Over the last week, states including California and New York have required all barbershops, beauty and nail salons and tattoo parlors to close while non-essential services and elective procedures—meaning everything from balayage and Botox to brow lifts—are on hold for the foreseeable future. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out an official call to the apparel industry to start making masks and gowns—but the beauty services industry has many of those supplies on hand already. So the nation’s nail salons, spa providers, and cosmetic surgeons have been raiding their stocks of protective masks and gloves, tapping into their distribution networks, and getting creative about ways to contribute during the current crisis.

“We made the decision to shut down all of our locations on March 17th,” says Tran Wills, co-owner of the non-toxic chain of nail salons Base Coat Nails, which has locations in in Denver and Los Angeles as well at Nordstroms in L.A., Seattle, Chicago, and Newport Beach. “You just can’t stay six feet away from someone doing manicures and pedicures, so we knew couldn’t operate safely.” With the salons closed, Wills gathered all the company’s supply of sterile nitrile gloves, isopropyl alcohol, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant, then started looking into ways to ferry them to healthcare workers on the frontline. “I was feeling really helpless and wanted to do as much as I could to help the communities Base Coat is in,” she says.

In Denver, where Wills is based, supplies were directed to the Denver Health Medical Center, which focuses on the needs of special populations, while in Los Angeles stock was sent to Adventist White Memorial General Hospital, one of the city’s leading not-for-profit hospitals. “We wanted to donate to the most in-need city hospitals in low-income areas,” says Wills, who has been reaching out to her network of nail professionals to follow suit via social media using the tagline #allhandsondeck. TenOverTen nail salon co-founders Nadine Abramcyk, Adair Ilyinsky, and Jaclyn Ferber, who have locations in New York City, Austin and Los Angeles, also made the decision to close on March 13th. “We don’t know how long we will be closed for,” says Abramcyk, who donated their store of masks and nitrile gloves to Mount Sinai in Manhattan and Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. “As a high touch business it’s not just about when the government says we can reopen but when people will feel comfortable coming back in again.”

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Simon Ourian, founder of medical spa Epione in Beverly Hills (perhaps best known as the Kardashian family’s consultant of choice), closed his offices as soon as California’s governor issued a shelter in place order. He made the decision not to offer any procedures or house calls, with the exception of some virtual consultations and telemedicine as post-treatment follow-up for existing patients. In the meantime, Ourian looked for ways to assist emergency workers: he reached out to his suppliers and was able to locate 10,000 masks which he donated to UCLA, where he completed his residency (if you have personal protective equipment to donate, you can e-mail the team at [email protected]mednet.ucla.edu), and Cedars Sinai, where his mother had been receiving non-COVID-19 related patient for the past six months. “As a healthcare provider, I want to help those emergency medical workers on the frontlines,” he says.

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