will I Cover the Cost of PPE?

Having already lost over 3 months of revenue, the added cost of buying PPE can seem concerning to many salon owners.

While you will need to provide proper safety equipment for your staff, consider whether you will ask clients to bring in their own face masks or if you will provide them.

You might have a big influx of bookings for your salon when it reopens, but you won’t be able to get through them as quickly as usual with reduced capacity. Some salons in Europe have faced this issue by temporarily adding the cost of PPE into their price list. Others preferred to absorb it themselves rather than pass it on to the client.

Be sure you do what is most financially viable for your salon – just be honest and your clients will likely understand the tough times you are facing.

How to Use PPE Properly in Your Salon…

While it seems as though PPE will play a big part in helping salons reopen safely, this depends on it being used correctly.

In addition, it’s also important to remember that PPE won’t offer 100% protection from transmission alone. It’s important to make sure your salon has full hygiene and social distancing procedures in place for all staff and clients to follow.

So, how do you make sure you are using PPE effectively when your salon reopens?

1. Training

Knowledge really is key to staying safe during this pandemic. All properly trained salon staff should already understand the fundamentals of salon hygiene and how to use PPE necessary to the treatment they offer.

However, now is the time to make sure everybody who works in your salon knows exactly what to do to keep everyone safe. Put together some resources and checklists for your whole team to get to grips with before they return to work. VTCT will also be releasing Infection Prevention qualifications for specific training on Covid-19, while Barbicide also offer a free Covid-19 Certification.

2. Follow all instructions

How you put on, remove and dispose of your salon PPE can have a big impact on how effective it is. If your equipment is specified as being single use, make sure it is only used once and then put in the bin. It should also be changed safely between clients.

Take a look at this guide from the government for advice on how to put on and remove PPE safely. We’ve summarised the steps for you below:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly before picking up your PPE
  2. Put on face coverings first, ensuring any masks cover the bridge of the nose down to the bottom of your chin
  3. Put on gloves last
  4. When finished, remove gloves first by peeling off from the cuff and place in the bin
  5. Wash hands thoroughly before then removing face coverings and placing them in the bin
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly again

Remember, you should consciously make sure you do not touch your face, even while wearing PPE in the salon.

3. Keep up with hygiene and social distancing

One concern about the use of PPE is that it creates a ‘false sense of security’, which means the wearer begins to relax other measures.

Even while wearing PPE, all staff members should do their best to :

  • Keep 2 metres apart
  • Wash their hands regularly with soap and water
  • Keep all surfaces clean and tidy
  • Ensure all tools and equipment are sterilised before use
  • Dispose of any single-use items as soon as they are finished with
  • Stay at home if they show any Covid-19 symptoms

What Type of PPE Should You Consider Using in Your Salon or Barber Shop?

The best way to be sure you are using the correct amount of PPE in your salon is to carry out a risk assessment before you reopen. This should identify for you all aspects of your day-to-day salon running that could pose a risk of transmission – including those cases where PPE could help reduce it.

Here are the main types of salon PPE you are likely to need…

Salon Face Masks

Medical grade face mask for salons

Face masks are now a requirement for using public transport and are advised for those in enclosed spaces where social distancing cannot be guaranteed – such as shops. This suggests they will also become useful for helping salons reopen. At Salons Direct, we have medical grade masks available in boxes of 50 with a comfortable design for staff to wear throughout their shift.

Perspex Hygiene Screens


Clear Perspex Hygiene Screen

For reception desks and nail stations, perspex hygiene screens can add some extra reassurance for times when the full 2 metre social distance might not be entirely possible. Along with using a face mask and following proper hygiene practices, a hygiene screen can help in getting nail techs back to work.

Related: How to Use a Perspex Hygiene Screen in Your Salon

Salon Uniform and Disposable Aprons/Gowns

Disposable salon cape

If your staff wear salon uniforms, it’s a good idea to allow them to leave it in the salon to be washed along with any other towels or gowns used. Use a hot wash and take them out to dry somewhere clean as soon as possible.

You might also want to provide staff with disposable aprons and offer clients disposable gowns, rather than washable ones. Just be sure you remove them carefully without pulling them over the client’s head. These are particularly useful during hair washes so uniforms don’t get wet.

Face Shields


PPE Full Face Visor Mask

Clear plastic face visors provide a barrier between your face and your client. This can be particularly useful for hair stylists and barbers who need to stand closer than 2 meters to cut the hair. At Salons Direct, we have protective visors on flexible bands to be as comfortable as possible for salon staff, plus packs of four to help you buy them in bulk for your whole team.

Disposable Gloves

Pro Eco Green Nitrile Biodegradable Gloves Large x 50 Pairs

It’s been advised that hair stylists and beauticians wear disposable gloves for some time now to protect skin from dermatitis. While hand washing is recommended as the most effective way to stop the virus spreading, gloves can give clients extra reassurance particularly during manicures.

However, even when wearing gloves, you should still wash hands regularly and avoid touching your face, otherwise they will not be effective.

TIP! If any of our items are out of stock, just click ‘Notify Me’ to receive an email when we have them available again.

Other Infection Prevention Tools…

Hand Sanitiser

Vines Biocrin Anti-Bacterial Gel 450ml Case of 6

Having hand sanitizing points across the salon can help reduce cross contamination and help clients feel safe. While hand washing with soap and water is still the most effective hygiene measure, sanitiser is particularly useful during manicures and pedicures, plus for when clients first enter the salon.

Our Vines Biocrin Antibacterial Gel contains the required minimum of 62-65% alcohol to ensure germs can be killed in seconds.


Standard Facial Tissues x 100

The oldest advice is often the best, including the simple measure to catch all coughs and sneezes in a facial tissue. By creating an aerosol of virus particles, coughs and sneezes are thought to be one of the main ways the infection can spread. So, be sure to have tissues at every station for both clients and staff, and an enclosed bin to dispose of them immediately.

Hair Foil Dispenser


Procare 247 Foil Machine

You can help your colourists keep a safe social distance and avoid cross contamination across the salon with the Procare 247 foil machine. By trimming foils to the required length at the touch of the button, you can help minimise the time your client has to spend waiting in the salon and how long your team have to spend on preparing their foils. Each colourist can even have their own full tray of pre-cut foils at the start of every day, so they can get straight on with colouring the hair.


Looking for more Salon PPE? Take a look at our full range today – we are working hard to provide you with what you need as soon as possible.

More advice from the Salons Direct blog…

How to Deep Clean Your Salon | The Importance of Hygiene in a Salon | Salon Disinfection and Sanitation with Navy Professional

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