The British Beauty Council’s Suggested Guidelines for Retail

by | May 26, 2020

During the Prime Minister press conference on Monday 25 May, the PM declared the permission for all non-essential retailers, ranging from department stores to small, independent shops, to reopen from 15 June. This change will be contingent upon progress against the five tests and will only be permitted for those retail premises which are COVID-secure.

In keeping with this update, we wanted to highlight Section Four of our suggested guidelines for beauty retailers and retailers where beauty is a separate section for consideration. Read on for the full step-by-step guidance to ensure safe and healthy reopening of stores for both staff and customers.

Please note:

Ahead of government restrictions being lifted within the beauty industry, it is recommended employers complete a Risk Assessment Questionnaire to evaluate the hygienic safety of each working environment.


Following the completion of a Risk Assessment Questionnaire, the British Beauty Council has created a set of suggested guidelines to provide a practical framework for employers to interpret and implement in the most appropriate and suitable way for their business needs.


These suggested guidelines are not prescriptive and do not have to be followed in all circumstances, but each recommendation must be considered for the needs of the specific business in question following the undertaking of the risk assessment to ensure a safe & hygienic return to work environment.


In store, self-select and counters by beauty advisors. Applicable for all beauty specific retailers and fashion where beauty is in a separate section of the store.

In these suggested guidelines, the framework for a phased reduction of restrictions has been outlined. In other words, outlined as step 1, step 2, and step 3.

Health & hygiene standards
Step One (Initial Phase)
All staff frequently to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, and to use hand sanitiser where possible especially after:

  1. Using the bathroom
  2. Coughing or sneezing
  3. Entering the salon from outside
  4. Each appointment
  5. Cleaning counters and equipment.
  • Ensure staff have enough disposable tools for consultations that have been sanitised in advance of appointment
  • Provide tissues and hand sanitiser for customer use where applicable. Used tissues to be double wrapped and disposed of immediately in waste bin
  • Thoroughly clean counters, stations, trolleys and tools with alcohol at the start and end of each appointment
  • Empty waste bins regularly throughout the day
  • It is recommended each individual completes the Barbicide COVID 19 Hygiene Certification providing evidentiary support that they understand how to deliver a safe and hygienic working environment.

Step Two (after a period of consultation & in Second Phase)

  • Customer hand sanitiser, tissues and wipes available. Used tissues to be double wrapped of and disposed of immediately in waste bin
  • Colleague enhanced hygiene kit available: hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes, anti-bacterial/alcohol spray for product sanitising
  • Disposable tools available to decant products, e.g. spatulas, pot, and sponge applicators for customers.

Step Three (after further consultation & in Third Phase)

  • Customer hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes, disposable tools such as spatulas, pots and sponge applicators available
  • Colleague enhanced hygiene kit available: hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes, anti-bacterial/alcohol spray for product sanitising.

Staff hygiene and protection requirements

  • All staff members must arrive a minimum 15 minutes before work to prepare and help with cleaning and sanitising
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn by staff and clients where applicable including masks and disposable aprons
  • Customers to wear their own PPE where possible
  • Staff should wear face masks and change them throughout the day every two hours
  • Brands and retailers to decide who should provide PPE
  • Gloves to be worn where relevant throughout the day and changed regularly
  • All staff to wear their hair up as this helps to reduce face touching. Those with short hair to wear head band to keep hair off the face
  • Minimise how many people are in staff rooms and stock rooms at any given time and keep social distance
  • If possible, schedule staff on shifts or organise staff in teams to allow rotation to allow them to travel safely to and from work and to avoid too many staff members in the shop at one time
  • Reduce the number of different staff serving and interacting with each customer. For example, one person does the welcome and consultation instead of two/three different people
  • Organise staff break rotations in the staff room to ensure not too many people are there at any one time.

