Hair and nail salons reopen, offering some customers ‘free therapy’

Barber shops, nail salons slammed with people trying to get first haircut or manicure in two months

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Customers lined up outside Baton Rouge salons Friday, May 15 hoping for a first haircut or manicure since March.

“I came at about a quarter til nine, thinking I’d beat the line and traffic, but there were 13 people ahead of me,” Wayne Dugas said, waiting outside Wondercuts on Perkins Road. “I said, ‘I’ll come back later’ and here I am, for the third time.”

Inside the barber shop, stylist, Tracy Brown, spent the morning correcting stay-at-home haircuts in between incessant phone calls.

“They’ve been calling since yesterday, and we weren’t even open,” she said. “The men... they look like cavemen. Wives have been complaining.”

“I’m thinking, gosh, it’s almost like my high school and college days, except my hair is a different color,” Dugas said, before chopping his shaggy gray locks. “Right now, you know? I’m feeling like a bum.”

Next door, at Bichonne Nail Salon, Kim Vu says some women have come in with “claws” that need care, but after two months at home, she says her customers are more excited for human interaction than the manicure.

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“It’s a person. You get to talk to them. You get to enjoy their presence,” she said. “You really build a relationship. It’s free therapy.”

Sandy Burkett, sporting Bubble Bath-colored nails, says she’ll be able to wear sandals for the first time since 2019 now that her toenails have been cared for.

“Just to get some normalcy back. This is something we do all the time,” she said. “It’s spring and summer and you need to start feeling good about yourself again.”

Not all shops are open though. Across Baton Rouge, a number of beauty shops have posted signs on their windows indicating they’ll open this weekend or next week.

Lines are expected to be common, especially with limited capacity inside under the state’s new guidelines for safely reopening the economy.

“I mean, shoot, was it worth the wait?” Dugas asked rhetorically, patting his freshly cut hair and joking that the trim might lead more women to pursue him. “You tell me.”

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