Glam Lab checks out how New York City salons have adapted to be COVID-safe

NEW YORK CITY -- As non-essential businesses got the green light to reopen, New Yorkers witnessed some of the most business-savvy pivots to accommodate COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Restaurant owners created romantic outdoor patios between busy streets and bike lanes. Gyms transformed their parking lot into spin class destinations.

But salons had to go the extra mile to make sure their customers and employees were safe.

Whether we're getting a manicure or a haircut, we all know it's an up-close and personal experience.

I'll be honest, I was hesitant. I mean, it's impossible to avoid human contact.

So, when I saw the extreme measures IGK Co-founder Aaron Grenia made at IGK Soho, I felt a little more at ease.

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"You couldn't just reopen and have everybody come back in the space and feel like the lights were turned off and four months later the lights were turned back on," said Grenia.

I can attest, they didn't just reopen... they completely transformed the space!

I'm a regular IGK client (check out past episodes here) and felt like I was walking into a brand new salon.

As if I weren't already impressed with Aaron's considerate new standards, he shared how he and his partners kept money coming in for their employees.

"Fortunately we have the haircare side of the brand as well and financially they're not mixed. We were able to work out a social content deal with all of our salon stylists," said Grenia.

While stuck at home, their stylists across all three salons could be compensated for creating videos for IGK Hair.

Related: How to cut men's hair during quarantine

I've got to say, getting a fresh cut and color job with absolutely no worries felt pretty darn good.

If you can't score a seat at one of the IGK Salons in NYC, LA, or Miami, here are some tips to make sure you're in a COVID-safe salon:

  • CHECK THEIR WEBSITE: They should be forthcoming about all of the new regulations and changes they've made. If it doesn't look any different, trying calling and asking.
  • LOOK FOR VISUAL CUES: It doesn't necessarily have to be Plexiglas dividers but look around for a hand sanitizing station. Make sure everyone is wearing a mask, look for a hand sanitizing station, or a sign that explains new safety precautions for everyone's protection.
  • BARBICIDE COVID-19 CERTIFICATION: A quick online course that teaches beauty professionals how to properly clean and sanitizes their tools and stations under the new safety guidelines
  • ROBES: If you are not given a disposable robe, ask if they launder them after each use.
  • TAKE NOTE OF TRAFFIC: While a booked space can seem like a good thing, it could also mean less time for proper cleaning. You want to make sure appointment times are spread out enough that there's enough time to completely sanitize after every client.


  • Check out this episode of Glam Lab to see IGK Soho's COVID-safe transformation!

    Follow Jo on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes and watch Glam Lab each week for more beauty tips, tricks, and trends!