A facial in a plastic box? UAE salons build 'hygiene beauty boxes'

The Perspex boxes can be used for facials and eyelash extensions

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the world is adjusting to a new normal. And one new habit that may linger is having a facial while sitting under a large plastic box.

Across its Dubai and Abu Dhabi branches, Tips & Toes has started to use “hygiene beauty boxes” for a “minimised contact approach to salon treatments”. The transparent boxes have openings through which therapists can apply treatments such as face packs, eyelash extensions and mud masks, keeping a physical barrier between the therapist and the customer.

"We wanted to find a way to be innovative while still retaining the beauty aspect of our spas," a representative of the UAE chain told The National. "Most importantly, we wanted our customers to feel safe and comfortable while getting a service done."

The hygiene beauty boxes, which have been custom-made and ordered internationally, are being used for treatments such as facials and eyelash extensions. They are not mandatory, and if a customer is happy without the box, they can ask for it to be removed. However, when the box is in place, both customers and therapists can remove face shields and face masks during the treatment.

The concept was introduced roughly a week ago, and the company says customer reaction has been positive. "People have been loving it, they feel safe when using it. We're very happy that it turned out so well," it told The National. 

Brands around the globe have had to adapt to a new way of working and interacting with customers, from virtual events to contactless ordering and payment at restaurants. In the UAE, salons and spas have started to reopen but with strict guidelines in place.

Tips and Toes is a homegrown chain, with 34 branches in the UAE, and one in Saudi Arabia.

The hygiene beauty boxes are available in 20 branches across the UAE, including those in Marina Mall and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, and The Pointe, Media City, Springs Souk, Dubai Festival City, Golden Mile and Barsha in Dubai.

Perspex boxes are here to stay

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A: News. Covid-19/Coronavirus. Maria, Fraz and Nuno (L) work out. Crank an Indoor Cycling & Boutique Fitness Studio have brought in partitions between bikes to protect their customers from Covid-19. Monday, June 1st, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Around the world, businesses are relying on Perspex to form a barrier between customers and service professionals. Supermarkets have introduced them at shops, and hairdressers have placed transparent shields between clients in salons.

In the UAE, Dubai spin studio Crank reopened in May with Perspex screens used to separate bikes.

"We have decided to go with the partitions because we thought it was the logical thing to do," Crank's Nuno Costa told The National. "The response from our clients has been very, very positive. We often receive messages on our social media, emails and even face to face people saying how safe they feel about having the partitions in the studio, and for us, it's been great be the first ones to have them."