7 tips on how to make working in a face covering in a salon more comfortable
Due to the safety regulations, all hair and beauty specialists in the UK are obliged to wear protective gear in their workplaces. As for the time being, it should take the form of a visor (an oftentimes reusable, clear shield that covers your entire face) and an additional face covering if you are working in close proximity to the client.
Before the 8th of August, additional face coverings weren’t mandatory – however, there are some controversies surrounding the effectiveness of using the face shield alone. They are said to be capable of stopping larger droplets (emitted during a cough or a sneeze) from reaching the face, but are much less effective against aerosol clouds we produce when talking, singing or simply breathing. Face coverings, such as masks, are said to be far more efficient in this matter.
Unfortunately, many people find that working all day with their face covered is very uncomfortable, especially during the summer. This is why we have gathered valuable advice that will help you get through the new challenges and make your day-to-day basis a little easier!
1. Begin with consulting with a doctor
Before we start discussing useful tips, let’s be very serious for a moment. If you experience severe problems with breathing, feeling of dizziness or experiencing respiratory problems after a day of working in a face covering, it’s best to begin with contacting your GP (or, if you are already being treated for respiratory illness, such as asthma – the specialist that runs your case).
If it turns out that you need a further diagnosis, you may be directed to an allergist, laryngologist or a pulmonologist – or, if there is suspicion that your problems are psychological in nature, to a psychiatrist. A doctor will be able to tell what causes your overreaction to covering your face and advise on what to do to make it less severe, including the recommended course of action when it comes to abiding by the safety regulations.
2. Take regular breaks from wearing the face covering
The team of specialists led by Gustavo de Luiza, head of the pulmonology department at the private Vithas Xanit Internacional Hospital in Malaga, advises the general public to take breaks when wearing face masks. It would be perfect to remove it every 45 minutes for 5 minutes. The longer you wear the covering, the longer the break should be – an hour in a mask requires 15 minutes of breathing freely, while four hours requires at least half an hour to help ease your breathing.
How can you apply this tip to everyday life in a salon? If the appointment is longer than 45 minutes, you should at least make sure that you get your break after the client leaves. Unfortunately, you have to disinfect the station between clients, and inhaling the fumes for fifteen minutes is quite the opposite of giving your lungs a break. If you are the business owner, seriously consider setting longer breaks between appointments so that your crew will be able to not only disinfect their workplace properly, but also catch a much-needed breath (metaphorically and literally).
If you are using Versum, you can easily add a prepping and recovery time to the services, which will allow you to reserve proper slots for disinfection and mask breaks. You can set these for each type of service individually so that you can set longer breaks for more timely and demanding services and shorter ones for the simpler treatments. And don’t worry – the service duration visible on your online booking page will not include the extra time added to the treatment!
Tip: Versum delivers numerous functionalities that make managing a salon in the post-lockdown reality much easier. Start your free trial and see for yourself!
3. Take regular walks in secluded areas (forests, parks, gardens)
It’s a great habit to exercise regularly, especially outdoors – but now it’s more important than ever to have at least a 15-minute walk daily to get your healthy dose of oxygen. The ideal situation would be to find a peaceful, secluded area – a forest, an uncrowded park, even your own garden – and wander around as often as you can with your mask off. If it is not possible, at least make sure to ventilate your household properly and spend a few minutes every day with your windows open or on your balcony, taking deep breaths. It will not only help your respiratory system, but also your mental health!
4. Make sure your face covering is made from a proper fabric
The most convenient, ethical and easy way to cover your face is to purchase (or sew yourself!) a reusable, material mask. Of course, they will never be as effective as the N95 or N99 masks, but these should be reserved for the healthcare workers. Nevertheless, reusable, three-layered masks still deliver a good level of protection.
Now, mind that the fabric really matters. Scientists suggest that reusable masks are the most effective when they are made from a few different materials – mainly tightly-woven cotton, but with two additional layers of silk, flannel or chiffon. Now, including cotton as the base material is very important for another reason – it is much easier to breathe through. Don’t buy masks made solely or mostly of synthetic materials, such as polyester – they are extremely uncomfortable!
5. Go for masks that won’t hurt your ears
Many people find the masks painful to wear for a longer period of time due to their elastic ear loops putting pressure on the auricles. It’s a common problem and, fortunately, there are ways to avoid it.
- You can buy special strap extenders you place behind your head that take the pressure off your ears. For a DIY solution, you can use a simple paper clip to do the same thing.
- Instead of buying or sewing masks with elastic ear loops, opt for ones with a ribbon or a string you will tie behind your ears.
- You can also go for masks that have additional strings attached to them which you can tie around your neck – they also take part of the pressure off your ears, making them much less irritated after wearing them for a long time.
6. Mind your skincare
It’s a fact that wearing a face covering can cause breakouts on your skin or even irritation. This is caused by the natural oils (sebum) on our face getting heated under the mask, or a contact dermatosis when the fabric touches your skin. Even those of us who usually aren’t acne-prone may expect a breakout every now and then. What can you do about it?
- Do not go overboard with your skincare routine – a gentle cleanser, toner and moisturiser will be the best option. A mild moisturiser will additionally provide a barrier between the mask and your skin and prevent friction.
- As mentioned before – take mask breaks whenever possible!
- Find the best-fitting mask for you – one that is too loose will move around, scratching your face in the process, while too tight one will cause deep indentation.
- Opt for masks that have cotton on the inside – synthetics are more likely to irritate your skin.
- Make sure to wash your mask every time you wear it!
7. Worry less!
This may sound ridiculous, but many problems with wearing masks can be actually caused (or made much worse) by constantly focusing on the fact that you are wearing one. Of course, once again – if you are experiencing severe respiratory issues, treat your symptoms seriously and contact a doctor. But if there are no real indications of an actual problem, it is very possible that your mindset is playing tricks on you. It is very important to keep good mental health hygiene during these trying times – take care of yourself not only physically. And try to not treat face coverings as your enemy – they are here to keep you healthy. Buy or sew yourself a pretty one (there are so many cool designs available!) and wear it with pride – you are being a responsible person and actually saving lives by doing so.