Can I Visit My Hairdresser or Braider?
How to keep your locks luscious during lockdown
Among the less grave but still pressing concerns of people stuck at home during the pandemic is how to deal with all their hair. While self-trimming, head-shaving, and shoving it all under a hat remain viable options, some styles just need the care of a professional hairstylist or braider.
But Ellie Murray, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University’s School of Public Health, doesn’t recommend visiting a salon just yet, even if they are open where you live.
One reason is that it can be hard to keep a safe distance between customers in salons, which she says are often “quite small indoor spaces.” In addition, she notes, “the hairdresser or braider definitely needs to be within six feet of a client, so there is for sure a risk of transmission.”
While masks offer some protection, they aren’t perfect. And some research suggests that substantial amounts of virus can be resuspended in the air when taking off or putting on protective equipment, such as masks, although it’s unclear whether those viral particles are infectious. “We also know that dose of virus affects transmission,” says Murray, “and a longer time in contact with someone will mean that you are potentially exposed to a higher dose of virus if they are infected.”
Having good hair, in other words, is probably just not worth it at the moment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support your stylist or braider in other ways.
“For these reasons, I would discourage visiting hairdressers or braiders until we have better ways of knowing who is infectious and of how to keep these businesses safe,” says Murray. “Because hairdressers and braiders are often small-business owners, people who can afford to are encouraged to purchase gift cards for future services or purchase hair products to help them get through this crisis.”
And you can always wear a hat.
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