The Unsettling Reason Many Hair Salons Won’t Be Using Blow Dryers When They Reopen

Getty / Leren Lu

If your state is among the 75 percent slowly reopening “close contact” businesses, and you are, personally, 100 percent sure you want to get back to the hair salon after COVID-19-related closures, there are likely a few things you’re prepared for. Longer wait times to snag an appointment? Yes. Requirements to wear your face mask the entire time? You betcha. No blow-drying after a haircut or colour treatment? Well, wait a second.

It’s true. “For sanitation purposes, it’s not yet clear if blow dryers can or cannot be used at salons,” New York City-based hairstylist Devin Toth told POPSUGAR. “It’s very state-by-state, salon-by-salon, but many stylists aren’t for now. There is speculation that they could potentially blow airborne COVID-19 droplets around the shared space. Even if salons can have blow dryers running, it’s not likely that they will have 10 of them running at the same time. For now, people will try to limit the usage.”

Many high-end spots already offer the service à la carte, which means it’s possible that they’ll especially insist you skip the blowout as a last step, he added. Or, the hairdryer would be designated for clients who need to see what a colour-treated section of hair looks like.

What Will Salons Look Like Without Hair Dryers?

“There is speculation that they could potentially blow airborne COVID-19 droplets around the shared space.”

“For the salons that don’t use blow dryers, clients will most likely be asked to come in with clean, dry hair,” Toth said. “The stylist will cut their hair dry and use hot tools to finish the look. My guess is that you would either come into the salon, have it flat-ironed and then cut, leaving with straight hair, or you would come into the salon, have your naturally dried hair cut, and then have it curled before you leave.”

Another option is that the salon might ask that you come in with wet hair and leave with it towel- or air-dried. “In the summer, clients leave the salon with air-dried hair all the time anyway because they want an effortless style that enhances their natural wave,” Toth said.

Only time will tell what this means for the fate of blow-dry-only bars. Until then? “You probably won’t be seeing people walking around with bouncy, round-brushed blowouts,” Toth said. “Luckily that hair trend was sort of phasing out anyway.”

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