Are Facials Safe In COVID-19?

Would you feel safe chancing a facial with COVID-19 being at its all-time high?

We did some deep diving to see if it really is possible to be safe while visiting a spa. You can only delay your regular skincare treatments for so long before it becomes an urgent necessity. Believe me, I have tried!

Face masks have become a permanent feature, activing all sorts of unnecessary complications for our skin. We developed new COVID-19 term for skin ‘Maskne’ – breakouts caused by wearing a mask for extended periods of time. Taking care of our skin is a bigger concern than before.

are facials safe in covid-19THE RISKS

  • Proximity of close human contact
  • Lying down without a mask
  • Being in a high-traffic space
  • Unsure is correct sanitization protocols are in place

“Salons must be fully compliant to the highest standards of excellence in order re-open their doors”, says Esna Colyn, CEO of Imbalie Beauty, which comprises of Placecol Skincare Clinics, Dream Nails salons and Perfect 10 Studios.



Let’s be honest, this is a self-regulatory industry. How do we really know that protocols are being upheld consistently without compromise? We asked some of the industry’s largest spa and salon groups to weigh in, and also visited establishments to investigate for ourselves.

John Lambrou, Managing Partner of Life Day Spa, Cape Town assured us.

“Before any staff members are allowed to start doing treatments, everyone had to pass a COVID exam. This included frontline staff, managers and attendants. This takes place after they have attended a half day training session on COVID protocols”.

Sorbet have also implemented an examination prior to staff commencing work. Linda Sinclair, Sorbet CEO said, “We have provided online and in-store training. We are also educating them about COVID-19 and sharing updates with them weekly.”

Regardless of the current pandemic, there have always been high hygiene standards in the personal care. That’s just nature of the industry. Exams are great in instilling and reinforcing safety precautions, but in practise how will this translate to clients’ safety?


Sinclair adds, “We have implemented a list in excess of 20 additional hygiene and social distancing protocols.”

Upon investigation, all three of the spa & salon groups mentioned above use shoe spray as you enter, disposable bedcovers, and therapists wear masks, face shields and disposable aprons over their uniforms. There is also a lead time between clients for complete sanitization of the treatment room.

“We ask clients to bring own pillow and blanket to feel completely at ease while they have their facials”, says Lisa Leibov, Principal Educator of the Imbalie Beauty Training Academy. “Each client receives a sterile and sealed facial kit with her own sponges, tissues and cotton wool. Nothing is reused.”

are facials safe in covid-19Team Beauty Warriors visited a local Durban beauty salon to witness how these safety standards played out. Skin Tone Beauty & Laser Studio sent us their safety protocols and guidelines upon confirmation of our facial booking. They encouraged us to leave all belongings in the car, and wait in the car until our appointment time.

We completed a screening form, had our temperature checked and shoe spray applied. A therapist wiped down surface while they ushered us into the room.

It was a little scary when they removed our mask just before facial cleansing. The beauty therapist, however, was fully kitted-out with gloves, mask and facial shield and was very relaxed and confident, which eased the situation.

My next question was to steam or not to steam? Having researched it, it seems that steam is actually encouraged. It keeps the nasal cavity and throat moist which mitigates some of the chance of infection.

The facial went very smoothly and the care to minimize chances of infection was a constant, present factor throughout.


With all these safety protocols in place and the ever-present odor of sanitizing cleaning products, masked therapists and screens between staff and clients, would the relaxing, tranquil nurturing experience feel sterile and cold. Colyn stated that it was a concern of the Imbali group too.

“Our purpose as a group is to connect to the hearts of all of our customers. Just because our environment has become so sterile, does not mean our hearts have. The power of touch is so important to human life and once such stringent protocols are in place, our therapists can truly connect to their customers with love and empathy and care. Renewing not only body, but mind and soul.”

are facials safe in covid-19Ferzana Moosa, owner of Skin Tone Beauty and Laser Studio stressed that, “Our bond with our clients makes it difficult for our warm personalities. We have implemented a ‘no touch’ policy, but safety comes first. We are still here to nurture and care for every one of our clients”.

She added, “For clients, especially those that are high risk, we offer free online consultations to help them stay safe while still maintaining self-care.”

In terms of client feedback, Sinclair says, “We have received positive feedback from our guests, in-store and on social media. Clients say that they are satisfied with the safety measures in place, praising Sorbet for keeping their guests safe.”

Lambrou adds, “Every client gets a ‘rating survey’ after every visit, and we have included a section on COVID safety. So far, not one client has felt unsafe at the spa and is really impressed with our COVID protocols.”

It does however come down to your comfort levels and personal risk factors. We can CONFIDENTLY say that we are most certainly impressed by the precautions, safety and hygiene standards put into place by the personal care industry.

To be honest, there is most likely a greater risk visiting a pharmacy or going grocery shopping.

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