The case for the beauty industry
Today, after many long months of lockdown, I am finally able to reopen my clinic and welcome back all of my wonderful clients.
But there's a catch. The beauty industry is not, currently, allowed to perform any treatments on the face - including electrolysis. Given that dentsists are allowed to perform treatments, and even film productions are allowed their make up artists back, this just cannot be fair and I am concerned that the government's position has been informed by misunderstanding and misjudgment of the beauty industry - potentially causing real harm to both us practitioners and you, our clients who rely on us for treatments designed with your wellbeing in mind.
I have therefore written an open letter to my local MP for North Cornwall, Scott Mann. I have also sent this to Caroline Nokes MP, following her wonderful speech on 7 July - which I wholeheartedly thank her for.
You can view my letter in full below, or download as a PDF, and please do feel free to share it with others.
An open letter for the attention of Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall.
For more than 40 years I have been practicing beauty therapy, more than 30 of those as a self employed professional. I have seen a lot. But nothing could have prepared me, or anyone in my industry, for the scale of the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. It has been a difficult 2020 so far, to say the least, with the lockdown killing off my only source of income and forcing me, and many other entrepreneurs like me, to turn to the state for help. This is something I have not done lightly. It has always been a source of pride for me and countless other like-minded, strong willed and ambitious men and women (though admittedly mainly women) in my sector to stand on my own two feet and thrive – even in the face of adversity.
It was with huge disappointment, you may even say despair, that when the government announced that hairdressers and barbers could re-open the beauty sector was excluded. Having worked for many weeks to ensure that firstly my practice was entirely ‘covid-secure’ and secondly that my client base had not forgotten about me to be told that my industry was not safe was heartbreaking. The beauty industry, particularly in my specialist field of electrolysis, has and must always be a place of the strictest hygiene standards and it is driven by responsible, caring men and women whose sole focus is the wellbeing of their clients.
I was therefore joyful on hearing, on Thursday 9th July, that the beauty industry would finally be able to open its doors as of the 13th July, joining other close contact service providers including dentists. But this joy was short lived as I learned I would not be able to perform a large portion of my most important treatments – including electrolysis for facial hair removal. I have put my faith in this government to guide the nation through this trialling time and much good has indeed been done. But I can now only assume that the deep-seated misunderstanding of the beauty industry, perhaps rooted in misogyny amongst those with power, has blinded the government’s decision-making.
How can it be the case that a man may visit a barber to have a beard trim, but a transitioning woman may not visit an electrologist to have facial hair removed? The anguish of these past few months for those individuals who rely on a regimented treatment programme in order that they can truly live at ease in their own bodies is difficult to comprehend.
How can it be the case that film studios are allowed to start up production and movie stars can have make up artists prepare them for the set, but a woman with facial scarring cannot turn to a professional to help her feel beautiful as she prepares to go out into the world after lockdown.
How can it be the case that a women suffering with polycystic ovary syndrome cannot have a trained specialist help them with facial hair growth, but others can now drink in a pub amongst tens if not hundreds of others with all the obvious proximity risks which that entails.
This government has pursued the easy win, and the easy headline with its selective and seemingly illogical approach to easing the lockdown, and it has dismissed the true value which the beauty industry provides. The aesthetic is not luxury, it is critically important to people’s wellbeing and mental health. And those professionals, like myself, who have so far, it feels to me, been branded as irrelevant by the government must be given their pride back and allowed to continue to both help their clients through this difficult time and get back on our own two feet and contributing back to the economy.
I urge you, to follow the lead of Caroline Nokes MP, and stand up for women, wellbeing and the beauty industry.