Mobile beauticians are still not allowed to work in Scotland because of Covid restrictions but those working in salons are.
Eileen Wood says her industry has fallen through the cracks. “I feel like we have been totally forgotten about,” she says.
The 50-year-old says it is frustrating that mobile beauty therapists are yet to be given any indication of when they will be able to earn money again.
Before lockdown, Ms Wood was a self-employed beauty therapist and spent her days travelling around the East Neuk of Fife visiting her clients.
She also took some appointments in a treatment room at a nearby holiday resort.
To supplement her income and provide a bit of stability, she took on a part-time job on a make-up counter in St Andrews.
But since March, her circumstances have changed – she has been made redundant from her role on the cosmetics counter, and coronavirus restrictions have limited what she can offer guests at the holiday resort, Morton of Pitmilly.
To compound the issues she faces, restrictions are still in place to prevent her from working as a mobile beauty therapist.
While she will be able to claim Universal Credit, she says she is not sure how she will manage to pay her bills.
Beauticians and hairdressers working in salons and mobile hairdressers have been allowed to work since July, but mobile beauticians have still not been given a date for when they can start working.
Ms Wood says: “I’m seriously worried about the future – we are a forgotten-about industry.
“I am not allowed to go into clients’ homes – with no date or information about when this will be lifted.”
She is worried time is running out.
“I’m going to lose my business – my clients are going to start going to salons and they won’t come back to me,” she says.
Not everyone wants, or is able, to travel – many of her clients need her to go to them, she adds.
She also thinks it is unfair that mobile hairdressing is allowed but mobile beauty therapy is not.
“I think it’s mad – hairdressers are allowed to go into people’s houses, and I’m not.
“I know my clients well, I know what I’m going into.
“I know how clean they are; they know how clean I am – the industry is very hygiene aware already.”
The Scottish government says mobile hairdressers are allowed to work but mobile beauty therapists are not because hairdressers work from behind clients’ heads, and face coverings can be worn.
However, many mobile beauty treatments are riskier because many of them require work in the “high risk area” around the face.
A spokeswoman explained delivering treatments in different locations – often moving from house to house – presented additional risks to both beautician and customer.
She added guidance would be published as soon as a safe return to work could be supported.
‘No scientific basis’ to prevent mobile working
But Ms Wood says many of the procedures she offers – including massages – involve her working from behind her client as well.
While she understands why procedures focused on the face – such as facials – should not go ahead for now, there are other treatments she says can be delivered safely.
She says the risks while working from someone’s home are no higher than in a salon.
But the Guild of Beauty Therapists said stopping mobile beauty therapists from working while allowing mobile hairdressing was “absurd”.
It said: “There are a lot of treatments that can be done safely on the body and nails which actually present less of a risk than hairdressing and barbering. These include massage, manicures, pedicures, waxing etc.
“Imposing a blanket ban on all mobile beauty services in Scotland is unfair and there is no scientific basis why this should continue.”