A BEAUTICIAN has accused the Government of treating the industry with “chauvinistic sexism” after salons were told they can reopen - but not carry out any facial work. 

Helen Ward, who runs Sirens Hair and Beauty Salon, in Durham, said: “If we can’t do anything on the face, for me, there is no point opening. 

“I think they have given us something to shut us up and give the impression that salons are open. 

“People are even more upset today. The first reaction when the announcement was made on Thursday, was “oh we can open now, it is amazing”.

“And then 10 minutes later the details came out. The feeling of despair is ridiculous. 

“I think its pure chauvinistic sexism from our Government. A lot of families are reliant on the beauty industry providing a wage. I am not angry feminist, but I am this week.” 

Under the new rules, beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, body and skin piercing services, physical therapy businesses and spas will reopen from Monday
But beauty salons will not be allowed to do facial treatment, eyelash tinting, eyebrow threading or make up – their “bread and butter” _ as they face the coming end of Government support.

Beauty businesses are estimated to contribute £30 billion to the economy and they have a workforce of hundreds of thousands of women, many of them part time and supporting families.

Miss Ward, of Thornaby, who runs a popular Facebook group, Regulate the Beauty Industry, said: “Our industry is made up of 90 per cent woman and it is full of entrepreneurs and woman who gone out an made something for themselves. It's an incredibly diverse profession.

“We employ about 600,000 members of staff and its one of the most hygienic industries. 

“As soon as Covid hit the UK I went into overdrive, insisting people wash their hands – and we have PPR. We are trained to prevent cross- contamination, that is part of what we do. 

“Even as we were closing our salons we were dropping our PPE off at the hospitals. So we were such a supportive industry. 

“I closed my salon before we were told to because I felt it was the responsible thing to do. 
“And now this is all we are getting from the Government.” 

She added: “None of us can comprehend this. What is safe about getting wrecked in a pub on Saturday night and the police having to come out in mass forces?

“And when you are handing out food vouchers to get people in pubs then you have to have extra police on the streets to deal with that, then it’s not ok we cannot go back to work.

”There are many barbers have been doing beard trims, nostril waxes not wearing PPE.”
Miss Ward, said although her hair stylist had returned to the salon, she could not, as a beautician, work in her own business and remained on furlough.

She said: “The beautician work provides the main income and this month would be our busiest time. “

While her salon qualified for the £10,000 grant for business there were many woman in the industry who “have nothing and have children to provide for”.

“They cannot receive furlough, didn’t reach the requirement for the grant and they have had no money. The mental health in the industry is really low,” she said.

A Government spokesperson said: “Treatments, for example eyelash extensions, which require the practitioner to be very close to the client’s face for an extended period of time, put workers and customers at a much greater risk of transmission of the virus. These should therefore not take place.

“The guidance is clear that intricate detailing, outlining or shaving of beards should also not be provided and very basic trimming of beards should only take place if away from the highest risk zone – the area in front of the face.

“This guidance was developed with industry to enable them to reopen in a Covid-secure way.”