Store signage & layout

Step One (Initial Phase)

  • Place clear signage outside of the store explaining the social distancing measures in place that customers should follow or a member of the retail team to meet each customer at the store front and explain the social distancing requirements and control the number of customers entering store at any one time
  • Speak to nearby business premises to work together to manage possible shared queuing areas
  • Schedule stock deliveries to avoid crowding in delivery areas and interaction with external individuals
  • Use floor markings to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of two metres
  • Place clear signage throughout the store reminding customers of the social distancing measures
  • Review the layout of the store to ensure aisles/walkways areas clear as possible to accommodate two metre social distancing, including the removal of promotional fixtures if necessary
  • Consider one-way systems using floor markings and signage to highlight system and direction
  • Leave non-essential doors open to minimise the number of people who touch them. This does not apply to fire doors
  • To limit congestion, consider restocking/replenishing only outside of store opening hours. If replenishment must be done in opening hours, assess how this can be done without compromising employee or customer safety.

Step Two (after a period of consultation & in Second Phase)
Signage to indicate guidance on social distancing, testers and consultations in line with updated government guidelines.

Step Three (after further consultation & in Third Phase)
Signage to indicate guidance on social distancing, testers and consultations in line with updated government guidelines.

Premium & consultation protocols and payments 

Step One (Initial Phase)

  • No consultations or mirroring services. Advisors are available to provide product for purchase only
  • Use digital technology where available to show range of colours and applications techniques
  • Beauty advisors will be in store, but no physical customer contact will be allowed, e.g. makeovers
  • Card payments only or advance payment over the phone where possible
  • Card machines can be covered with plastic for easier sanitising
  • Perspex partitions to be erected at tills
  • Assess the size of the store and its layout, this will enable you to calculate the number of customers who can reasonably follow 2 metre social distancing.

Step Two (after a period of consultation & in Second Phase)

  • No touch consultations can be provided, following social distancing rules. An advisor would establish customer needs, provide testers of recommended products using disposable tools, and share hints and tips without touch
  • No mirroring services as this would not adhere to social distancing
  • Testers to be introduced in minimal categories if sterilisation is possible, but not made accessible to consumers without beauty advisor consultation but kept concealed where possible.

Step Three (after further consultation & in Third Phase)

  • Advisors are able to apply product to customers in a responsible and controlled way
  • Hygiene restrictions for this phase should be trained to advisors to ensure strict adherence.

Product testers and samples

Step One (Initial Phase)
No testers or samples to be on counter or provided. The only exception is sealed packet samples which may be given to customers.

Step Two (after a period of consultation & in Second Phase)
Testers not on display but product can be provided by team members following clear hygiene guidelines and using disposable applicators, including cramming of samples into disposable pots.

Step Three (after further consultation & in Third Phase)
Testers are displayed with increased hygiene rules and cleaning policies. Customers to use disposable applicators only – must be freely available to use.


  • Supplier to work closely with retailer on all levels of hygiene
  • Retailer to be responsible for maintaining hygiene standards in their stores.

Consultation stations & store surroundings

  • No food or refreshments to be served to limit interactions and contamination
  • No marketing collateral to be within the space
  • Door handles, toilet, phones, card machines, products and everything else in touch with clients and customers has to be sanitised between each use and at the start and end of the working day
  • All rooms within the in-store environment to be adequately ventilated to help reduce the risk of infection and reduce airborne droplets.

Services and product sales
A guideline may be to raise prices to cover cost of PPE, longer opening hours, sanitisation and hygiene equipment, reduced appointments, and other accrued costs as a result of COVID19.

As touched upon at the beginning, the 15 June is the goal date for the return to non-essential retail, but this relies upon data showing this is safe to do so in the meantime and upon retailers being COVID-secure. We will continue to provide updates on Beauty Bytes as and when they come through.

These guidelines have been created with experts in each industry field and are advisory only. They do not constitute legal requirement, have not been agreed with Government and do not imply or incur any liability to the British Beauty Council. These guidelines are written with a view of protecting our partners, their staff and customers with their health & safety being the number one priority and are based on expert and public knowledge as of 28.05.20. Businesses should continue to check local government websites and guidelines for the most up to date recommendations.

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