Image Courtesy: WeddingWire India
Since the global pandemic COVID-19 hit India early in march this year, weddings like many other segments have faced a huge impact. Couples have been very sporting to positively accept the changes that the pandemic has brought into their wedding plans. From micro-weddings to Zoom call or virtual weddings, we have seen it all during this period. While the lockdown recedes in phases and people find their own ways to adjust to the new normal and resume life, we take a look into how the hair and makeup industry has been affected. In a conversation with WeddingWire India, they tell us how they are gearing up to take the baton ahead to be prepared to work towards keeping weddings safe.
Here are some priceless insights, given by the experts of the hair and makeup industry to help you and guide you in the right direction.
Changes in the Makeup & Hair Trends for Brides
Image Courtesy: Namrata Soni
The shift from big fat Indian weddings to intimate weddings and virtual weddings has been huge. On being asked if this will have any impact on the bride's perspective of makeup and hair for her wedding day, the experts share their valuable insights. Read here:
Namrata Soni says, "I do not think brides would want to have any less makeup on. In fact, I think if the guest list is downsized to 50 people, the brides might get comfortable and will not have to wear masks under such regulatory measures. So the trend of masks that we are now seeing on social media platforms might alter its course and it can become more of a relaxed celebration."
Cory Walia shares, "Wearing a mask is going to be strictly necessary for brides in situations where there are more than 50 people allowed or where they start booking venues again with a lot of people attending the wedding. With a handful (10-20) people on the guest lists, brides might not have to compulsorily adorn masks. This is why I think brides’ should not stop doing their complete makeup - including the lip. If she removes the mask during the event or poses for a picture with her groom without the mask, she should have her full makeup on. We as makeup artists should make sure that her makeup is complete - including the lips."
Anchal Morwani adds to this, from a hair stylist’s perspective, "Wearing a mask is currently looked at as a necessity, but it is quite subjective. The bride might decide not to wear a mask if only a handful of people are attending the wedding or might need the mask on if the guest list exceeds the 50 limits. It is completely at her discretion. When it comes to helping my client pick her hairstyle, masks are not a factor that affects our decision. The only thing that I personally feel is that an open hairstyle or half up-do will be more suited than a full up-do or a bun hairstyle keeping the mask in mind. But then again, if my bride wants to flaunt a top knot or a braided hairdo with or without her mask, I am ready to get that done for her!"
On the same note, Ritika Kadam says, "It is very difficult to get our hands on fresh flowers given the situation of the lockdown. Many businesses are closed right now too. Unless the bride finds some fresh flowers in the gardens of their societies or homes that we can use, we can make do with artificial flowers if it is okay for the bride and she wants a floral hairstyle."
The Safety Measures that Professionals are Working On
On being asked what are the safety precautions that they are abiding by to ensure complete safety of themselves as well as their clients, the insights that they have provided are impeccable.
Ojas Rajani tells us, "We should limit ourselves to one person only in the room unless it is very much needed to get an assistant or the bride needs someone along with her. I carry an extra pair of shoes in my car because the brides might want me to remove my shoes or use disposable socks and shoe covers which is also very much necessary for my own safety sometimes. I also run a hair and makeup academy where I have invested in UV sterilisers that sterilise everything right from the cell phones to the makeup brushes and that works wonders. Am sure all of the other artists will agree that we have been taught to be pro-actively hygienic as hair and makeup artists. Right from cleaning our brushes to wiping the palettes, we would do it regularly for any bridal makeup session even before the pandemic hit us. But right now, it is the need of the hour to up our hygiene game even more.”
Namrata Soni says, "As hair and makeup artists, we will also have to take the necessary precautions by reducing the crew and being at par with the worldwide hygiene standards to make the brides comfortable around us. I also make sure I sanitise the things I use in front of my clients even for a brush or a comb with a spray of alcohol 99 that vaporises immediately to make my clients comfortable and make them aware that we are keeping their safety as a priority.”
Jasmeet Kapany adds to that by saying, "As Namrata said, we need to reduce the size of our teams. In fact, I just took my hairstylist along with me at the last wedding and there were no assistants or any other team members present. You don’t want too many people around the client. You should also take more time into consideration that will be required to get the brides ready owing to all the extra tasks like the constant need to sanitise the brushes, change disposable wands and other stuff. We need to maintain hygiene standards better than in our usual ways. I have also observed that a lot of relatives or friends of the bride walk into the room to take a peek at how she is looking. This needs to be kept under control too. ”
Cory Walia adds, "I will also not be comfortable with more than the bride in the room when am working. Maybe one more person apart from her can stay at a safe distance but people pouring inside the room to take a peek is not something I will be comfortable with while working under strict precautions myself. In Bombay, there is no such salon facility for bridal makeup or they do not visit us generally and we need to visit the bride. So we have to basically bring the complete sanitisation kit and protocol along with us. I really approve and believe the ultraviolet steriliser and it is an easy and convenient habit to pick. I feel the salon setup, however, is a more convenient situation because the lights and everything else is in place. Even though these makeup lights have become portable, we are still getting used to carrying the entire makeup setup with us. We must take our safety practices with us wherever we go. This will also call for more cooperation between the bride and the hair and makeup team. We might even have to request the brides to help us with a few things when we visit their homes, the venue or hotels, to do their makeup in order to ensure that there is no hitch in the process. We have to be aware of the situation and need to make others aware too.”
