Ontario’s stay-at-home order — which requires everyone to remain at home unless going out for essential purposes — has been extended until June 2 at the earliest. Nevertheless, Ontario’s beauty industry is preparing to reopen safely and, they hope, permanently.
Annette Palumbo, a spokesperson for the Beauty United and Body Art Council of Ontario, and who was a salon and spa owner for over 30 years, says the provincial government doesn’t appear to know much about the industry.
“The government has no data about the beauty industry,” Palumbo said. “They don’t even know how many of us there are in Ontario.”
She sold her business in 2017 and has worked as a consultant and operation manager for the salon industry since then. Beauty United is a not-for-profit organization, to lobby for the beauty industry.
She said the provincial government’s closures decimated the personal care service industry. Since they cannot work from their salons, she said the industry has been driven underground.
Clients have services done in garages, backyards and basements, which is more of a risk to people’s health than if these storefronts remained open, she said.
Palumbo said Beauty United’s goal is to advocate for the industry and identify what can be done to be deemed safe to reopen by the provincial government.
She said although it may take some time for the industry to get back on its feet, salon closures will not negatively affect people’s perceptions of the beauty industry.
A survey paid for and conducted by Abacus Data, which surveyed 1,900 random Canadian adults from April 16 to 21 about pandemic beauty treatment opinions, found that 20 per cent of respondents indicated they are likely to get more beauty treatments done than they had before the pandemic.
The survey found this heightened interest in beauty treatments stemmed from the rise of videoconferencing during the pandemic. According to Abacus Data, the hours people spent looking at themselves on video calls has led to an over analyzation of their appearance.
The survey reported before the COVID-19 pandemic, one quarter of Canadians routinely or occasionally had treatments like hair, nails, waxing, and laser treatments professionally done at salons. The majority of those who engaged in these types of beauty treatments tended to be women in the age range from 18 to 29 years.
Abacus Data found beauty treatments like hair cutting and colouring, manicures, pedicures, and facials were more likely to be attempted at home during the pandemic. Still, survey respondents indicated a preference for salon treatments.
The survey found 40 per cent of those who occasionally participated in beauty treatments said they preferred having them done in salons because it helped improve their mood and sense of wellbeing.
This survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.23 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The data was also weighted according to Canadian census statistics to match the sample according to age, gender, education, and region.
“Clients are dying to come back to the salon,” Palumbo said. “It’s their go-to place, it’s their relaxation, they talk there, they have therapy, they feel good, they’re uplifted. It’s a community.”
Despite how the industry has been negatively impacted during the pandemic, Palumbo believes it will come back stronger than before.
“This is just the beginning,” she said. “We have our work cut out for us, and we’re not going anywhere.”