What Would You Do: Should You Wear A Face Shield?
Find Out If Other Stylists Are Wearing A Mask, A Face Shield Or Both
Let’s talk Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Does a mask offer enough protection or is a face shield necessary, too? Keep reading to find out whether stylists in the BTC Community are wearing one or the other (or both) and to learn why having a face covering is important!
“My salon is reopening soon and I will go back about a week after they reopen. My question, or what I need advice with, is does anyone have any tips or tricks to share since they’ve been back? Like, can I wear a face shield and not a mask? I feel like the mask makes it hard to breathe. Are clients leaving their phones in the car and other personal items? Or should I maybe give them a disposable bag or something? Any advice, tips or tricks about anything that has been unexpected would be so appreciated—thank you!”
Editor’s Note: Guidelines and PPE requirements may vary by state so be sure to check your state board’s specific healthy and safety recommendations as some are requiring stylists to wear both a mask and a face shield.
The CDC Recommends Wearing Face Coverings In Public Settings
First, you should know the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend people wear face coverings (that cover your nose and mouth) in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, like in a salon.
Why? Because face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used in public settings, and can prevent people who have COVID-19 (even if they are asymptomatic) from spreading the virus to others.
Face shields take protection a step further by covering your eyes as well. A face shield is beneficial when sustained close contact with other people is expected. If face shields are used without a mask, the face shield should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to the chin.
Wear Both A Mask & Face Shield For Extra Safety
Face shields have been used in healthcare settings for some time, specifically a staple for medical workers who have to intubate COVID-19 patients. Because they extend down from the forehead, face shields protect your eyes as well as your nose and mouth. A 2014 study showed that when tested against an influenza-infused aerosol from a distance of 18 inches away, a face shield reduced exposure by 96 percent after a cough.
Because of this extra protection, many hairdressers are choosing to wear a face shield AND a mask:
- “Massachusetts here. I am wearing a mask with a N95 filter, protective eye wear, a face shield and gloves. Better safe than sorry.” – @styledby_kristen_g
- “I’m wearing a mask and face shield. Just be prepared to be completely drained at the end of your day for the first couple weeks until you get used to it. Also, mask acne is real and awful! Stock up on a good cleanser and exfoliator…Another helpful hint for wearing the mask is to suck on menthol cough drops. It really seems to help with getting through the day.” – Nancy Ralph
- “The mask is there to protect others from your mucus. The face shield is there to protect your eyes from [client] mucus. So eye protective glasses and a mask will work. In Georgia, we are required to wear masks.” – Misti Ham
- “I work in New York and you have to wear both a mask and a shield. Look up your state requirements.” – @salonbbr
Face Shields Are Great For Specific Services
While masks alone are great for protection during short-term, close-up contact, face shields help during sustained, close-up contact:
- “I wear just my mask for women and men’s cuts because the shield reflects your face (which makes it harder to blend) and when washing because I’m right in your face. I’ll wear my shield, too, for chemicals and blow dries because it’s a longer service and we aren’t facing each other.” – Jennifer Rose Cumming
- “I wear a face shield when I am shampooing or waxing. Just a mask the rest of the time. Maybe it’s overdoing things but I’d rather be safe than sorry.” – @lesliecider
- “Masks for everyone who steps through the door. A shield alone isn’t enough. You still need a mask along with it. It’s very difficult to breathe with both on and I wear glasses so everything gets foggy and I can’t see. I only use mine when I am directly facing my client (bang trims, face frame foils). Our state requires putting a towel over their face when shampooing so I don’t feel it’s necessary then. It is difficult to breathe with the mask alone, so try to pace yourself and schedule in plenty of breaks.” – @rachelrobins84
- “At our shop we all wear masks of course but when doing facials or beard trims, we put on a face shield as well.” – @mzsaraht
- “I wear a mask when I do hair and so do my clients. I wear a mask and face shield when I do lashes and my client wears a mask also. Some clients are annoyed but they will wear a mask for me. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to get each client sick. I would feel awful. We hold their lives and loved ones’ lives in our hands. I love my people!” – Ruth Bobo
At Least Wear One Or The Other
Your state or local public health guidelines may require you to wear a face covering of some sort, so start there if you are deciding which to use (or whether you need to wear both). Some health experts say a shield alone won’t totally protect other people from you, because the bottom is open and could allow your aerosol spray to escape, meaning pairing a shield with a mask is the most protective option. Other experts say you can choose to wear either a mask or a shield. Do your research and follow local guidelines.
- “I wore a mask for the first five weeks and it was starting to make me feel bad wearing it here in Arizona as the temps were getting over 105 degrees. Even with the AC on it was so hot! This week I switched to a shield only and it is so much better! My shield is extra long and goes all the way around my face. I feel like it protects my guests and myself even better than a cloth mask!” – @jill_odell
- “I’ve found that the face shields are better for me to work in than a mask. I bought several so I can clean it between clients and not have to wait on it to disinfect then dry.” – Aimee Emrick
- “Here on Long Island we’re not allowed to wear face shields. We have to wear masks, we are only allowed one person in at a time, each hairdresser has to clean their chair thoroughly after each client and capes have to be sterilized. The masks are hard to wear for more than a couple of hours.” – Stephanie Glaab Ozegovich
- “We just wear a face mask in our salon. Clients as well. If a client refuses to wear a mask, then we are not allowed to take them in. When washing hair it’s best not to talk to clients to prevent any of our droplets—even with our mask on—to fall on a client’s face. Good advice too even without a mask. I feel like wearing a mask now will help with not smelling too many fumes from color and chemicals…Just be safe out there. Keep wiping down everything!” – @beautyandgrace808