toronto beauty salon

Some beauty salons have reopened in Toronto over confusion about what's allowed right now

If massages and eye exams are allowed under Stage 1 of Ontario's reopening process, but hair cuts and manicures aren't, where does that leave lash extension providers? 

Technically, it leaves them under the same mandatory closure orders they've been under for the past three months now, ever since Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 on March 17.

The same goes for brow bars, tanning salons, medi-spas and most other local establishments frequented by women who insist on looking Kardashian-esque no matter how much it costs.

Nail and hair salons will be allowed to open in Toronto when the city's public health region is approved to enter Stage 2 — which, as of Monday morning, it hadn't yet been.

Even under the next stage of reopening, however, the province still prohibits "services that tend to a customer's face, such as facials, facial hair grooming, eyebrow grooming and makeup."

How strange then, it is, to see so many independent beauty service providers taking appointments, promoting summer specials and showing off their recent work on Instagram right now.

Evidence can be found all over the GTA of facialists, injectionists, lash extentionists, and other beauty professionals performing normally run-of-the-mill procedures that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, are currently prohibited due to the highly-contagious nature of the virus and how close a provider must get to a customer's face.

While we won't link to any specific accounts out of respect for the privacy of their clients, you can search hashtags such as #torontolashes, #torontofacials and #torontofillers on Instagram for hundreds of examples.

blogTO has also independently verified by phone that at least three Toronto providers (two in the city and one in Etobicoke) have been performing lash and filler services since early June.

"PROMO ALERT! $50 any lash set until June 30th. DM to book an appointment, filling up quick!" reads the caption of an Instagram post published last week by one independent eyelash extension provider in Toronto.

Since that time, the provider has uploaded no less than 15 photos of freshly-lashed clients, most of them wearing cloth or surgical masks, presumably for safety's sake.

Another provider based in Scarborough started performing her services again at the beginning of June, noting that clients must wear masks and sterilize their hands prior to appointments "due to COVID-19 strict precautions." She, too, has been sharing the results of her prolific work on Instagram in recent weeks.

One place in Vaughan that does both lashes and cosmetic injectibles is going so far as to promote the now-available services of new technicians (at a discount), while another in Woodbridge has been posting the results of filler and Botox work since announcing its reopening on June 2.

Another still in Richmond Hill has been posting live updates to Instagram while performing facials on clients, the most-recent of which were uploaded Monday morning.

These are just a few examples of the many local providers who either don't fully understand what they're allowed to do right now, or who are simply choosing to disobey government closure orders in order to service their clients.

Those in the former camp could be forgiven for their confusion, as current regulations are indeed a bit confusing: Regulated health care providers, like nurses (who often perform costmetic injectibles), have been allowed to practice since May 26, when the province's Directive #2 for Health Care Providers was amended.

Non-essential and elective services such as Botox injections may be permissible from licensed, regulated heath care professionals, but eyelash extensions are not.

Beauticians, estheticians and cosmetology professionals are still strictly prohibited from performing any kind of service until Stage 2 hits.

At that point, they'll be able to able to provide personal care services with proper health and safety protocols in place — save for anything that "tends to a customer's face."

"For clarity, a business can open to offer other permitted services even if a restricted activity is its primary service (e.g., a facial salon can open to provide other services)," notes the province.

However you slice it, facials aren't allowed anywhere in Ontario right now — let alone in Toronto, Peel or Windsor, which still remain stuck in Stage 1.

If you must get your lashes done, be forewarned: You'll be getting them filled against the law, and against the advice of public health professionals. Falsies are probably a safer bet at this point in the pandemic.

Lead photo by

Hayley Kim Design

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