Drybar reopens some salons across the US

As parts of the country begin to reopen, Drybar salons are doing the same. But is it safe?

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/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

The popular Drybar Salon chain — known for its “no cuts, no color, just blowouts” slogan — officially started reopening some salons last week after voluntarily closing all locations on March 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Places like Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, and Wisconsin all have some Drybar locations open.

The company is taking several precautions amid the pandemic. Staff will have their temperatures taken before work and everyone will be required to wear a mask at all times. They’ll have a limited number of customers allowed inside at a time ­— by appointment only — and the night before, you’ll get a questionnaire in your email asking if you have COVID-19 symptoms or any exposure to it.

You’ll also have to get your temperature taken before your appointment with a no-contact thermometer; anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be asked to reschedule at no charge.

“We’re limiting the number of people in a shop at one time and have social distancing cues throughout for you to reference,” Drybar posted on its site. “We love hugs and handshakes; however, we’ll be a no-contact zone for the time being.”

Customers are also asked to come alone to help limit the number of people in the shop. Each salon will also follow new disinfecting guidelines, like cleaning and sanitizing throughout the shop and between each appointment. Everything will be wiped down after each client, the company said.

“That includes tools, products, chairs, counters, etc.,” Drybar representatives said on the website. “We don’t take this lightly and we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable coming back to our shops as soon as they are able to.”

“We have developed a set of new shop protocols based on CDC guidance and healthcare professionals," Courtney Gruber, the chief retail office of Drybar, said in a statement to TODAY. "We’re slowly welcoming back our team and our clients in limited shops and we’ll remain diligent and agile to keep everyone safe as we move forward in our collective new normal. We're staying very attune to any new guidelines that unfold throughout this process, and will be consistently evaluating if protocols in place need to be adjusted.”

Some states, like New Hampshire, have allowed hair salons to reopen but are prohibiting the use of hair dryers out of precaution. Drybar staffers do typically wash clients’ hair before styling with their iconic yellow blowdryers and other hot tools.

"There is concern that blow dryers may circulate pathogens or enable them to spread more quickly," Dr. Lechauncy D. Woodard, a professor at the University of Houston College of Medicine, told TODAY in an interview last week.

Another expert told TODAY that while blow dryers can possibly circulate germs, the threat isn’t on hair specifically.

"Shampoo and water will remove any SARS-CoV-2 virus from hair. Drying clean hair poses minimal risk for aerosolizing or dispersing virus from the scalp or hair," said Dr. David M. Aronoff, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Division of Infectious Diseases.

Even so, both clients and stylists should follow proper precautions like wearing a mask during a blowout. "They should cover their nose and mouth when hair dryers are in use, to limit the dispersal of respiratory secretions," Aronoff said.

Many beauty experts warned banning hair drying could pose an additional financial burden on salons already struggling after being closed for months.

"As a franchise business, all of our locations are locally owned and operated by small business owners. Those franchise owners have already been impacted by having to close down and a further shutdown would just amplify that impact," Blo CEO Vanessa Yakobson said. The salon chain focuses on blowouts and doesn't offer cuts or hair coloring. "We are bound by rigorous state regulations for hygiene and sanitation. We have armed our franchise owners with additional resources to help them operate under the safest measures possible for our guests and staff alike."