UNC Health Care
Adult Man Sitting in Hair Salon Wearing Protective Mask During COVID-19 Pandemic.

Is It Safe to Get A Hair Cut or Your Nails Done Right Now?

Most hair and nail salons, barber shops and spas have reopened their doors and tout measures they have put in place to keep you safe during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These include temperature checks, eliminating time in the waiting room by allowing clientele to remain in their cars until staff is ready and deep cleaning regiments between clients.

Even with these safety measures in place, is it safe to receive personal grooming services right now?

Know the Risks

Two of the primary factors that affect your risk of contracting COVID-19 in a social setting are how much time you’ll be spending with another person and what kind of space you’re in, says Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, director of UNC Medical Center Infection Prevention.

Thus, there can be a high risk of COVID-19 infection in hair and nail salons, spas and barbershops even with safety precautions implemented at those establishments given the close proximity between clients and employees especially for longer lengths of time. Passing someone on the street presents a much lower risk than sitting across from someone to have your nails done.

Follow These Safety Tips

If there is not a widespread COVID-19 outbreak in your community, there are some steps you can take to make personal grooming services safer.

Be sure to wear a mask during your service. This means facials and services that require you to remove your mask are not a good idea right now.

“We can one day return to these activities if we all commit to mask use now,” Dr. Sickbert-Bennett says.

Try to find ways to minimize the amount of time you are in the establishment, such as washing your hair at home and just going in for a haircut.

When you leave, use hand sanitizer as soon as you get back into your car to return home and wash hands thoroughly as soon as you get home. Washing your hands thoroughly is preferable to hand sanitizer.

If anyone in your household is at high risk for coronavirus complications, these personal grooming services may not be a good idea. You are considered high risk if you are older than 65 or have a serious underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Finally, before making a grooming or personal care appointment, determine if it is necessary for you personally.

“Do you really need a pedicure in the winter months when your feet won’t be as exposed, and how often do you need to go for these services?” Dr. Sickbert-Bennett says. “Can you space them out so you are not going as frequently?”


For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the CDC website and the UNC Health COVID-19 Resources page, and follow UNC Health on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.