Many Estheticians (especially solos) tend to get very close with clients as these are the people we’ve built loyal relationships with as we serve them through healing and nurturing services.
In a sense, they become like family and hugging as a greeting comes naturally, which has made the social distancing piece of COVID-19 difficult as we venture back into the treatment room.
I've had a few hug-loving clients express how awkward they feel greeting their clients in the times of Coronavirus, and as a fellow affectionate person, I’ll admit, it has been difficult to hold back on hugging my mom, clients, new team members, everyone.
Not to mention, considering the word’s history (the word "hug" was first used in the 1560s and is tied to the Old Norse word “hugga,” which meant “to comfort”), more hugs are exactly what many of our spirits could use right now!
However, rather than succumbing to that awkward moment where we would normally provide a warm and welcoming embrace, here are other ideas for how we can extend the same sense of comfort to our clients while adhering to best COVID-19 safety precautions:
Acknowledge Your Client Through a Ritual
As I’ve navigated not hugging, I’ve resorted to pulling from my study of yoga and using the bowing gesture to take a moment to acknowledge someone's presence.
Bowing is a way of saying Namaste or “the light within me, honors the light within you” with our body language, and based on the mirrored response I get, I can tell it has been well received.
When I have seen my girlfriends or team members, I do distance “mock” cheek-to-cheek air kisses, but if you have teenage clients who are Tik Tok-dance lovers, greeting them with the famous new “foot handshake dance” could be a fun new way to interact while welcoming them into your spa.
For the same reason it doesn’t feel good to show up to a party empty-handed, the feeling of reciprocity and gratitude that a hug initiates is the same reason why it feels awkward initially not hugging, but these gentle, fun and lighthearted greetings are a great way to adapt to the circumstances.
Use Your Body Language
Alternative greeting approaches could also look like using gestures such as an air hug or peace fingers or fun facial expressions with a fashionable mask.
If we look at what other cultures are doing across the globe we may borrow other gestures like the Hawaiian Shaka or “hang loose” sign, which carries strong positive connotations of friendship, solidarity, and a relaxed attitude.
We can also adopt the finger heart gesture where the tips of the thumb and forefinger form the bumps of a tiny heart or make a heart with both hands (insert sunset heart hands)!
With masks over our faces, we can’t see smiles, but we can intuitively feel them, so be sure to check in with your body language.
Is it warm and inviting or closed off and uncomfortable?
Keep in mind, your body language speaks before you do, so instead of aggressive postures like crossed arms or hands on the hips, try adjusting your posture by lowering your shoulders away from your ears (it helps to shrug them up tightly and roll your shoulders down your back) to soften.
Or try walking with open palms or holding your hands gently in front of your waist.
Another fun way to ensure your face still conveys positive emotion is with a fashionable mask depicting cute painted lips like this or using a bright colored fabric or pattern that depicts cheerful emotion.
Consider a Reception Gift
Receiving your guest with a physical item like a robe or glass of spa water may be something you’re already doing, but if not, now is the time to go the extra mile.
Receiving clients with a comforting cup of tea or spa water is one of our favorite go-tos as our Amazonian Rejuvenation Tea is blended specifically to facilitate deep relaxation, but also in aiding and supporting the health of both the tea drinker, but also the Amazon rainforest.
I always feel exceptional sipping on the tea knowing I am doing something good for my body, the planet, and the rest of humanity.
For an easy, immune-boosting spa water, you can add Liposomal C, plus fun summer fruits like berries, strawberry, or lemon slices to add additional antioxidants plus aesthetic appeal.
Added Bonus: As your client sips on the collagen-promoting water, you also have the opportunity to educate them on the product’s special delivery system of the lipid bilayer that drives nutrition from the Vitamin C molecules directly into the fat and water in your body (unlike typical Vitamin C supplements, which pass through digestion rapidly and leave little to no benefit).
Use the Senses to Showcase Your Precautions
As your clients walk into a sparkling clean spa, make sure hand sanitizer is available within eyesight to help them to feel at ease, and you may even consider retailing fashionable masks or offering them complementary with services.
And while we all want to make it clear we’re taking every precaution, the smell of Barbacide and other approved disinfectants can be off-putting, so we love the idea of using essential oil diffusers to make your clients feel relaxed and secure through aromatherapy.
And to take sanitation a step beyond what is required, look into air purification systems like the Molekule to improve the air quality within your treatment room.
The Molekule purification system seems to be one of the most effective options out of all that we have researched, so we reached out to negotiate a discount for our community, and you can now purchase through this link, to get $50 off for your first qualifying order.
Stay in Touch (Virtually)
A great way to inform your client’s of your new no-hugging-at-this-time boundaries is to send out an email campaign and social posts giving them a heads-up on how you will be greeting them as an alternative and all the precautions you are taking in-spa to keep them safe.
If your facial massage typically involves skin-to-skin contact and you are now wearing gloves throughout, inform your clients beforehand or consider offering an additional 5 minutes of extra massage. If you let them know about the change in advance, it will allow your clients to relax deeper, knowing they are safe.
Plus, if the gloves squeak during facial massage, you can give them the option to bring in their own earphones so they can tune into relaxing music instead of squeaky gloves.
As we know, the human touch is so powerful, especially after not having it so much the past few months, so don’t forget to take the extra step to touch base with your clients who are living alone without any direct companionship.
This time could be even tougher emotionally, so don’t hesitate at being the first to reach out if you have not yet heard from them.
We use the power of touch to stimulate the feel good molecules (Oxytocin) that make someone feel nurtured, and all-over good, and right now more than ever, a healthy mental mindset could make a world of difference in your client’s lives.
Remember, we are Estheticians by title and healers by nature, and when you realize that you can spark joy in other ways, you leave the uncertain, awkward feelings behind and embrace the fun in getting creative to make your clients feel special!