Thinking of booking in for a brow or lash appointment? Here's what the industry's new normal looks like
But what about brow and lash artists? How are they navigating the post-lockdown world — and what trends have come to the fore after months of being housebound?
We spoke to some of Ireland’s leading brow and lash artists — all nominees in this year’s IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards — to find out.
Salons might look a little different
“Every future client's journey through the salon has already been mapped out to precision to ensure everyone's safety,” explains Elaine McParland of Up To My Eyes. “We have reduced the bed capacity and rearranged the salon layout in such a way that the therapists' beds and workstations are much further apart.
"We have also erected partitions between each work area and all therapists and every client will be provided with a little gift bay of personal protection equipment, again providing extra layers of protection. The salon will be commercially 'fogged' on a regular basis and UV light sterilisers will also be used throughout the salon every night to sterilise the entire premise.”
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Virtual brow appointments will be part of the new normal
“After the initial panic started to subside, Liz, my sister and business partner, started to focus on what was missing in the market,” explains Lorna Farrelly of The Brow Artist.
"Obviously we couldn't do brows or offer skin treatments for the time being but people still needed expert advice and guidance. It shone a light on a problem that we never actually thought much about before, busy moms or people with mobility issues or clients living too far away to come in to see us.
"They just weren't able to access expert advice for their particular problems. We tentatively set up an online store and began offering online consultations. The demand has been truly astounding. Clients from all over Ireland and as far away as the Middle East have been requesting advice on how to take care of their beauty needs at home.
"I do a face-to-face ZOOM call with each individual and go through any issues they might be having and discuss their current skincare regime. With all the information, I put together a bespoke REN Skincare package for them with full instructions on how and when to use everything."
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Fluffy, natural-looking brows are more popular than ever
“Clients have had so much downtime over the last few months, time to reflect and plan forward in all aspects of life. I know for sure there will be those who will realise the more relaxed look with pared back glam, natural glow and brushed-through softer brows is for them,” says Suzanne Hourigan of The Brow Boss.
"But much like 'no makeup makeup' this will still need some love from their brow artist to get it just right and is styled with some clear brow gel or brow soap.
"There will also be those who have now had the pleasure of growing out their brows without having to air the overgrowth in public and will have the opportunity to try a completely different style with their new-found fuller brow, which is very exciting. I can see brow lamination being popular here as it's perfect for a fuller brow.”
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Clients are seeking more permanent options
"We can see a huge spike in interest for more permanent options like Powder Brows or enquiries about Revitalash regrowth serum," says Lorna. "I think that people don't want to get caught out again by depending on their regular lash extensions or brow tinting treatments. Fingers crossed there won't be another lockdown but I think that people are definitely planning ahead for such a possibility."
Elaine is planning to launch 'cashmere brows' in the next few months. "This is a new design in semi-permanent makeup and will appeal to a younger market," she explains. "The effect is to make the brows look less full but much more artistic and willowy. I also plan to increase the amount of online courses on offer at my Academy, thereby increasing my revenue and limiting our dependency on clients.
"During the lockdown I had plenty of time to focus on this and will be launching a professional eyelash extension course to add to our other online courses, hopefully in August."
Prices might be a little higher
"As a direct result of this pandemic, every salon in the nation who are serious about their clients' and staff's health and safety, are going to have to raise their prices to maintain a sustainable business.
"I foresee losing a lot of business to the black market which is already very vibrant and so unregulated. I doubt there is a salon in the country who doesn’t have concerns over this. It has always been a worry for us.
"I, like many other salon owners, have spent years training staff who then go into competition with us from their homes. We cannot compete with their prices for all the obvious reasons. They benefit from free training first and then cash in hand payments from clients that were once loyal to the salon.
"The new, necessary price increases are pushing clients towards those who work on the black market. I feel our industry is not properly supported by the Government in this regard.
"I expect that the new regulations will push beauty salons to become much more streamlined and efficient, often only offering higher-end treatments and cutting out all low budget treatments," she adds.
"Before, clients were encouraged to book online but now, it is necessary that they book online so that there are no queues at reception. Where possible, clients will be asked to pay for their treatments in advance. We have a new policy in place where a client must pay 50% of the treatment cost, if booking over the phone.
"This is in place to discourage phone bookings. We will now be holding deposits on all treatments as no-shows and late cancellations are just not an option for the business going forward."
We are following announcements on events and large gatherings as closely as you are, and as soon as it’s safe, we will have a new Business of Beauty Awards date to share. In the meantime, thank you so much for bearing with us.
Feature image: Lorna and Liz Farrelly of The Brow Artist
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