Tomorrow, Colleen Ruiz will once more open the doors of her beauty salon which has been closed to her customers since March. Beauty and hair salons, barbershops, spas and other aesthetic services will resume in this fourth phase of the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions as the economy reopens.
It won’t be business as usual, however, as Ruiz, 24, and many beauticians across TT have to find ways to still make the women who visit them feel special and rejuvenated in a more sanitised and safe setting to reduce the risk of the coronavirus, covid19.
“I am aware that there is no cure for this virus as yet and there may be a wait for another two years before that happens, I strongly believe that as a people we can contain this virus because I believe people have been following the rules for fear of contracting the virus,” Ruiz told WMN.
As the owner of The Beauty Basement in San Fernando, Ruiz said beauty services are essential to a person’s wellbeing. She said a visit to a salon can help someone feel good about themselves and can even be therapeutic, and in some cases be a method to deal with depression.
So it was hard for her to turn down clients who wanted her to do home visits.
“I have had lots of calls from people requesting home visits to do manicures, pedicures and facials, but I had to stick to the rules outlined by the authorities and stay home.”
Ruiz had to be resourceful during the stay-at-home period to help her clients maintain their beauty regime, which, for many, is essential to their wellbeing.
As her speciality is in nail care, she created a press-on kit of acrylic nails for her clients.
“This is the new normal, where people will collect their kit of nails and put them on by themselves in the comfort of their homes.” The kit, she said, included detailed information on how to apply and care for the nails.
“One can determine the style and finesse of a woman by looking at her nails. The look of your nails speaks volumes of who you are and where you are in life.”
Ruiz also spent the past three months video-conferencing with experts in the US and the UK on the measures to adopt as she reopens. She will run her salon, where she has four employees, by appointments only, no walk-ins. Ruiz said she will treat long-standing customers first.
“We will be accommodating three people at a time in the salon and we will be using totally new uniforms which comes with longer gloves.”
In terms of facials and spa treatments, she will use brushes with longer handles which she ordered online. Sponges will be used to avoid touching the bare skin of clients.
As for many women, Ruiz’s interest in beauty care began when she wore makeup for the first time as a teenager.
“I think my mother, Rena, just wanted to see how I looked with makeup and she did my face complete with mascara, lipstick, and powder. I was just 14 then, I remember staring at my face. I looked so beautiful that I did not want to take the makeup off.”
This led to her attending beauty school and she received a diploma in nail art and facials. And at the age of 21, she opened her business.
Always innovative, Ruiz has also developed her own oils to deal with damaged cuticles and dead cells. It is important, she said, to have a manicure and to make sure one’s nails are protected from harsh chemicals which can make the nails brittle.
This, she said, is important since many people use hand sanitisers and wash their hands very often as a covid19 measure.
“We have to treat our hands and (toes) with the right oils and lotions after exposing them to these chemicals-based products.”
She said a manicure entails filing and shaping the nails and massaging the hands. “This helps improve blood circulation and vitamin E lotions promote nail growth and flexibility while retaining moisture in the nail.” The use of oils and lotions, she said, clears dry cells from the skin. It also cleans the cuticles, and softens the fingernail.
A pedicure, she said, is important to keep toenails from splitting or from contracting a fungus.
“The feet are scrubbed with special cleaning lotions to prevent the build-up of dead cells. A pedicure also includes massaging of the legs and moisturising with lotions.”
As she prepares to welcome back her clients, Ruiz said the services her sector provides can help the country’s economic recovery.
“I believe the beauty business is very important to any community or town. People spend a lot of time working and they need the experts to do their hair, makeup, facials, manicures and pedicures in order to keep with the styles of today.”