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Los Angeles is known for its beautiful sights and beautiful residents, but with salons and barber shops closed earlier this year as a result of preventing the spread of COVID-19, many have attempted their self-care routines at home. The top trending videos on the internet are now littered with grimacing videos of box-dye attempts gone awry and regrettable experiments with at-home chops, but there is no longer a need to worry, because your stylists and barbers are back and ready to bring a little more beauty back to Santa Monica.

It has been a difficult few months, as the affects of COVID-19 on businesses continue to change by the week. Over the past few months Los Angeles residents have witnessed dining move outdoors, retail operations are operating under tighter restrictions, but most notable was the prolonged closure of salons, barber shops and other beauty havens. As of March, California has been operating under the California Safer at Home Order, which directed all Californians to remain home with the exception of obtaining essential supplies or working for an essential business such as banks, grocery stores, the Post Office, etcetera.

What was originally believed to be a two-week closure quickly turned into three months. In mid-June, Governor Gavin Newsom began to lift restrictions in California, allowing salons to reopen on June 19, but it was a short-lived attempt, and re-closed the state on July 13. The restrictions put in place in July only allowed operations to be conducted outdoors, but with certain restrictions.

Although moving chairs outdoors benefited some, many salon owners chose to waive the option after learning that it would be extremely pricey and that they were not permitted to resume most of their services, such as washing and coloring clients hair, due to the Los Angeles Public Health Department’s restrictions.

On September 2, Janice Hahn, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, announced that salons could open all hair-related operations indoors, but at a 25 percent capacity. According to the County of Los Angeles Public Health’s website, salons can resume services with “infection control safeguards in place…which require[s] physical distancing and face coverings for both employees and customers,” meaning that stylists can once again resume chemical treatments, hair coloring, shampooing and more.

Popular salon, Luxelab has recently re-opened, and according to co-owner David Abrams, are “beginning again” after the five month lockdown. The trendy establishment along Montana Ave. is excited to invite their customers back as of September 4, and “make people feel good about themselves” through their salon experience once again, says Abrams.

David Abrams and his fellow co-owner Jason Lara were “scared” for their community with an unknown virus rapidly spreading, but used their time under lockdown restrictions wisely to create the most sanitary environment possible. Out of the 32 stations in their salon, they will only utilize eight of them to comply with the 25 percent mandate, temperature checks are administered at the door before entering the salon and their checkout station will be completely touchless. Most notably, they are extending their operating hours so their clients will not have to wait too long for their next appointment and so their 16 stylists each get a chance to come back and work.

If you are still nervous to go to the salon, Luxelab Salon created a unique way to service those clients as well, with a personal at home color application kit for small touch up jobs. What Abrams wants people to know is that he has created a safe haven at Luxelab for those that crave the connection between people once again and is “glad to be a part of helping our community.”

Longtime community member, Fahima Betts owns Hair Designers Studio, a full service salon located on 4th Street, with her daughter Rey Azima. The pair are a true example of resilience in a time of hardship, keeping their business alive as best they can after many trials and tribulations.

As Fahima and her daughter navigated the first lockdown together, tragedy struck the downtown promenade area when peaceful protests turned violent and many storefronts were vandalized, including her own studio. According to Betts, her salon was not looted, although her windows were vandalized. After recovering from the damage, Betts attempted to reopen in June, but after preparing the studio and properly sanitizing the space, she did not get a single client and had to close once again just one week later. Now that she is able to reopen her studio, Fahema will be the only stylist and is excited to create an intimate and personal feel in her salon. Despite everything, Betts wants the community to know that “always I stand” and believes that the community of Santa Monica will be there for her like they have been for the past 33-years.

Much like Betts, Ben Daidone of Daidone Salon on Wilshire Blvd. is hoping for community support after a “devastating” lockdown period. The full-service salon caters to hair, nails and skin, but is restricted to working only on hair at the moment. Owner Ben Daidone is worried about the state of his business after a long lockdown period and is hesitant to believe that opening at 25 percent capacity will help restore his lost earnings.

Now that Daidone is once again able to see clients and provide his “best in the west services,” he hopes that his trusted clients and the community feels safe returning after such a long time apart. He assures that his salon is fully sanitized and is safe to return to, stating that “I am an ardent and staunch supporter of the protocols.” Daidone is anxiously waiting for the chance to resume his full services, but in the meantime is happy to see his clients return once again.

It is important that we, as a community, stand together in a time when so much seems uncertain and make it our prerogative to support the businesses that have supported our community for so many years. Whether you are looking to touch up your color, chop a few inches off or simply go back to the salon for its fortifying experience on the mind, body and soul, one of the hundreds of salons and barber shops in Santa Monica is sure to cater to you.

Find a complete list of Santa Monica salons, barbershops and personal care businesses.