The COVID-19 pandemic has grounded many businesses globally and forced others to run at half capacity, with millions of people rendered jobless.
The devastation to economic activities is without boundaries as almost every sector of the economy has taken a hit.
A look at the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on beauticians and make-up artists by Citi Business News shows that their activities have taken a hit particularly due to restrictions on public gathering.
Although beauty is often said to lie in the eyes of the beholder, it also comes in different forms.
For some, beauty remains the natural state of one’s appearance, but for others, it means bringing out one’s features with makeup and a change of hairstyle.
The beauty industry, which entails makeup, hairstyles, and sometimes the enhancement of nails, has in recent years grown in numbers and offered income for many.
The industry however relies heavily on social events, ranging from weddings, birthday parties, award ceremonies, funerals, and even church services, as these activities usually require that women, in particular, look their best.
Considering that such events are directly linked to the survival of the beauty industry, the coronavirus pandemic has also affected operators in the space. This is because, the ban on public gatherings which partially remains in force and the restricted number of people for all social events, means that fewer people require the services of these beauticians, as events and the number of people that attend events have reduced.
A visit to some beauty shops in Accra revealed that just like other businesses their sales have reduced. At the Strength of God Beauty Salon, for instance, Serwaa told Citi Business News she’s usually idle for the most part of the day.
“In this business, there are good days and bad days. You can’t predict how many customers you will receive each day. In January for example, there was a spillover from the Christmas festivities. I was receiving at least three customers in a day; each requiring a different service. So it was good,” she said while braiding a client’s hair.
For now, she says she makes only a quarter of her usual sales even after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased.
“My salon isn’t usually busy, but on a good day, I can make about GHS 150. To be very honest, I lost hope in my business while the lockdown was in force and even after it was lifted. I had made up my mind to remain closed for a while but I was advised against that. I was encouraged to have faith and open up. Business hasn’t been good ever since the lockdown was enforced and lifted. There are days I do not get even one customer. Yesterday for example, I received just one customer. She only washed her hair. So I only made GHS 7.00.”
For all-round beauticians, make-up especially, brings in a lot of revenue, unlike the other services they render. Bridal makeup for instance has a huge profit margin.
“Well, for our walk-in clients, we charge GHs 50 cedis without lashes. The prices for the lashes range from GHs30 to GHs50. Our bridal makeup is fixed at GHS300” Makeup artist Rukaya said.
Monsurat, a makeup artist, told Citi Business News that even after businesses opened to the public, her clients who are still unsure about their safety, are reluctant to patronize her services.
“People are just scared. They just can’t allow you to come and touch their faces or their hair. It is very very serious.”
But in a time of a pandemic such as COVID-19, how are customers protected in such a close contact industry if they choose to patronize such services.
Monsurat said “Here we sterilize our equipment. So, we wear our masks, and shortly after a customer leaves, we sanitize the products and our hands. For the brushes, because they come in sets, we don’t have to use the same brush on the next customer. We also wash the brushes with hot water and soap, and then blow-dry it because we believe the heat kills the germs.”
Just like many other businesses, the beauticians also believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Serwaa said “The rate at which things are going now, my only hope is in God. Things have become very hard for us. My fervent prayer is that things clear up before the Christmas festivities so that our businesses can bounce back.”
“God knows best, there should be hope, there will be hope, there is hope,” a smiling Monsurat said.