How it Feels to Work in Beauty Right Now

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Descending like a storm, the novel coronavirus’s arrival to the United States shuttered, in a matter of weeks, businesses across the country. Latest reports put national unemployment at 22 million, qualifying for a recession more than 40 times over.

ishonest would not exist if it were not for the work and experiences of hairstylists, nail technicians, makeup artists, salon owners, and dermatologists that we rely on for education and inspiration. In this series, we reached out to some of the professionals we’ve written about in the past for our Background Beauty column to ask them how the pandemic has affected their livelihoods, how they are attempting to get by, and how much hope they have for the future.

Shelley Smith

To learn more about how this Kansas City salon is finding optimism amid the pandemic, read Shelley’s full story.

Catherine Bak

"We have not personally experienced racism during this time, but the xenophobia going on with coronavirus makes me fear for my employees and my parents and my grandma all the time. We have a really special spa. We have a lot of regulars. We have only felt loved and it's been great. The [racially charged assaults] are something that I need to think about, once we do reopen. I hope not, but I'm sure we are going to have a few racists out there harassing my staff. I just have to be prepared for that and warn my staff."

To learn more about how this beloved Korean day spa is preparing to eventually reopen, read Catherine's full story.

Bethany Wolosky

“All salons and spas and tattoo shops are different, but where I work, we’re all independent contractors. Essentially we work for ourselves and pay the shop for use of the space. Since we aren’t employees, we weren’t able to [initially] apply for unemployment, but I think we can now under the new legislation. I’m living off my savings.”

To learn more about what it’s like to be a tattoo artist right now in the nation’s hardest-hit city, read Bethany’s full story.

Jamie DiGrazia

To learn more about the effect COVID-19 is having on the hair industry, read Jamie’s full story.

Natasha Dahiya

To learn more about this small business owner’s experiences, read Natasha’s full story.

Now, take a moment and watch this woman's joy as she shaves her head for the first time:

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