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For the first time writing this column since our initial lockdown in March 2020, I can say with confidence that life is better now … and long may that last!
Within just a few weeks of tanning salons re-opening throughout the UK, we are experiencing a real sense of life, back to some sense of normality, and I can’t tell you just how good it feels! Our amazing business sector has bounced back with such positivity and it’s simply fantastic to witness this wave rippling throughout the tanning industry.
Our amazing business sector has bounced back with such positivity and it’s simply fantastic to witness this wave rippling throughout the tanning industry.
Not unexpectedly, there were, unfortunately, a number of salon closures during the last 15 months; but, thankfully, absolutely nowhere near the 7,300 salon closures quoted for beauty and hair salons since March 2020 with 3 million fewer consumers in these salons since reopening in April.
During lockdown, consumers had to get used to doing their own hair and nails and these figures suggest many may not return to a beauty/hair salon
environment as often, or perhaps at all. As I have said previously, we are in a somewhat unique position in that you can’t order a UV tan online or do a take-out UV tan, you have to take your tanning session in-salon and, as such, this remains a significant advantage to the ongoing success of professional tanning salons.
That’s not to say that tanning salons have had it easy since reopening. The outcome of COVID-secure operating requirements means that many salon owners cannot operate at full capacity in order to ensure compliance with social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols. And in locations where they can operate at full capacity, operators will be incurring additional staffing costs to manage the requirements of the enhanced cleaning protocols. Nonetheless, it is undoubtedly a positive situation that tanning salons remain busy. And this is the case even with overseas travel to many of the UK’s popular holiday destinations severely restricted, thereby reducing demand for the seasonal pre-holiday base-tans.
And then there have been one or two odd “issues’’ to deal with and perhaps from the most unlikely of sources. One of these, and perhaps the most prevalent, has been a viral TikTok video promoting the use of drugstore moisturisers during a tanning bed session.
Whilst these lotions may well be fine for base-line day-to-day at-home skincare, they are certainly not formulated for tanning bed use. Some of the ingredients can actually cause increased skin sensitivity when exposed to UV and the alcohol content also results in clouding and damage to acrylic shields.
Operators have been quick to address this issue in-salon. Many have used the awareness of the video to engage with customers on the specific problems with drugstore moisturisers and banning their use in the tanning salon. They have also taken the opportunity to further educate customers on the benefits of lotions specifically formulated for tanning bed use, thereby increasing retail sales. So let’s hope the tanners take this education and information on board and that any enhanced revenue stream isn’t needed to fund acrylic replacement!
The twists and turns for each step of our pandemic recovery process continues to deliver evidence of the resilience, tenacity, determination, ingenuity and overall professionalism of our industry and long may that last, as well.
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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