Ritika Kadam provides us with more insights from the perspective of a hairstylist by saying, "When it comes to safety measures, it is very difficult for us to put on gloves while working because we tend to use a lot of hot tools and rods for hairstyling and latex or plastic gloves are not a safe combo. However, on our part, it is very important to make sure that we sanitise our hands at all times and more frequently than others.”
Adding to what Ritika Kadam said, Anchal adds, "In terms of makeup artists we do not have many products. We just have a few of our favourite hairsprays, but we do have a lot of tools and brushes. Anyway by practice we do clean the brushes and tools after every use in terms of at least the hair to avoid a dirty messy hairbrush in front of the client. Isopropyl alcohol is what you use to disinfect and has been prescribed by the guidelines too. Since it is not a quick dry when you dip it in the alcohol, you need to sanitise the brushes at home so that it dries by the time you want to use it. For that extra mile, I use an instant sanitiser spray in front of the bride to be doubly sure.”
The Process of Booking & Other Operational Changes
Image Courtesy: Namrata Soni
The postponement of weddings from earlier this year and the cloud of uncertainty that the pandemic has left around has caused many couples to reconsider their vendor options and contracts. While the experts work around certain ways to navigate post-COVID19 weddings, the professionals have also met the couples halfway with necessary changes in the way they work.
Jasmeet Kapany says, "The initial conversation has to be very particular and we need to provide the bride with detailed information on how we plan to maintain the hygiene and disinfect everything even while we are working constantly. You must be vocal about your requirements of just one or no other people in the room when you work and tell them all that you will use to maintain the safety in question. This instils trust in the bride and she is comforted. We should make sure to sanitise the makeup tools and other things like the palettes and even the chairs and desks that we use right in front of her eyes. This is very necessary. For one of the last few weddings I worked at, I took a 15-minute break between the bride and her mother’s makeup. Within these 15 minutes, I made sure I sanitised everything in the room and got it freshly ready for the mother. I also suggest getting regular tests done for your team and yourself. I do that too. You can carry the test certificates along with you to show it to the clients and these things can really make a difference.”
Vidya Tikari says, "We have to cut down on the clients we take for a day. There are social distancing precautions that have to be maintained even in the studio setup. We are already functioning in Gurgaon and we sanitise the place even before any client comes in and disinfect the bodies and hands of the clients as well as the employees at regular intervals. We have to wear masks and latex gloves but I do not wear gloves because I believe in the need to touch and feel my client’s skin for proper ideas. Many salons are going ahead with PPE kits too, but then I don’t really think that is very necessary. We, however, use special shoes or shoe-mitts that are only meant for salon use.”
She further adds, "There is going to be a lot of changes in the makeup kit that we pick. A lot of the products are going to be disposable now. For lipstick brushes, eyeliners, mascara and any sort of products that are used around the eyes and mouth area, we need to be very careful and use fresh brushes that are disposable after one use. We have to use sanitising sprays on our palettes even if it is tedious. We might need to scrape the product on a tissue and use it from there instead of using them directly from the container. But these are testing times and even if it takes a lot of time, we must adhere to these practices.”
Ojas tells us more on similar lines, "We have to ensure that we do the makeup with minimum contact with the bride. Makeup artists are supposed to always carry a steel tray and spatula. We must try to scrape the products on the steel tray and then use a disposable spatula later. Using a tissue might not be that practical always, but we can always use a tray and sanitise it. A lot of brands have come up with blotting paper, disposable brushes and products with mini-kits. We can use these and do a decent job while maintaining safety precautions. This is also the best time to choose airbrush makeup because there is no direct contact.”
Namrata Soni has observed a lot of requests coming in regarding the booking amounts. She says, "Brides and wedding planners are going to insist on us giving them a refundable negotiation. Normally I charge a 25% deposit that is non-refundable even if the wedding is postponed or stands cancelled. However, with the current circumstances of uncertainty, we will have to consider changing that to a time period of 3, 4 or 6 months depending upon the artist’s comfort. This time should be given to the clients as a chance to change the date or alter the bookings for whatever unpredictable reasons. There will be many tailor-made requirements from the clients, but we will have to be very clear about what we can provide them with without over-promising and put it all in clear iron-clad contracts to avoid any confusions. I have not seen any changes in prices but I have got many requests in terms of the refundable deposits and to extend it by a certain timeline."
As the industry experts try to mould their services and plan to adjust to the new normal and to make way for post-COVID19 weddings, a lot of changes will be seen in the industry nonetheless. The shift from personally interviewing the vendors to looking for online reviews and their exhibition of work on social media platforms, the shift has already been seen towards the digitalisation.
While the businesses slowly reopen their services, they have been preparing their services in accordance with the safety measures that are required to flatten the curve. The new normal has also got the experts together to guide the couples as they plan their intimate weddings flawlessly.
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