Health And Wellness

Do Blow Dryers Spread Germs? 4 Ways To Protect Yourself At The Hair Salon

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Can blow dryers spread germs?

As salons start to slowly reopen around the country, the question of whether or not it's safe to be in a public salon is starting to worry many. And it makes sense that there are some worries, especially when it comes to blowing around air in closed spaces.

But do blow dryers spread coronavirus?

Blow dryers blow air around, and in hair salon, there may be a dozen or more blowers going at once, in close proximity. Are those blow dryers blowing around germs while styling hair?

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Fuel was added to this fire of worry when Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont originally said hair salons could reopen, but adding that blow dryers would be off-limits. Then, he reversed his decision, saying that blow dryers were fine and could be used “as needed.”

So, while salons find ways to make it work — spreading out appointments, spacing stations apart, having more open-air spots or private blow out rooms — the question remains: are blowouts really even an issue?

Stephen Colbert once joked on his show, “Barbers and hairstylists just need to be very creative, like duct-taping hair clippers to a couple of yardsticks or just submerging their customers in Barbicide.”

Luckily, it doesn't look like things will be that intense. But changes do need to be made.

Although it’s true that blow dryers circulate the air around you, therefore potentially spreading germs, this is based on a few factors that are important to consider. "First of all, if the hair that is being blow dried is clean, it significantly minimizes the spread of germs from the hair and scalp,” advises Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics.

Much like it's advised to heat up takeout before eating it to kill germs, the same is true for heating up our hair and scalp. Additionally, germs from the mouth are likely to spread, which is why both client and stylist should wear a face mask throughout the styling process. 

For those of us who are still weary about getting a blow out at the salon, here are a few ways we can keep ourselves and others safe.

RELATED: Can Air Conditioning Units & Vents Spread Coronavirus?

1. Make sure your stylist is sanitizing everything.

As an extra precaution, stylists should disinfect blow dryers between clients. Just like you wipe down your shoes, packages, and groceries when coming inside, this can help reduce the spread of germs.

"The blow dryer should never touch the client; however, use Clorox wipes to clean them before and after services," advises LA-based celebrity stylist, Clariss Rubenstein.

2. Wear masks and/or gloves.

Other considerations are also already being made.

Says Vanessa Yakobson, CEO of Blo Blow Dry Bar, “Every Blo Blow Dry Bar location is bound by strict state regulations regarding hygiene and sanitation, and in response to the COVID-19 situation, we have taken steps to further enhance our practices to keep our employees and guests safe. This includes having our staff wear masks, and in some states such as Connecticut, our clients as well.”

If all the correct safety precautions are taken, blow drying is no more dangerous than any other service that requires person to person contact.

Adds Rubenstein, “I would feel best if the stylist wore gloves, and both stylist and client wore masks for the duration of the service.”

RELATED: 7 Tips To Keep Your Hair Styled, Fresh & Healthy While Salons Are Closed

3. Provide a well-ventilated area.

Finding an open air space in your salon, or having blowouts near a window or door, is essential in proper ventilation so the air isn't trapped. “If I were blow drying a client, I would do it in a well ventilated area,” says Rubenstein, supporting this precaution.

The goal is to keep the space as well-ventilated as possible. According to Rubenstein, "Depending on weather, ideally, windows can be open (if there are any) with an oscillating fan turned on to have constant airflow in the room. I would also recommend to invest in an air purifier."

4. Perform health checks prior to the service.

Many airports are doing temperature checks now, and this could become the norm elsewhere, such as salons. As an added precaution, salons are encouraged to perform these same checks before tending to their client.

Recommends Rubenstein, “I would take mine and the client's temperature prior to starting the service, require both of us to wash our hands, and provide the client with a sanitary robe to cover their clothes.”

RELATED: Does Wearing Gloves Actually Spread Coronavirus?

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.